What is Elasticsearch and Why Should You Start Using It?- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Let’s say we visit a bookstore’s website to look for specific products. We might consider filtering the books by certain criteria, such as genre, author, price, or words in the description. All of these filters added to the search field make the users’ journey easier.

Product filtering is a tricky topic in any eCommerce application. For this purpose, Elasticsearch is often the right answer.

Elasticsearch provides these features and many more. You can display the highest-rated products at the top of the result list and see relevant results even if you make a small typo.
If you want to find out what Elasticsearch is and how you can use it, keep reading. 
What is Elasticsearch?
Elasticsearch is a powerful analytics and full text search engine that stores data in JSON format. It’s open-source, developed in Java, on top of Apache Lucene.
Widely used for building complex and performant search functionalities, Elasticsearch has many popular clients worldwide, including Netflix, Facebook, and Adobe. 
Why Use Elasticsearch?
First and foremost, Elasticsearch is excellent at doing what traditional databases can’t do: full text search. Both relational and non-relational databases are very slow when it comes to this search technique.
A full text search is capable of returning documents that don’t completely match the search criteria. For example, if we searched for “mathematics” and “informatics” in a description, an application backed up by full text search will also be able to return results that contain only one of those words, or slightly modified versions. It is also preferable to return the most relevant results first.
While this is theoretically possible in a relational database using the LIKE operator, the reality is that such a query would be extremely slow for a large dataset.
If we also added a simple AND/OR condition next to a LIKE, the performance would decrease even more. Also, there would be no way to handle typos or retrieve the most relevant results first.
Elasticsearch, on the other hand, can handle typos very easily and knows all about relevance. It also allows us to write complex queries using its REST API.
Besides, Elasticsearch is fast, distributed, scales extremely well, and has failover mechanisms in place to avoid data loss. 
How Does Elasticsearch Mapping Work?
Whenever we load a document into Elasticsearch, a process called dynamic mapping steps in. Dynamic mapping is Elasticsearch’s method of determining the type of data that we load into it.
It can recognize dates by format, numbers, and strings. If dynamic mapping is not enough for our needs, explicit mapping can be defined as well. 
Basic Concepts of Elasticsearch
Index, node, and cluster are the basic concepts of Elasticsearch.
An index is a collection of documents with similar characteristics. As a concept, you can compare it to a relational database. For example, we can have an index for customer data and another one for product information.
A node is a running instance of Elasticsearch on a physical or virtual machine. A node can be configured to join a specific cluster or form one on its own.
A cluster is a collection of related nodes that, together, contain all of the data from an index.
So, now that we know the basics of the Elasticsearch’s architecture, let’s look at the great features it offers, starting with scalability. 
Why Does Elasticsearch Scale So Well?
Elasticsearch is distributed by nature, built to always scale with your needs.
Let’s say we have an index of 600 GB and a single node with a capacity of 500 GB. We clearly cannot store the entire index there. However, we have the option of adding another node, so that Elasticsearch can store data on both nodes.
To do this, Elasticsearch uses sharding, a mechanism to separate the index in multiple pieces. This is how Elasticsearch horizontally scales the data. Note that an index contains a single shard by default, but we can configure the number of shards.
Elasticsearch can scale up to thousands of servers and accommodate petabytes of data. Its enormous capacity results from its elaborate, distributed architecture. However, things can still go wrong from time to time. So, how does Elasticsearch handle those cases? 
What About Failover Mechanisms?
What if we had a single node and it failed? We clearly don’t want to lose all of our data.
Fortunately, there’s a mechanism in place called replication, which is enabled by default. It’s configured at index level and it creates copies of shards, referred to as replica shards.
Replicated shards are called primary shards. Replica shards can serve search requests just like a primary shard. So, if something happens and a replica shard handles your search request, Elasticsearch takes care of everything behind the scenes and there’s no impact to the end-user.
Similar to sharding, the number of replicas is configurable. Elasticsearch places replica shards on a different node than the primary shard they belong to, which is why we need a minimum of two nodes to use replication.

 
How Can I Configure the Number of Replicas?
It depends! Why? We should consider the use case, resources, data, and many other factors. However, guidelines come in handy.
First, decide how critical the data is. If it’s really important, we clearly need to increase the number of replicas.
Second, ask yourself: can I restore the data from other sources? And if so, is downtime acceptable while re-indexing the data?
The answers to these questions will help you to decide on how many replicas to add. 
Analysis Process
When you load a document into Elasticsearch, its text fields go through an analysis process. An analyzer is composed of character filters, tokenizers, and token filters.
The standard analyzer does not perform character filtering. It uses a tokenizer that splits by whitespace, removes common symbols such as punctuation marks, and uses a token filter that lowercases the words.
Note that we can use a custom analyzer fully adapted to our needs, but in most cases, the standard analyzer is enough. Once the analyzer finishes this process, the result is stored in something called the inverted index. This structure represents a mapping between the terms and which documents contain those terms.
By looking in the inverted index instead of the JSON documents, Elasticsearch manages to perform a fast-full text search.

A full house at the PentaBAR event where I introduced people to the amazing world of Elasticsearch.

So, What’s So Great About Elasticsearch?
Well, that’s a long list. Elasticsearch allows us to store and search large volumes of data very quickly. It can also handle typos and we can easily write complex queries to search by any criteria we want. It also allows us to aggregate data to obtain statistics. It scales data horizontally, has a failover mechanism in place, and can do so much more! Elasticsearch can provide search-as-you-type functionality and use machine learning to detect anomalies in the data and make predictions.
I hope I’ve convinced you to give Elasticsearch a try if you haven’t already. Elasticsearch serves so many enterprise use cases and I think there’s definitely a good chance that it will serve yours, too!

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Chrome will start blocking intrusive ad formats within short-form videos- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Google’s recent advertising shake-up has extended into video, where its Chrome browser will soon start blocking mid-roll and other ad formats for short-form videos.
Google is complying with a new standard from the Coalition for Better Ads, which applies to videos lasting eight minutes or less across desktop, mobile web and in-app.
The standard filters out mid-roll ads, pre-roll ads and other pods 31 seconds or longer that cannot be skipped after five seconds, as well as display ads that are in the middle one-third of the video player or take up 20% or more of a video.
The standard goes into effect on 5 August.
“Chrome will expand its user protections and stop showing all ads on sites in any country that repeatedly show these disruptive ads,” Google product manager Jason James said in a blog post.
Importantly, the standard also applies to YouTube, which recently revealed advertising revenues of $15bn.
Chrome, which accounts for roughly 70% of the US browser market, is cleaning up the video ad experience less than a month after it announced it’s phasing out third-party cookies in a significant blow to digital marketers.
While the decision to axe third-party cookies was more about alievating privacy concerns, Chrome’s move to block intrusive video ads is meant to improve the browser user experience by establishing best practices, said Matt Barash, head of strategy and business development at AdColony.
“Certain adtech companies that go out and tout browser-based, high-impact, non-standard formats will be penalized by this announcement,” he said.
AdColony is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads. Other members include Facebook, Unilever, News Corp and GroupM.
“GroupM has incorporated the Better Ads Standards into our inventory quality evaluation process, enabling our clients around the world to advertise more effectively in brand-safe environments,” said Joe Barone, managing partner of brand safety Americas at GroupM.
“Because they reflect consumer preferences, the Better Ads Standards are an essential tool for brands and publishers who aim to build trust and deepen relationships with their audiences.”
Smaller publishers – or ones that rush to hit quarterly targets with invasive video ads – may also feel the brunt of this decision from the Coalition for Better Ads.
“This speaks to a larger movement that is happening to clean up digital advertising,” said Andrew Serby, senior vice-president of marketing at Zefr, a company that helps brands advertise on YouTube.
“Google is taking charge here, which is good for consumers and brands, but disruptive for some of the bottom-feeding, audience-based and rich media companies that have largely been creating an interruptive and cheap digital space.”

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Chrome will start penalizing sites that display irritating video ads – Blog – 10 minute

In context: Although a large portion of Google’s revenue comes from advertisements, the company has made an effort to crack down on abusive ads throughout the web; especially through its Chrome browser. For example, Chrome has gotten features that restrict autoplaying videos and block websites from hijacking your browser back button.
Now, Google is taking things a step further. Moving forward, the browser will begin to comply with a new set of ad standards published by the Coalition for Better Ads. These standards take aim at websites that use irritating techniques to serve ads on their videos.
For example, the new Better Ads Standards will penalize sites that implement video ads longer than 31 seconds that cannot be skipped within the first 5 seconds. Mid-roll video ads of any duration will also be restricted, and websites will not be allowed to place image or text ads in the middle 1/3 of the video window.
Google promises that it won’t give its own websites special treatment. The search giant aims to lead by example and tweak its YouTube ads until they comply with the new standards. Notably, the platform currently violates at least one of the standards by displaying mid-roll ads on its hosted videos — it’ll be interesting to see how different the site will feel when those ads are gone.

This type of advertisement won’t be allowed under the new Better Ads Standards.
If any site is found to be violating these new standards, Chrome will stop displaying ads on it outright. Given how large Chrome’s userbase is, that’s a pretty big deal, so there’s plenty of incentive for upstanding websites to play by the rules.
The end goal of all these changes is not entirely selfless, of course. Yes, the new standards benefit consumers, but by making ads less intrusive, they also benefit websites and ad corporations like Google. If a user isn’t being bombarded with frustrating pop-ups every time they open a new website, there’s a chance they’ll switch off their ad blocker, or rely on whitelists like the one Chrome uses.
Website hosts have until August 5, 2020 to comply with the new policies before Chrome begins enforcing them. The Coalition has a somewhat tighter timeline, though — it wants sites to stop displaying annoying video ads in the next four months.

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$1tn is just the start: why tech giants could double their market valuations | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Alphabet, the tech giant formerly known as Google, on Thursday night became the fourth company in history to reach a trillion-dollar (£776bn) valuation. In less than 24 hours, some analysts were predicting that the company, founded in a messy Silicon Valley garage 21 years ago, could double in value again to become a $2tn firm “in the near future”.
The consensus among Wall Street bankers is nothing can stop the runaway share price rises of Alphabet or the other so-called “Faang” tech companies. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have seen their combined market value increase by $1.3tn over the past year – that’s the equivalent of adding half the value of all the companies in the FTSE 100, or the entire GDP of Mexico.
“It’s such a phenomenally large number that it’s difficult for most of us even to quantify the value,” said Paul Lee, the global head of technology research at Deloitte. “Even if you describe it like being the same amount as the economy of a big country, it’s still difficult to get your head around the number.”
Lee said that even though it has been more than 20 years since the first Google search was made, aspects of the technology are still in their relative infancy. For example, nearly all searches are currently based on words, but searches based on image and video could be far faster, and more accurate.
“At the moment, self-service checkouts are still relatively primitive: you have to scan the barcode of each product, one by one,” he said. “But using new machine vision technology based on cameras in the ceiling, the store will be able to ‘see’ you’ve picked up a certain box of cereal and charge you for it immediately, and you can just walk out of the store without having to stop by a checkout.
“That’s just one form of forthcoming automation that will revolutionise our lives in the future, and improve productivity.”

Alphabet has been continuing to post 15%-20% growth, which is pretty amazing when you consider how mature that model is

Dan Morgan, investor

Lee said the tech companies were expected to monetise the vast amount of data they hold on their billions of users to revolutionise almost every aspect of our lives, from travel and healthcare to financial services and shopping.
“You almost can’t live your life without googling things,” said Michael Lippert, a portfolio manager at Baron Capital who holds Alphabet among his biggest investments. “Google is one of those critical, important leaders in multiple areas,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Brian White, an analyst with boutique brokerage firm Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co, said he expected Alphabet to continue to grow in size and value despite forthcoming breach-of-privacy and antitrust investigations by the US Congress, 50 state attorneys general and the Department of Justice.
“Although we expect the antitrust rhetoric to reach deafening levels ahead of the US presidential election this year, we are not afraid of a potential breakup of Alphabet,” he told CNBC.
“We continue to believe Alphabet is undervalued for its growth prospects, leadership position in digital advertising and cash-rich balance sheet.”
Apple, Microsoft and Amazon have all been part of the trillion-dollar club, although Amazon has slipped below $1tn again in recent months. Apple became the first company to hit a trillion in August 2018, and in the 17 months since it has increased in value by 38%, taking it to $1.38tn – roughly six times as valuable as Royal Dutch Shell, the UK’s biggest company.
The “Faang” concept has mutated several times since it was first introduced, as “Fang”, by the CNBC television presenter Jim Cramer in 2013. Then it stood for four high-performing tech stocks: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google (which became part of a specially created conglomerate, Alphabet, in 2015).

Google share price
A second A was added to include Apple, and then an M was added, creating “Famangs”, to allow for the addition of Microsoft, which joined the trillion-dollar club in April 2019 and is now worth $1.27tn. The New York Stock Exchange then created a “Fang”+ index that also includes Twitter, Tesla and China’s tech giants Alibaba and Baidu.
The Financial Times last week declared the 2010s to have been “the decade of the Fangs”, and said that most experts predicted the tech companies to “continue to reign in the coming decade”.
Amazon, which has turned its chief executive and founder, Jeff Bezos, into the world’s richest man, first reached the trillion-dollar milestone in the summer of 2018. The company’s value is now hovering around $930bn.
Facebook, whose shares have risen by 50% in the past year, is closing on the landmark with a valuation of $632bn.
Shares in almost all the companies have soared in recent weeks, as the market expects them to report strong figures when they release their full-year financial earnings, starting with Netflix on Tuesday. Alphabet’s figures will be released on 3 February. The five largest companies – Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook – now make up 19% of the S&P 500 index of America’s biggest companies. The fast-growing dominance of tech is highlighted by the fact that in 2015 the five largest companies made up just 12% of the index.
“In the past year, the aggregate market capitalisation of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google’s parent Alphabet has gone up by 45%, or almost $1.3tn, even as combined consensus earnings estimates for 2019 and 2020 have fallen by 7% and 8%, or $10.7bn and $9.6bn respectively,” said Russ Mould, investment director at stockbroker AJ Bell.
“This combination of soaring share prices and sliding earnings means that the Faangs as a group have been hugely re-rated, from 21 times earnings for 2020 to nearly 30 times now.
“At the moment, investors are being very forgiving in the view that new product or services releases will fire earnings growth; customers are being more tolerant of data use than regulators; and those investments will pay off in the long term by opening new markets or boosting returns from the existing one.”

Sundar Pichai has presided over a 27% increase in Alphabet’s share price in 12 months. Photograph: Jeff Chiu/AP
Dan Morgan, a senior portfolio manager who focuses on tech companies at Synovus Trust, said Alphabet, led by Sundar Pichai, had “really been a cash cow”.
“They’ve been steadily continuing to post 15% to 20% growth, which is pretty amazing when you consider how mature that model is.”
Christopher Rossbach, the chief investment officer of Knightsbridge-based investment manager J Stern & Co, which helps advise ultra-high-net-worth families, reckons that Alphabet could double its market value despite the threat it is facing of intense scrutiny from politicians and regulators across the world.
“As Alphabet joins Apple, Microsoft and (from time to time) Amazon among tech companies that have reached this level, it marks just the start for the company,” he said. “It still has significant further room to grow, both in its core online advertising business and as it innovates in advertising monetisation and formats, and in its cloud computing business.”
Rossbach said that despite the 27% increase in Alphabet’s share price in the past 12 months, the stock was still “at a very attractive valuation”.
“Alphabet is laying the foundations for a much larger company as it is the unequivocal leader in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” he said.
“Alphabet can be a $2tn company in the near future and is a compelling opportunity for long-term investors.”

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HP might start making ink cartridges more affordable – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: HP and several other printer manufacturers have made a killing over the years by selling printers relatively inexpensively to get you into their ecosystem then charging a small fortune when it comes time to replace the ink cartridges.
It was so bad, in fact, that I know of at least one person that would simply buy a new printer whenever he ran out of ink because it was cheaper than buying replacement cartridges. And at the local computer shows I used to attend in the early 2000s, I can recall several vendors offering “custom” printer solutions that would bypass traditional printer cartridges in favor of tubes that fed into giant bottles of cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink.
This sort of sales strategy isn’t exclusive to the printer industry, either. Razor manufacturers are more than happy to sell their handles to customers at a reasonable rate then turn around and charge an arm and a leg for replacement cartridges.
Fortunately, there might be some relief in sight.

HP is moving away from the “razor/blade” model for printers because 20% of their customers don’t print enough or buy enough ink to be profitable, according to Morgan Stanley analysts in a note today
— kif (@kifleswing) January 9, 2020

According to a recent research note from Morgan Stanley, HP is considering moving away from the model as 20 percent of their customers don’t buy enough ink or print enough to be profitable. The bad news, conversely, is that the initial cost of printer hardware might climb as a result.
For many, it may be worth reconsidering your needs. I know that once I got out of college, and especially once smartphones took off, my need for a printer dropped significantly. Now, I’m able to get by with a simple laser printer. It may not print in color, but that hasn’t been a concern for close to a decade now.
Masthead credit: Ink by pticelov

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Heston Blumenthal: stop taking snaps of my food and start eating it! | Food- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Heston Blumenthal has criticised the trend of diners who appear to be more interested in photographing their food than eating it.
The celebrity chef and owner of the triple Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant said the issue had been discussed in his kitchen but that he has had to resist the temptation to intervene because he does not want to upset his customers.
“At the Fat Duck, we’ve debated this for several years now. If we say to people, ‘Your food’s going cold’, you put up a barrier between you and the diner,” Blumenthal told the Radio Times.
Asked whether he gets annoyed and has ever been close to saying anything to a customer, he said: “Yes, and I’ve been very tempted. We did it once in Australia because somebody was taking pictures with a flash, which affected other tables. It’s a really tricky thing.
“Social media is such a big part of our lives, our sight has become almost the more important sense rather than smell or taste. If I see something beautiful like a sunset, I try to be in the moment, then take a picture afterwards.”
The chef’s new TV show is inspired by “food porn”, the trend for putting snaps of envy-inducing meals on social media. Blumenthal, known for his outlandish culinary creations, is judging a new cooking competition in a series airing on Channel 4 in the UK and on Netflix around the world. The TV programme promises to have the “world’s first edible set”.
He said of Crazy Delicious: “Unlike The X Factor, we celebrate what they’ve done as opposed to humiliating them and kicking them off. And they made some great dishes.”
Blumenthal, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2016, said he had previously felt “stuck on a hamster wheel” at the height of his TV fame, and had to “perform a bit of a reverse manoeuvre” in order to rebalance his life.
The chef, who moved to the French countryside with his second wife and has taken up meditation and tai chi, said he was “still a work in progress” but “I’m going in the right direction”. The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times magazine.

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Customer success isn’t an add-on – Start early to win later – gpgmail


What comes first: Sales or Customer Success? Many growing startups pressure themselves to start selling as soon as there’s a viable product to sell. “Set up Customer Success functions” goes on the to-do list. After all, we don’t have to worry for another year, right?

Using the proprietary Scale Studio dataset of hundreds of SaaS startups, we’ll look at the metrics that venture investors use to link your company’s valuation to success in Customer Success — then dive into the tactics for adapting your CS program to your company’s high-touch or low-touch sales model

A year passes, and the company’s first renewals come due. Everyone from the CEO on down scrambles to do whatever it takes to make those charter customers happy and win contract extensions. After all, those customers aren’t just any customers — they’re the company’s first references, critical to landing new business and raising funds from investors. Every effort goes into making them happy.

The problem is, of course, that bringing in the CEO and CTO and VP of Sales on every renewal isn’t exactly a scalable process. Nor the basis for a long-term Customer Success strategy. 

Customer Success — a formal, process-driven, value-creating operational activity — needs to be structured to scale. And it needs to be top-of-mind from day one. Here is a look at the data and strategic rationale for launching CS early in a startup’s growth to avoid inefficiency and mistakes down the line. 

The case for customer success: Valuation

To venture investors, a well-run CS operation at an early-in-revenue startup communicates that your company has a sophisticated go-to-market strategy with a customer-centric foundation. This can translate into a valuation boost along two paths: accelerated revenue growth and increased predictability. And growth is a key driver for valuation with venture investors


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ThredUp, whose second-hand goods will start appearing at Macy’s and JCPenney, just raised a bundle – gpgmail


ThredUp, the 10-year-old fashion resale marketplace, has a lot of big news to boast about lately. For starters, the company just closed on $100 million in fresh funding from an investor syndicate that includes Park West Asset Management, Irving Investors and earlier backers Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Upfront Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Redpoint Ventures.

The round brings ThredUP’s total capital raised to more than $300 million, including a previously undisclosed $75 million investment that it sewed up last year.

A potentially even bigger deal for the company is a new resale platform that both Macy’s and JCPenney are beginning to test out, wherein ThedUp will be sending the stores clothing that they will process through their own point-of-sale systems, while trying to up-sell customers on jewelry, shoes, and other accessories.

It says a lot that traditional retailers are coming to see gently used items as a potential revenue stream for themselves, and little wonder given the size of the resale market, estimated to be a $24 billion market currently and projected to become a $51 billion market by 2023.

We talked yesterday with ThredUp founder and CEO James Reinhart to learn more about its tie-up with the two brands and to find out what else the startup is stitching together.

TC: You’ve partnering with Macy’s and JCPenney. Did they approach you or is ThredUp out there pitching traditional retailers?

JR: I think [the two companies] have been thinking about resale for some time. They’re trying to figure out how to best serve their customers. Meanwhile, we’ve been thinking about how we power resale for a broader set of partners, and there was a meeting of the minds six months ago

We’re positioned now where we can do this really effectively in-store, so we’re starting with a pilot program in 30 to 40 stores, but we could scale to 300 or 400 stores if we wanted.

TC: How is this going to work, exactly, with these partners?

JR: We have the [software and logistics] architecture and the selection to put together carefully curated selections of clothing for particular stores, including the right assortment of brands and sizes, depending on where a Macy’s is located, for example. Macy’s then wraps a high-quality experience around [those goods]. Maybe it’s a dress, but they wrap a handbag and scarves and jewelry around the dress purchase. We feel [certain] that future consumers will buy new and used at the same time.

TC: Who is your demographic, and please don’t say everyone.

JR: It is everyone. It’s not a satisfying answer, but we sell 30,000 brands. We serve lots of luxury customers with brands like Louis Vuitton, but we also sell Old Navy. What unites customers across all brands is they want to find brands that they couldn’t have afforded new; they’re trading up to brands that, full price, would have been too much, so Old Navy shoppers are [buying] Gap [whose shopper are buying] J. Crew and Theory and all the way up. Consistently, what we hear is [our marketplace] allows customers to swap out their wardrobes at higher rates than would be possible otherwise, and it feels to them like they’re doing in a more [environmentally] responsible way.

TC: What percentage of your shoppers are also consigning goods?

JR: We don’t track that closely, but it’s typically about a third.

TC: Do you think your customers are buying higher-end goods with a mind toward selling them, to defray their overall cost? I know that’s the thinking of CEO Julie Wainwright at [rival] The RealReal. It’s all supposed to be a kind of virtuous circle of shopping.

JR:  We like to talk about buying the handbag, then selling it, but plenty of people will also buy a second-hand Banana Republic sweater because it’s a value [and because] fashion is the second-most polluting industry on the planet.

TC: How far are you going to combat that pollution? I’m just curious if you’re in any way try to bolster the sale of hemp, versus maybe nylon, clothes for example.

JR: We aren’t driving material selection. Our thesis is: we want to stay out of the fashion business and instead ensure there’s a responsible way for people to buy second hand.

TC: For people who haven’t used ThredUp, walk through the economics. How much of each sale does someone keep?

JR: On ThredUp, it isn’t a uniform payment; it depends instead on the brand. On the luxury end, we pay [sellers] more than anyone else — we pay up to 80 percent when we resell it. If it’s Gap or Banana Republic, you get maybe 10 or 15 or 20 percent based on the original price of the item.

TC: How would you describe your standards? What goes into the reject pile?

JR: We have high standards. Items have to be in like-new or gently used condition, and we reject more than half of what people send us. But i think there’s probably more leeway for the Theory’s and J.Crew’s of the world than if you’re buying a Chanel dress.

TC: Unlike some of your rivals, you don’t sell to men. Why not?

JR: Men’s is a small market in secondhand. Men wear the same four colors — blue, black, gray and brown — so it’s not a big resale market. We do sell kids’ clothing, and that’s a big part of our market.

TC: When Macy’s now sells a dress from ThredUp, how much will you see from that transaction?

JR: We can’t share the details of the economics.

TC: How many people are now working for ThredUp?

JR: We have less than 200 in our corporate office in San Francisco, and 50 in Kiev, and then across four distribution centers — in Phoenix; Mechanicsburg [Pa.]; Atlanta; and Chicago — we have another 1,200 employees.

TC: You’ve now raised a lot of money in the last year. How will it be used?

JR: On our resale platform [used by retailers like Macy’s] and on building our tech and operations and building new distribution centers to process more clothing. We can’t get people to stop sending us stuff. [Laughs.]

TC: Before you go, what’s the most under-appreciated aspect of your business?

JR: The logistics behind the scenes. I think for every great e-commerce business, there are incredible logistics [challenges to overcome] behind the scenes. People don’t appreciate how hard that piece is, alongside the data. We’re going to process our 100 millionth item by the end of this year. That’s a lot of data.


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Biotech researchers venture into the wild to start their own business – gpgmail


Much of Silicon Valley mythology is centered on the founder-as-hero narrative. But historically, scientific founders leading the charge for bio companies have been far less common.

Developing new drugs is slow, risky and expensive. Big clinical failures are all too common. As such, bio requires incredibly specialized knowledge and experience. But at the same time, the potential for value creation is enormous today more than ever with breakthrough new medicines like engineered cell, gene and digital therapies.

What these breakthroughs are bringing along with them are entirely new models — of founders, of company creation, of the businesses themselves — that will require scientists, entrepreneurs and investors to reimagine and reinvent how they create bio companies.

In the past, biotech VC firms handled this combination of specialized knowledge + binary risk + outsized opportunity with a unique “company creation” model. In this model, there are scientific founders, yes; but the VC firm essentially founded and built the company itself — all the way from matching a scientific advance with an unmet medical need, to licensing IP, to having partners take on key roles such as CEO in the early stages, to then recruiting a seasoned management team to execute on the vision.

Image: PASIEKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

You could call this the startup equivalent of being born and bred in captivity — where great care and feeding early in life helps ensure that the company is able to thrive. Here the scientific founders tend to play more of an advisory role (usually keeping day jobs in academia to create new knowledge and frontiers), while experienced “drug hunters” operate the machinery of bringing new discoveries to the patient’s bedside. This model’s core purpose is to bring the right expertise to the table to de-risk these incredibly challenging enterprises — nobody is born knowing how to make a medicine.

But the ecosystem this model evolved from is evolving itself. Emerging fields like computational biology and biological engineering have created a new breed of founder, native to biology, engineering and computer science, that are already, by definition, the leading experts in their fledgling fields. Their advances are helping change the industry, shifting drug discovery away from a highly bespoke process — where little knowledge carries over from the success or failure of one drug to the next — to a more iterative, building-block approach like engineering.

Take gene therapy: once we learn how to deliver a gene to a specific cell in a given disease, it is significantly more likely we will be able to deliver a different gene to a different cell for another disease. Which means there’s an opportunity not only for novel therapies but also the potential for new business models. Imagine a company that provides gene delivery capability to an entire industry — GaaS: gene-delivery as a service!

Once a founder has an idea, the costs of testing it out have changed too. The days of having to set up an entire lab before you could run your first experiments are gone. In the same way that AWS made starting a tech company vastly faster and easier, innovations like shared lab spaces and wetlab accelerators have dramatically reduced the cost and speed required to get a bio startup off the ground. Today it costs thousands, not millions, for a “killer experiment” that will give a founding team (and investors) early conviction.

What all this amounts to is scientific founders now have the option of launching bio companies without relying on VCs to create them on their behalf. And many are. The new generation of bio companies being launched by these founders are more akin to being born in the wild. It isn’t easy; in fact, it’s a jungle out there, so you need to make mistakes, learn quickly, hone your instincts, and be well-equipped for survival. On the other hand, given the transformative potential of engineering-based bio platforms, the cubs that do survive can grow into lions.

Image via Getty Images / KTSDESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

So, which is better for a bio startup today: to be born in the wild — with all the risk and reward that entails — or to be raised in captivity

The “bred in captivity” model promises sureness, safety, security. A VC-created bio company has cache and credibility right off the bat. Launch capital is essentially guaranteed. It attracts all-star scientists, executives and advisors — drawn by the balance of an innovative, agile environment and a well-funded, well-connected support network. I was fortunate enough to be an early executive in one of these companies, giving me the opportunity to work alongside industry luminaries and benefit from their well-versed knowledge of how to build a world-class bio company with all its complex component parts: basic, translational, clinical research, from scratch. But this all comes at a price.

Because it’s a heavy lift for the VCs, scientific founders are usually left with a relatively small slug of equity — even founding CEOs can end up with ~5% ownership. While these companies often launch with headline-grabbing funding rounds of $50m or above, the capital is tranched — meaning money is doled out as planned milestones are achieved. But the problem is, things rarely go according to plan. Tranched capital can be a safety net, but you can get tangled in that net if you miss a milestone.

Being born in the wild, on the other hand, trades safety for freedom. No one is building the company on your behalf; you’re in charge, and you bear the risk. As a recent graduate, I co-founded a company with Harvard geneticist George Church. The company was bootstrapped — a funding strategy that was more famine than feast — but we were at liberty to try new things and run (un)controlled experiments like sequencing heavy metal wildman Ozzy Osbourne.

It was the early, Wild West days of the genomics revolution and many of the earliest biotech companies mirrored that experience — they weren’t incepted by VCs; they were created by scrappy entrepreneurs and scientists-turned-CEO. Take Joshua Boger, organic chemist and founder of Vertex Pharmaceuticals: starting in 1989 his efforts to will into existence a new way to develop drugs, thrillingly captured in Barry Werth’s The Billion-Dollar Molecule and its sequel The Antidote in all its warts and nail-biting glory, ultimately transformed how we treat HIV, hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis.

Today we’re in a back-to-the-future moment and the industry is being increasingly pushed forward by this new breed of scientist-entrepreneur. Students-turned-founder like Diego Rey of in vitro diagnostics company GeneWEAVE and Ramji Srinivasan of clinical laboratory Counsyl helped transform how we diagnose disease and each led their companies to successful acquisitions by larger rivals.

Popular accelerators like Y Combinator and IndieBio are filled with bio companies driven by this founder phenotype. Ginkgo Bioworks, the first bio company in Y Combinator and today a unicorn, was founded by Jason Kelly and three of his MIT biological engineering classmates, along with former MIT professor and synthetic biology legend Tom Knight. The company is not only innovating new ways to program biology in order to disrupt a broad range of industries, but it’s also pioneering an innovative conglomerate business model it has dubbed the “Berkshire for biotech.”

Like the Ginkgo founders, Alec Nielsen and Raja Srinivas launched their startup Asimov, an ambitious effort to program cells using genetic circuits, shortly after receiving their PhDs in biological engineering from MIT. And, like Boger, renowned machine learning Stanford professor Daphne Koller is working to once again transform drug discovery as the founder and CEO of Instiro.

Just like making a medicine, no one is born knowing how to build a company. But in this new world, these technical founders with deep domain expertise may even be more capable of traversing the idea maze than seasoned operators. Engineering-based platforms have the potential to create entirely new applications with unprecedented productivity, creating opportunities for new breakthroughs, novel business models, and new ways to build bio companies. The well-worn playbooks may be out of date.

Founders that choose to create their own companies still need investors to scrub in and contribute to the arduous labor of company-building — but via support, guidance, and with access to networks instead. And like this new generation of founders, bio investors today need to rethink (and re-value) the promise of the new, and still appreciate the hard-earned wisdom of the old. In other words, bio investors also need to be multidisciplinary. And they need to be comfortable with a different kind of risk: backing an unproven founder in a new, emerging space. As a founder, if you’re willing to take your chances in the wild, you should have an investor that understands you, believes in you, can support you and, importantly, is willing to dream big with you.


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This startup is helping food app delivery workers start their own damn delivery companies – gpgmail


Following many months of pressure, DoorDash, one of the most frequently used food delivery apps in the U.S., said late last month that it was finally changing its tipping policy to pass along to workers 100% of tips, rather than employ some of that money toward defraying its own costs.

The move was a step in the right direction, but as a New York Times piece recently underscored, there are many remaining challenges for food delivery couriers, including not knowing where a delivery is going until a worker picks it up (Uber Eats), having just seconds to decide whether or not to accept an order (Postmates) and not being guaranteed a minimum wage (Deliveroo) — not to mention the threat of delivery robots taking their jobs.

It’s a big enough problem that a young, nine-person startup called Dumpling has decided to tackle it directly. Its big idea: turn today’s delivery workers into “solopreneurs” who build their own book of clients and keep much more of the money.

It newly has $3 million in backing from two venture firms that know the gig economy well, too: Floodgate, an early investor in Lyft (firm co-founder Ann Miura-Ko is on Lyft’s board), and Fuel Capital, where TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque is now a general partner.

We talked with Dumpling’s co-founders and co-CEOs earlier this week to learn more about the company and how viable it might be. Nate D’Anna spent eight years as a director of corporate development at Cisco; Joel Shapiro spent more than 13 years with National Instruments, where he held a variety of roles, including as a marketing director focused on emerging markets.

National Instruments, based in Austin, is also where Shapiro and D’Anna first met back in 2002. Our chat, edited lightly for length, follows:

TC: You started working together out of college. What prompted you to come together to start Dumpling?

JS: We’d stayed good friends as we’d done different things with our careers, but we were both seeing rising inequality happening at companies and within their workforces, and we were both interested in using our [respective] background and experiences to try and make a difference.

ND: When we were first started, Dumpling wasn’t a platform for people to start their own business. It was a place for people to voice opinions — kind of like a Glassdoor for workers with hourly jobs, including in retail. What jumped out at us was how many gig workers began using the platform to talk about the horrible ways they were being treated, not having a traditional boss and not being protected by traditional policies.

TC: At what point did you think you were onto a separate opportunity?

ND: We knew that a mission-driven company that’s trying to do good by people who’ve been exploited by Silicon Valley companies has to be profitable. I was an investor at Cisco, and I was very clear that the money side has to work. So we started talking with gig workers and we asked, ‘Why are you working for a terrible company where you’re getting injured, where you’re getting penalized for not taking the next job?’ And the response was ‘money.’ It was, ‘I need to be able to buy these groceries and I don’t want to put them on my own credit card.’ That was an epiphany for us. If the biggest pain point to running these businesses is working capital and we can solve that — if business owners will pay for access to capital and for tools that help them run their business — that clicked for us.

TC: A big part of your premise is that while gig economy companies have anonymized people as best they can, there’s a meaningful segment of services where a stranger or a robot isn’t going to work.

JS: Shoppers for gig companies often hear, ‘When you [specifically] come, it makes my day,’ so our philosophy was to build a platform that supports the person. When you run a business and build a clientele that you get to know, you’re incentivized for that [client] to have a good experience. So we wondered, how do we provide tools for someone who has done personal shopping and who not only needs funds to shop but also help with marketing and a website and training so they can promote their services?

ND: We also realized that to help business owners succeed that we needed to lower the transaction cost for them to find customers, so we created a marketplace where shoppers can look at reviews, understand different shoppers’ knowledge regarding when it comes to various specialties and stores, then help match them.

TC: How many shoppers are now running their own businesses on Dumpling and what do they get from you exactly?

JS: More than 500 across the country are operating in 37 states.  And we want to give them everything they need. A big part of that is capital, so we give [them] a credit card, then it’s effectively the operational support, including order management, customer relationship functionality, customer communication, a storefront, an app that they can use to run their business from their phone. . .

TC: What about insurance, tax help, that sort of stuff?

ND: A lot of VCs pushed us in that direction. The good news is a lot of companies are coming up to provide those ancillary services, and we’ll eventually partner with them if you want to export your data to Intuit or someone else. Right now, we’re really focused on [shoppers’] core business, helping then to operate it, to find customers, that’s our sweet spot for the immediate future.

TC: What are you charging? Who are you charging?

JS: A subscription model is an obvious way for us to go at some point, but right now, because we’re in the transaction flow, we’re taking a percentage of each transaction. The [solopreneuer] pays us $5 per transaction as a platform fee; the shopper pays us 5% atop the delivery fee set by the [person who is delivering their goods]. So if someone spends $100 on groceries, that customer pays us $5, and the shopper pays us $5 and the shopper gets that delivery fee, plus his or her tip.

The vast amount goes to the shopper, unlike with today’s model [wherein the vast majority goes to delivery companies]. Our average shopper is bringing home $32 in earnings per order, roughly three times as much as when they work for other grocery delivery apps. I think that’s partly because we communicate to [shoppers] that they are supporting local businesses and local entrepreneurs and they are receiving an average tip of 17% on their orders. But also, when you know your shopper and that person gets to know your preferences, you’re much more comfortable ordering non-perishables, like produce picked the way you like. That leads to huge order sizes, which is another reason that average earnings are higher.

TC: You’re fronting the cost for groceries. Is that money coming from your venture funding? Do you have a debt facility?

ND: We don’t. The money moves so fast. The shoppers are using the card to shop, then getting the money back again, so the cycle time is quick. It’s two days, not six months.

TC: How does this whole thing scale? Are you collecting data that you hope will inform future products?

ND: We definitely want to use tech to empower [shoppers] instead of control them. But [our CTO and third co-founder Tom Schoellhammer] came from Google doing search there, and eventually we [expect to] recommend similar stores, or [extend into] beauty or pet other local services. Grocery delivery is one obvious place where the market is broken, but where you want a trusted person involved, and you’re in the flow when people are looking for something [the opportunity opens up]. Shoppers’ knowledge of their local operation zone can be leveraged much more.


10 minutes mail – Also known by names like : 10minemail, 10minutemail, 10mins email, mail 10 minutes, 10 minute e-mail, 10min mail, 10minute email or 10 minute temporary email. 10 minute email address is a disposable temporary email that self-destructed after a 10 minutes. https://tempemail.co/– is most advanced throwaway email service that helps you avoid spam and stay safe. Try tempemail and you can view content, post comments or download something