Why I’m closing my company for a week due to Covid-19- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

You can see it in people’s faces now. Perhaps you’ve seen it too. Even on a crappy video connection, you can tell. People are getting tired and stressed and they need a break and they don’t know when it’s coming.
Yet taking any personal leave during a pandemic lockdown is a weird concept because when you’re working from home it’s hard to find the physical distance from your work. Forcing people to book ‘vacation’ could increase anxiety rather than ease it
Properly switching off has been proven to be really important, mentally and physically. But as we all know, it is hard to do.
So, we at ID Comms had an idea.
Remember the feeling of that magical week each December, between Christmas and New Year, when you can really forget about work?
It’s proper silence. It’s a nourishing feeling because you know that no one else is working that week, so there is no chance you have missed something important.
There’s no need to think about how you could be contributing. No emails to scroll through ‘just in case’. There is nothing to miss, so there is nothing to worry about.
It’s all about ‘Jomo’ – the joy of missing out.
I think we need to have that feeling right now, more than ever.
Welcome to ‘Jomo Week’
So, between 10-17 April, ID Comms will be implementing a Jomo Week so we can all take a restorative break together.
We want to give the entire ID Comms team the option of not working the whole week and we will encourage them to step away as much as they can. This will be especially welcomed by parents of young children, whose kids will likely will be on (home) school breaks.
Any pre-scheduled client meetings or deliverables will, of course, be maintained and project timelines stay intact. But all internal meetings will be rescheduled, and any new external meetings have been scheduled for adjacent weeks where possible.
We have worked hard to communicate clearly and make sure everyone understands the reasons for this important initiative. We sent the news to our clients, crossing our fingers that they would understand that these unconventional times call for unconventional measures.
I was worried they might find the idea a bit frivolous and probably inconvenient. But here are some of the comments I received:
“Really cool idea – a nice and positive message.”
“I would love to have a Jomo Week right now, not sure how to sell this to our chief financial officer at the moment…”
“Such a great practice that you guys do this. Would love if we did one of these too.”
“Impressive initiative, and I agree with all the great reasons stated for the importance of it right now. I will dare and share with my management – hope you don’t mind?”
“I love this. Knowing that you’ll be bombarded by emails and pings while staycationing isn’t too appealing, so I think it’s great that you’re all taking time together”
Create your own?
We are fortunate. For many years our company has been a very agile, cloud-based business, so we adapt easily to remote working across time zones. We use some clever collaboration tools, and everyone uses video all the time.
Most importantly, we know that people’s time is a valuable commodity and we trust each other to use it in the best ways.
During Jomo Week we will organize a few fun company things we can do. These will be entirely optional, but will keep those who want to join in connected.
This is not enforced isolation. If we all switch off at the same time, we are all going to feel a lot better and be an even stronger team together.
I encourage all of you to consider creating a Jomo Week at your companies too if possible. Join us, if you can – but please, keep your distance.
Tom Denford is the co-founder and US chief executive of ID Comms. This piece was originally published on LinkedIn.

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AMC Theatres closing all US locations for up to 12 weeks, Regal, too – Blog – 10 minute

The big picture: With theaters now shutting down across the country, could this be the catalyst that leads to the end of the theater era? Do we even need theaters anymore or are they simply a holdover from an earlier time? Would you be sad to see theaters disappear or is it time to say goodbye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
AMC Theatres on Tuesday closed all of its cinemas in the US in order to comply with local, state and federal directives to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
AMC, which operates the largest theatrical chain in the country, said its theaters will remain closed for at least six to 12 weeks. The situation is being monitored closely, we’re told, with the company remaining flexible on reopening in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Regal on Tuesday also closed all locations due to current circumstances.
The response to the coronavirus has escalated rapidly in the US over the past week. Yesterday, government officials recommended that people avoid public gatherings of 10 people or more. Officials in more than a dozen states have also forced public venues like bars and restaurants to close. Such mandates make operating businesses like movie theaters virtually impossible.

NBCUniversal this week said it will make Universal Pictures films available to rent from home on the same day as their global theatrical releases.
Hollywood has been interested in the concept of letting people rent first-run movies at home for over a decade but figuring out how to do so without cannibalizing movie theaters has kept the plan from materializing in any meaningful capacity.
Masthead credit: Empty theater by Fer Gregory. Home theater by Koksharov Dmitry.

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DionWired Bleeding Money – No Question Why Stores Are Closing – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from IT Web

Massmart JSE-listed South African branch of Walmart and owner of Game, DionWired and Makro stores, reported a $110 million turnaround in its profits in 2019, plunging to a net loss of $55 million. By all accounts and measures applied to retailers, these results up to 29 December 2019 were ruinous, writes Business Insider.
While Massmart reported that their foot traffic in Game stores had increased 4% – which had led to a sales increase of 1.9% – these numbers are nearly negligible in the face as such overwhelming loss. Trading profits are down for the group as a whole by 46%, gross margins dropped to 18.9% (19.5% in the previous year), and expenses grew 10.2%. Compared to the overall growth of sales, a total of 3%.
On Thursday morning, Massmart’s share price free-fell by almost 4% – trading now at less than half its value from last year.
While Makro and Fruit Spot stores saw trading profits of $60 million and $43 million respectively, with Fruit Spot trading at half the size of Makro – Massmart’s Massdiscounter division which rules over Game and DionWired were trading at a loss of $43 million. Masscash, a huge division of Massmart that keeps Shield, Cambridge Food, Jumbo stores, and Rhino trading brands were trading at a loss of over $32 million.
For DionWired, who Massmart announced closure for in January 2020, sales continued to decrease from 2018, being 19.8% lower than that year.
“Expenses increased by 8.7%, with comparable expenses increasing by 6.9%. Included in this were the costs associated with store openings and IT costs expensed. The implementation of the SAP S/4 HANA ERP system is continuing and is expected to be completed during 2020,” quotes My Broadband about DionWired’s woes.
These results now show clearly why DionWired is slated to be closed, as they are bleeding money for Massmart – in its stead, Game is being heavily hinted for the group’s replacement of DionWired’s electronics retail.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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The weird things after closing a venture round, iPhone 11, AI ad errors, and Cloud Foundry – gpgmail


Annual Extra Crunch members get 100,000 Brex Rewards points upon credit card signup

We’re excited to announce an addition to the Extra Crunch community perks. Starting today, annual Extra Crunch members can get 100,000 Brex Rewards points after signing up for a Brex corporate credit card. This offer is worth about $1,000 in credit card points.

Brex’s corporate credit card is designed for startups, and Extra Crunch was built for the startup ecosystem. We understand that startups are trying to be as frugal as possible with spending, and we felt that the Brex corporate credit card was the perfect way to stretch those valuable dollars.

Brex gives startup founders and finance teams higher credit limits than what they would get with any other business credit card option, and it does so without requiring a personal credit check or security deposit during the application. There are some impressive reward multipliers across categories like rideshare, travel, and restaurants. It also comes with $50,000 worth of partner offers from AWS, Salesforce and many more.

Learn more here.

All the weird stuff that happens to you after you close your round

There is nothing like the excitement of closing a venture round, but what happens immediately after the money hits the bank? Well, apparently, nothing really good: a deluge of scams, requests, appointments, and more from every professional service and fly-by-night operation imaginable.

Matt Rodak, the founder and CEO of FundThatFlip, compiled the emails and other messages he got after closing his $11 million Series A financing, offering us a peek inside the world of a post-close founder:


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Reach Robotics is closing up shop – gpgmail


Reach Robotics, the company behind the spider-like MekaMon robot you might’ve seen on the shelves at the Apple Store, is closing down.

Billed as the “world’s first gaming robot”, MekaMon is part video game, part STEM tool. You could plop it down on the carpet and point your phone at it to battle virtual augmented reality enemies, face off against other MekaMon owners in multiplayer battles, or build custom programs for the robot on top of Apple’s Swift Playgrounds.

Here’s a video we did on Reach Robotics a few years back:

Reach Robotics was founded in 2013. They released their MekaMon robot in November of 2017, just a few months after raising a $7.5M Series A.

News of the shutdown comes from Reach Robotics co-founder Silas Adekunle on LinkedIn (as first noted by The Robot Report) where he writes:

The consumer robotics sector is an inherently challenging space – especially for a start-up. Over the past six years, we have taken on this challenge with consistent passion and ingenuity. From the first trials of development to accelerators and funding rounds, we have fought to bring MekaMon to life and into the hands of the next generation of tech pioneers.

Unfortunately, for Reach Robotics, in its current form at least, today marks the end of that journey.

It doesn’t sound like Adekunle is finished with robotics altogether though. In a public Instagram post, he notes that while “Reach Robotics is closing down today due to tough business circumstances” he is “looking forward to sharing some exciting new ventures in the Robotics space in Europe and Education in Africa and the Middle East.”

Co-founder John Rees, meanwhile, writes on LinkedIn:

I’m still taking stock of it all but the short version is that it is true what they say – that “hardware is hard” and consumer hardware is even harder due to the reliance on the Christmas sales period.

2019 has been a fairly brutal year for consumer robotics. In March, Jibo, a social robot meant to be cheery and entertaining, personally delivered the news of its impending shutdown to owners with an oh-so-depressing shutdown speech:

“Maybe someday, when robots are way more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes,” said the robot, “you can tell them I said hello.”

Anki, creator of self-driving RC cars and the WallE-like robot buddy Cozmo, shut down in April.




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YouTube is closing its private messages feature…and many kids are outraged – gpgmail


People love to share YouTube videos among their friends, which is why in mid-2017 YouTube launched a new in-app messaging feature that would allow YouTube users to private send their friends videos and chat within a dedicated tab in the YouTube mobile app. That feature is now being shut down, the company says. After September 18, the ability to direct message friends on YouTube itself will be removed.

The change was first spotted by 9to5Google, which noted that YouTube Messages came to the web in May of last year.

YouTube, in its announcement about the closure, doesn’t offer much insight into its decision.

While the company says that its more recent work has been focused on public conversations with updates to comments, posts, and Stories, it doesn’t explain why Messages is no longer a priority.

A likely reason, of course, is that the feature was under-utilized. Most people today are heavily invested in their own preferred messaging apps — whether that’s Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, iMessage or others.

Google, meanwhile, can’t seem to stop itself from building messaging apps and experiences. When YouTube Messages launched, Google was also invested in Allo (RIP), Duo, Hangouts, Meet, Google Voice, Android Messages/RCS, and was poised to transition users from Gchat (aka Google Talk) in Gmail to Hangouts Chat.

However, based on the nearly 500 angry comments replying to Google’s post about the closure, it seems that YouTube Messages may have been preferred by many young users.

Young…as in children.

 

Screen Shot 2019 08 21 at 9.39.23 AM

A sizable number of commenters are complaining that YouTube was the “only place” they could message their friends because they didn’t have a phone or weren’t allowed to give out their phone number.

Some said they used the feature to “talk to their mom” or because they weren’t allowed to use social media.

Screen Shot 2019 08 21 at 10.02.56 AMScreen Shot 2019 08 21 at 9.41.12 AM

It appears that many children had been using YouTube Messages as a sort of workaround to their parents’ block on messaging apps on their own phones, or as a way to communicate from their tablets or via web, likely without parents’ knowledge.

That’s not a good look for YouTube at this time, given its issues around inappropriate videos aimed at children, child exploitation, child predators, and regulatory issues.

The video platform in February came under fire for putting kids at risk of child predators. The company had to shut off comments on videos featuring minors, after the discovery of a pedophile ring that had been communicating via YouTube’s comments section.

Notably, the FTC is also now following up on complaints about YouTube’s possible violations of COPPA, a U.S. Children’s Privacy law. Child advocacy and consumers groups complain that YouTube has lured children under 13 into its digital playground, where it collects their data and targets them with ads, without parental consent.

Though some people may have used YouTube Messages to promote their channel or to share videos with family members and friends, it’s clear this usage hadn’t gone mainstream. Otherwise, YouTube wouldn’t be walking away from a popular product.

The feature also had issues with spam — much like Google+ did —  as there were unwelcome requests from strangers, at times.

YouTube says users will still be able to share videos through the “Share” feature which connects to other social networks.

 


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