Mark Zuckerberg won’t be spending 2020 focused on wearing ties, learning Mandarin or just fixing Facebook. “Rather than having year-to-year challenges, I’ve tried to think about what I hope the world and my life will look in 2030,” he wrote today on Facebook. As you might have guessed, though, Zuckerberg’s vision for an improved planet involves a lot more of Facebook’s family of apps.

His biggest proclamations in today’s notes include that:

  • AR – Phones will remain the primary computing platform for most of the decade but augmented reality could get devices out from between us so we can be present together — Facebook is building AR glasses
  • VR – Better virtual reality technology could address the housing crisis by letting people work from anywhere — Facebook is building Oculus
  • Privacy – The internet has created a global community where people find it hard to establish themselves as unique, so smaller online groups could make people feel special again — Facebook is building more private groups and messaging options
  • Regulation – The big questions facing technology are too thorny for private companies to address by themselves, and governments must step in around elections, content moderation, data portability and privacy — Facebook is trying to self-regulate on these and everywhere else to deter overly onerous lawmaking

Zuckerberg Elections

These are all reasonable predictions and suggestions. However, Zuckerberg’s post does little to address how the broadening of Facebook’s services in the 2010s also contributed to a lot of the problems he presents:

  • Isolation – Constant passive feed scrolling on Facebook and Instagram has created a way to seem like you’re being social without having true back-and-forth interaction with friends
  • Gentrification – Facebook’s shuttled employees have driven up rents in cities around the world, especially the Bay Area
  • Envy – Facebook’s algorithms can make anyone without a glamorous, Instagram-worthy life look less important, while hackers can steal accounts and its moderation systems can accidentally suspend profiles with little recourse for most users
  • Negligence – The growth-first mentality led Facebook’s policies and safety to lag behind its impact, creating the kind of democracy, content, anti-competition and privacy questions it’s now asking the government to answer for it

Noticeably absent from Zuckerberg’s post are explicit mentions of some of Facebook’s more controversial products and initiatives. He writes about “decentralizing opportunity” by giving small businesses commerce tools, but never mentions cryptocurrency, blockchain or Libra directly. Instead he seems to suggest that Instagram store fronts, Messenger customer support and WhatsApp remittance might be sufficient. He also largely leaves out Portal, Facebook’s smart screen that could help distant families stay closer, but that some see as a surveillance and data collection tool.

I’m glad Zuckerberg is taking his role as a public figure and the steward of one of humanity’s fundamental utilities more seriously. His willingness to even think about some of these long-term issues instead of just quarterly profits is important. Optimism is necessary to create what doesn’t exist.

Still, if Zuckerberg wants 2030 to look better for the world, and for the world to look more kindly on Facebook, he may need to hire more skeptics and cynics that see a dystopic future instead — people who understand human impulses toward greed and vanity. Their foresight on where societal problems could arise from Facebook’s products could help temper Zuckerberg’s team of idealists to create a company that balances the potential of the future with the risks to the present.

For more on why Facebook can’t succeed on idealism alone, read:

 

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When the Lora DiCarlo wagon finally arrives, the rolling glass boxu2019s back door opens and another journalist pops out to get on his way. The sex tech company has a week packed full with 20-minute rolling interviews with a curious tech press. No time to spare; I step up, sit down, and weu2019re on our way.

n

Driving down the Strip in a transparent box is a curious, extremely Vegas experience: puzzled tourists and confused CES attendees gawk from the sidewalks. Four of us are sitting in a makeshift living room with fuzzy white carpet: CEO Lora Haddock, Enzo Ferrari Drift DiCarlo (her fuzzy black-and-white Pomeranian), and a colleague, who holds Enzo in their lap. A four-foot-tall faux sex toy sits in a corner, swaying occasionally.

n

Itu2019s been a hell of a year since the sex tech startup was at the center of a firestorm after the CTA unceremoniously revoked its Innovation Award. By July, the CES organizer found itself eating crow via a press release and agreed to allow sex tech companies to exhibit on a u201cone-year trial bias,u201d spreading them out amongst the broader category of health tech at the showu2019s Eureka Park startup exhibit space.

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Brian Heater is the Hardware Editor at TechCrunch. He worked for a number of leading tech publications, including Engadget, PCMag, Laptop, and Tech Times, where he served as the Managing Editor. His writing has appeared in Spin, Wired, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, The Onion, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Beast and various other publications. He hosts the weekly Boing Boing interview podcast RiYL, has appeared as a regular NPR contributor and shares his Queens apartment with a rabbit named Lucy.

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says a new Firefox security bug is under active attack”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Mozilla has warned Firefox users to update their browser to the latest version after security researchers found a vulnerability that hackers were actively exploiting in “targeted attacks” against users.

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The vulnerability, found by Chinese security company Qihoo 360, was found in Firefox’s just-in-time compiler. The compiler is tasked with speeding up performance of JavaScript to make websites load faster. But researchers found that the bug could allow malicious JavaScript to run outside of the browser on the host computer.

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In practical terms, that means an attacker can quietly break into a victim’s computer by tricking the victim into accessing a website running malicious JavaScript code.

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But Qihoo did not say precisely how the bug was exploited, who the attackers were, or who was targeted.

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Browser vulnerabilities are a hot commodity in security circles as they can be used to infect vulnerable computers u2014 often silently and without the user noticing u2014 and be used to deliver malware or ransomware. Browsers are also a target for nation states and governments and their use of surveillance tools, known as network investigative techniques u2014 or NITs. These vulnerability-exploiting tools have been used by federal agents to spy on and catch criminals. But these tools have drawn ire from the security community because the feds’ failure to disclose the bugs to the software makers could result in bad actors exploiting the same vulnerabilities for malicious purposes.

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Mozilla issued the security advisory for Firefox 72, whichu00a0had only been out for two days before the vulnerability was found.

n

Homeland Security’s cyber advisory unit, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, also issued a security warning, advising users to update to Firefox 72.0.1, which fixes the vulnerability. Little information was given about the bug, only that it could be used to “take control of an affected system.”

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Firefox users can update their browser from the settings.

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n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Mozilla has warned Firefox users to update their browser to the latest version after security researchers found a vulnerability that hackers were actively exploiting in “targeted attacks” against users. The vulnerability, found by Chinese security company Qihoo 360, was found in Firefox’s just-in-time compiler. The compiler is tasked with speeding up performance of JavaScript to […]

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Zack Whittaker is the security editor at TechCrunch. You can send tips securely via Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

nn

He can also be reached by email: zack.whittaker@techcrunch.com.

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/arqrabrudwyofg3sb2pl”,”twitter”:”zackwhittaker”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/133574210″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}}],”author”:[{“id”:133574210,”name”:”Zack Whittaker”,”url”:””,”description”:”Zack Whittaker writes about cybersecurity for TechCrunch. You can send tips securely via Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.rnrnHe can also be reached by email: zack.whittaker@techcrunch.com.”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/zack-whittaker/”,”slug”:”zack-whittaker”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9c6f2f007a1fadfcf4f9da867130c493?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9c6f2f007a1fadfcf4f9da867130c493?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9c6f2f007a1fadfcf4f9da867130c493?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“homepage”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/zack-whittaker/”,”facebook”:”https://www.facebook.com/zackwhittaker”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/zackwhittaker”,”linkedin”:”https://www.linkedin.com/in/zackwhittaker/”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/zack-whittaker”},”position”:”Security Editor”,”cbDescription”:”

Zack Whittaker is the security editor at TechCrunch. You can send tips securely via Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

nn

He can also be reached by email: zack.whittaker@techcrunch.com.

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The Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox web browser logo is displayed on a computer monitor in London, U.K. on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox topped Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer in Europe for the first time last month to become the region’s most-used web browser. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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goes downmarket with its new Viola mechanical keyboard switches”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Cherry has long been the de facto standard for mechanical keyboard switches. Since mechanical keyboards are, almost by default, significantly more expensive than membrane or dome-switch keyboards, that has kept the company out of a large part of the market. Now, on the last day of CES 2020, the company is launching its new Viola switch, the company’s first fully mechanical switch for the value market, meant for keyboards that will cost somewhere between $50 and $100.

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As the Cherry team told me ahead of today’s announcement, its engineers spent well over a year on designing this new switch, which only has a handful of parts and which moves some of the complexity into the circuit board on the keyboard itself. A lot of the work went into designing the new self-cleaning contact system (which the company quickly patented) and to ensure that the switches’ materials would be able to handle regular use despite the simplicity of the design.

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Because of this new design, the new Viola switches are now hot-swappable, so if one ever goes bad, swapping in a new one shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. And because the company stuck with the same industry-standard cross-stem design for attaching keycaps, keyboard manufacturers can reuse their existing designs, too.

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Like most new switches, the Cherry Viola supports LED lighting, which in the case of this new design can be mounted right on the circuit board of the keyboard.

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If you’re a keyboard aficionado, you won’t confuse the new Viola switch with any of Cherry’s high-end MX switches. For a lot of users who want a mechanical keyboard at a value price, this looks like it’ll be a great option.

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I didn’t get a chance to spend a lot of time with the new switches, but as best as I could tell, the current version resembles a quiet MX Brown switch. Cherry itself discourages any comparisons, though. Even the name is clearly meant to remove any confusion that this switch is part of the MX series. And while Cherry has plans to offer similar switch variants as the MX Black, Brown, Blue and Red, it won’t recycle those colors for those switches either. While the company tells me it isn’t all that worried about the new switches cannibalizing the MX market, it’s not leaving that to chance either.

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One major difference with the Viola switches is that Cherry isn’t giving any guarantee for how many keystrokes they will withstand — at least not yet. The company tells me it may give some guidance at a later point.

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Like all other Cherry switches, the Viola switches are built in the company’s factory in Germany and all of its suppliers, too, are building their products in the country as well.

n

For the MX switches, though, the company is now raising its guarantee from 50 million keystrokes (which was already a lot) to 100 million. Some pro-gamers actually reach those numbers (and the switches usually continue to function well beyond that), but for everybody else, it’s just an assurance that the company stands behind its products. To achieve this, the team made some minor adjustments to switches and especially the guide rails on the inside of the switch housing. That won’t change the actual typing experience, though.

n

The first keyboards with the 100-million MX switches are already available, and the first Viola keyboards will become available soon.

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CES 2020 coverage - TechCrunch

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Cherry has long been the de facto standard for mechanical keyboard switches. Since mechanical keyboards are, almost by default, significantly more expensive than membrane or dome-switch keyboards, that has kept the company out of a large part of the market. Now, on the last day of CES 2020, the company is launching its new Viola […]

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Before he joined TechCrunch in 2012, he founded SiliconFilter and wrote for ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). Frederic covers enterprise, cloud, developer tools, Google, Microsoft, gadgets, transportation and anything else he finds interesting. He owns just over a 50th of a bitcoin.

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Before he joined TechCrunch in 2012, he founded SiliconFilter and wrote for ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). Frederic covers enterprise, cloud, developer tools, Google, Microsoft, gadgets, transportation and anything else he finds interesting. He owns just over a 50th of a bitcoin.

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co-founder Biz Stone backs tutoring platform Scoodle”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Scoodle, a U.K.-based startup that, in its own words, wants to help tutors become influencers, is disclosing $760,000 in pre-seed funding.

n

Backing the round is Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, alongside Tiny VC, IFG Ventures and a number of unnamed angels. Scoodle is also the first ed tech company to join the University of Oxfordu2019s accelerator, Oxford Foundry.

n

Launched in late 2018, Scoodle might be thought of as Quora-meets-tutoring. The platforms lets students post questions, which tutors are then invited to answer as a way of boosting their reputation and influence, from which they can generate more tutoring work.

n

Tutors also can create a comprehensive profile and share learning resources as a further way of demonstrating their expertise. And, crucially, take tutor bookings.

n

Co-founder and CEO Ismail Jeilani, who most recently worked at Google, says the idea was born from his own experience tutoring so that he could save up for university and avoid taking out a student loan.

n

“Itu2019s difficult to find good tutors, because parents donu2019t know what to look for,” he tells me. “We solve this with a content-driven approach. Our tutors share content like learning resources on their profiles, which parents get to view before booking a lesson. Through this approach, tutors begin to develop their own brands, like u2018an educatoru2019s LinkedIn.u2019 ”

n

Scoodle says it hosts thousands of tutors from the U.K.u2019s best educational institutions, including the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and others.

n

Perhaps most noteworthy, Scoodle is operating like a content-led marketplace for tutor bookings, but doesn’t currently charge a booking fee.

n

Having grown to 100,000 users across mobile and web, the startup instead has introduced a subscription model: tutors pay u00a310 per month for boosted listings, and the company claims this secures tutors up to 30 times more enquiries.

n

Similarly, there is also a subscription option for students whereby anybody can book, message and access tutor content for free, but a higher tier Scoodle Pro membership lets you ask questions directly to tutors for a more on-demand service.

n

“It’s very common that a student discovers Scoodle on the back of a Google search,” adds Jeilani. “When they view an answer, they also see other answers from that tutor, along with how many students they’ve helped. This helps create trust.”

n

In the U.K., the tutoring space includes companies like Tutorful, Tutorhunt and myTutor, but remains fragmented. Jeilani argues that Scoodle’s key differentiator is its focus on tutor branding driven by content.

n

“Unique content gives us a different user acquisition channel along with long-term defensibility,” he says. “This tutor-focused approach also means we’re the first to have a 0% commission model. This keeps tutors on our platform longer than anywhere else.”

n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Scoodle, a U.K.-based startup that, in its own words, wants to help tutors become influencers, is disclosing $760,000 in pre-seed funding. Backing the round is Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, alongside Tiny VC, IFG Ventures and a number of unnamed angels. Scoodle is also the first ed tech company to join the University of Oxfordu2019s accelerator, […]

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Steve O’Hear is best known as a technology journalist, currently at TechCrunch where he focuses on European startups, companies and products.

nn

He first joined TechCrunch in November 2009 as Contributing Editor for TechCrunch Europe, where he worked alongside Editor Mike Butcher to help build TechCrunch’s coverage in Europe.

nn

In June 2011, Steve took a break from journalism to co-found the London and Prague-based startup Beepl. In his role as CEO, he helped the company raise its first VC round, along with seeing the Question & Answer site through development, private alpha and a high profile public launch. In November 2012, Beepl was acquired by Brand Embassy.

nn

Along with TechCrunch, Steve has written for numerous publications, including ZDNet (where he wrote the well-respected blog ‘The Social Web’), The Guardian, Macworld, TES, Last100 and ReadWriteWeb. He also wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Silicon Valley documentary ‘In Search of the Valley’, which was released in September 2006.

nn

In 2002, Steve was made a fellow of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. He’s also one half of ProtoBake Labs, an ‘ideas incubator’ he co-founded with Pete Harris.

nn

Disclaimer: Steve owns a small amount of cryptocurrency, and doesn’t generally write about crypto currencies. If and when he does, he will always disclose any potential conflict of interest.

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1452432375/ejtyu0auvnxnmocnllgn.png”,”twitter”:”sohear”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/1180458″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}}],”author”:[{“id”:1180458,”name”:”Steve O’Hear”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/steve-o-hear/”,”slug”:”steve-o-hear”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/95b8a6df6d265cf57a4d89ee4856ea98?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/95b8a6df6d265cf57a4d89ee4856ea98?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/95b8a6df6d265cf57a4d89ee4856ea98?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“homepage”:”http://www.ohear.net”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/sohear”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/ohear”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/steve-ohear”},”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

Steve O’Hear is best known as a technology journalist, currently at TechCrunch where he focuses on European startups, companies and products.

nn

He first joined TechCrunch in November 2009 as Contributing Editor for TechCrunch Europe, where he worked alongside Editor Mike Butcher to help build TechCrunch’s coverage in Europe.

nn

In June 2011, Steve took a break from journalism to co-found the London and Prague-based startup Beepl. In his role as CEO, he helped the company raise its first VC round, along with seeing the Question & Answer site through development, private alpha and a high profile public launch. In November 2012, Beepl was acquired by Brand Embassy.

nn

Along with TechCrunch, Steve has written for numerous publications, including ZDNet (where he wrote the well-respected blog ‘The Social Web’), The Guardian, Macworld, TES, Last100 and ReadWriteWeb. He also wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Silicon Valley documentary ‘In Search of the Valley’, which was released in September 2006.

nn

In 2002, Steve was made a fellow of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. He’s also one half of ProtoBake Labs, an ‘ideas incubator’ he co-founded with Pete Harris.

nn

Disclaimer: Steve owns a small amount of cryptocurrency, and doesn’t generally write about crypto currencies. If and when he does, he will always disclose any potential conflict of interest.

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coffee, unicorn stumbles and Sam Altman’s YC wager”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

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Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunchu2019s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

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This week we had TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhelm and Danny Crichton on hand to dig into the news, with Chris Gates on the dials and more news than we could possibly cram into 30 minutes. So we went a bit over; sorry about that.

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We kicked off by running through a few short-forms to get things going, including:

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  • Alex wanted to talk about his recent story on Lily AI’s $12.5 million Series A. Canaan led the round into the e-commerce-focused recommendation engine that has a cool take on what people care about.
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  • Danny talked about the acquisition of Armis Security by Insight for $1.1 billion, the VC round for self-driving forklift startup Vecna and an outside-the-Valley round for Houston-based HighRadius.
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Turning to longer cuts, the team dug into the latest from SoftBank, its Vision Fund and the successes and struggles of its enormous startup bets. Leading the news cycle this week were layoffs at Zume, a robotic pizza delivery venture that is no longer pursuing robotic pizza delivery. Now it’s working on sustainable packaging. Cool, but it’s going to be hard for the company to grow into its valuation while pivoting.

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Other issues have come up u2014u00a0more here u2014 that paint some cracks onto the Vision Fund’s sunny exterior. Don’t be too beguiled by the bad news, Danny says; venture funds run like J-Curves, and there are still winners in that particular portfolio.

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After that, we turned to China, in particular its venture slowdown. The bubble, in Danny’s view, has burst. The story discussed is here, if you want to read it. The short version for the lazy is that not only has China’s venture scene slowed down dramatically, but startups u2014 even those with ample capital raised u2014 are dying by the hundred. But one highly caffeinated Chinese startup continues to find growth in the world’s greatest tea market.

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Finally we hit on the Sam Altman wager and the latest from Sisense, which is now a unicorn. All that and we had some fun.

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Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us onu00a0Apple Podcasts,u00a0Overcast,u00a0Spotify and all the casts.

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Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunchu2019s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we had TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhelm and Danny Crichton on hand to dig into the news, with Chris Gates on the dials and more news than we could possibly cram into 30 minutes. So we went […]

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Alex Wilhelm is Senior Editor at TechCrunch. He previously worked for Crunchbase News as Editor in Chief as well as The Next Web, TechCrunch, and Mattermark.

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Danny is Managing Editor at TechCrunch, where he covers technology, power, and startup growth. Previously, he was a foreign correspondent at TechCrunch based in Seoul, South Korea as well as a venture capitalist with General Catalyst in Palo Alto and Charles River Ventures in Boston and New York. He was awarded a Fulbright research scholarship to South Korea, where he researched the development of Koreau2019s startup ecosystem. He is a PhD dropout from Harvard where he studied public policy and an honors graduate of Stanford, where he studied mathematical and computational sciences. Danny is based in Brooklyn.

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His ethics statement is located at https://www.dannycrichton.com/ethics/

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Alex Wilhelm is Senior Editor at TechCrunch. He previously worked for Crunchbase News as Editor in Chief as well as The Next Web, TechCrunch, and Mattermark.

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and Oyo pare staff as Vision Fund companies trim costs, target profits”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

This week we’ve covered layoffs at unicorns both inside the Vision Fund and out. This afternoon we add two more to our list: Oyo and Rappi.

n

The staff reductions are surprising — and not. They are surprising, as Oyo (India-based, low-cost hotels) and Rappi (Latin America-focused e-commerce) were bright lights in the Vision Fund’s crown. And the layoffs are not surprising as other famous unicorns have recently cut staff in a bid to reduce costs, diminish losses and aim closer to profitability.

n

Our net lack of shock is underscored by the Vision Fund itself, which signaled late last year that it wants portfolio companies to get profitable and get public. The cuts are therefore a little more than unsurprising; we should have anticipated them.

“,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

This week we’ve covered layoffs at unicorns both inside the Vision Fund and out. This afternoon we add two more to our list: Oyo and Rappi. The staff reductions are surprising — and not. They are surprising, as Oyo (India-based, low-cost hotels) and Rappi (Latin America-focused e-commerce) were bright lights in the Vision Fund’s crown. […]

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Alex Wilhelm is Senior Editor at TechCrunch. He previously worked for Crunchbase News as Editor in Chief as well as The Next Web, TechCrunch, and Mattermark.

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Alex Wilhelm is Senior Editor at TechCrunch. He previously worked for Crunchbase News as Editor in Chief as well as The Next Web, TechCrunch, and Mattermark.

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at Lime and Getaround herald rise of profit-hungry unicorns”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

n

A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Positive adjusted EBITDA, or something close to it.

n

That’s the message from scooter unicorn Lime, which announced this week that it was cutting about 14% of its staff and closing a dozen markets. The staff reductions, numbering about 100, come as the company has touted efforts to improve its profitability u2014 going as far as setting targets for when it might reach capital freedom, as well as highlighting the matter in a recent corporate blog post.

n

(Bird, a Lime competitor, also underwent layoffs this year.)

n

What’s going on? Unicorns, once hungry for growth, are now hell-bent to show current (and future) investors that their businesses aren’t unprofitable quagmires. Profitability, or movement towards it, is hot, and Lime is a good example of the trend u2014 as is Getaround, which also wrote about its own layoffs this week. Let’s dig in.

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Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Positive adjusted EBITDA, or something close to it. That’s the message from scooter unicorn Lime, which announced this week that it was cutting about 14% of […]

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(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

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sex tech startupu2019s triumphant return to CES”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

When the Lora DiCarlo wagon finally arrives, the rolling glass boxu2019s back door opens and another journalist pops out to get on his way. The sex tech company has a week packed full with 20-minute rolling interviews with a curious tech press. No time to spare; I step up, sit down, and weu2019re on our way.

n

Driving down the Strip in a transparent box is a curious, extremely Vegas experience: puzzled tourists and confused CES attendees gawk from the sidewalks. Four of us are sitting in a makeshift living room with fuzzy white carpet: CEO Lora Haddock, Enzo Ferrari Drift DiCarlo (her fuzzy black-and-white Pomeranian), and a colleague, who holds Enzo in their lap. A four-foot-tall faux sex toy sits in a corner, swaying occasionally.

n

Itu2019s been a hell of a year since the sex tech startup was at the center of a firestorm after the CTA unceremoniously revoked its Innovation Award. By July, the CES organizer found itself eating crow via a press release and agreed to allow sex tech companies to exhibit on a u201cone-year trial bias,u201d spreading them out amongst the broader category of health tech at the showu2019s Eureka Park startup exhibit space.

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When the Lora DiCarlo wagon finally arrives, the rolling glass boxu2019s back door opens and another journalist pops out to get on his way. The sex tech company has a week packed full with 20-minute rolling interviews with a curious tech press. No time to spare; I step up, sit down, and weu2019re on our […]

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Brian Heater is the Hardware Editor at TechCrunch. He worked for a number of leading tech publications, including Engadget, PCMag, Laptop, and Tech Times, where he served as the Managing Editor. His writing has appeared in Spin, Wired, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, The Onion, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Beast and various other publications. He hosts the weekly Boing Boing interview podcast RiYL, has appeared as a regular NPR contributor and shares his Queens apartment with a rabbit named Lucy.

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Two years ago, we created the Matrix FinTech Index to highlight what we saw as the beginnings of a 10+ year mega innovation wave in financial services.

n

The trillion-dollar financial services industry was going to be turned on its head over the next decade, and we were just getting started. At the time, the top 10 publicly traded U.S. fintech companies had just surpassed the $100 billion mark in terms of total market capitalization, 12 unicorns had emerged in the category, and the U.S. VC industry had just poured in $6.7B u2014 a record at the time.

n

As we predicted last year, the innovation cycle continues, and we are transitioning into its mid-phase. So what happened in U.S. fintech in 2019? In short, monster growth.

n

On the public side, fintechs delivered resoundingly. PayPal alone gained $26B in market capitalization. On a return basis, the public Matrix FinTech Index continued to crush every major equity index as well as the financial services incumbents. Nicely matching our forecasts, our Index delivered 213% returns over the last three years. The Index outperformed the financial services incumbents by 151 percentage points and the S&P 500 by 170 percentage points.

“,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Two years ago, we created the Matrix FinTech Index to highlight what we saw as the beginnings of a 10+ year mega innovation wave in financial services.

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CEO Amir Orad explains why he raised over $100M”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

This week, Sisense, a player in the business intelligence space, announced a $100 million investment. As TechCrunch reported, the round pushed the company’s valuation north of the $1 billion mark, making Sisense the world’s newest unicorn.

n

That moniker will last a day, we’re sure.

n

TechCrunch caught up with Sisense CEO Amir Orad and CMO Harry Glaser to discuss the company’s business scale just a few days ago; Sisense is a member in our newly-created $100 million ARR club, having first surpassed the threshold after buying Periscope earlier in 2019 and later with its original operations. What follows is an edited transcript that we’ve shortened to the key bits regarding the round that gifted Sisense its horn.

“,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

This week, Sisense, a player in the business intelligence space, announced a $100 million investment. As TechCrunch reported, the round pushed the company’s valuation north of the $1 billion mark, making Sisense the world’s newest unicorn. That moniker will last a day, we’re sure. TechCrunch caught up with Sisense CEO Amir Orad and CMO Harry […]

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Alex Wilhelm is Senior Editor at TechCrunch. He previously worked for Crunchbase News as Editor in Chief as well as The Next Web, TechCrunch, and Mattermark.

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/icctnaiqcee3bzwdc4fr”,”twitter”:”alex”}],”author”:[{“id”:428363,”name”:”Alex Wilhelm”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/alex-wilhelm/”,”slug”:”alex-wilhelm”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/cc9b583e483d57b5eb30b6b09baefa63?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/cc9b583e483d57b5eb30b6b09baefa63?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/cc9b583e483d57b5eb30b6b09baefa63?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/alex.wilhelm”,”twitter”:”http://twitter.com/alex”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/alexwilhelm/”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/alex-wilhelm”},”position”:”Senior Editor”,”cbDescription”:”

Alex Wilhelm is Senior Editor at TechCrunch. He previously worked for Crunchbase News as Editor in Chief as well as The Next Web, TechCrunch, and Mattermark.

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Mark Zuckerberg won’t be spending 2020 focused on wearing ties, learning Mandarin or just fixing Facebook. “Rather than having year-to-year challenges, I’ve tried to think about what I hope the world and my life will look in 2030,” he wrote today on Facebook. As you might have guessed, though, Zuckerberg’s vision for an improved planet involves a lot more of Facebook’s family of apps.

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His biggest proclamations in today’s notes include that:

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  • AR – Phones will remain the primary computing platform for most of the decade but augmented reality could get devices out from between us so we can be present together — Facebook is building AR glasses
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  • VR – Better virtual reality technology could address the housing crisis by letting people work from anywhere — Facebook is building Oculus
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  • Privacy – The internet has created a global community where people find it hard to establish themselves as unique, so smaller online groups could make people feel special again — Facebook is building more private groups and messaging options
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  • Regulation – The big questions facing technology are too thorny for private companies to address by themselves, and governments must step in around elections, content moderation, data portability and privacy — Facebook is trying to self-regulate on these and everywhere else to deter overly onerous lawmaking
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Zuckerberg Elections

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These are all reasonable predictions and suggestions. However, Zuckerberg’s post does little to address how the broadening of Facebook’s services in the 2010s also contributed to a lot of the problems he presents:

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  • Isolation – Constant passive feed scrolling on Facebook and Instagram has created a way to seem like you’re being social without having true back-and-forth interaction with friends
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  • Gentrification – Facebook’s shuttled employees have driven up rents in cities around the world, especially the Bay Area
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  • Envy – Facebook’s algorithms can make anyone without a glamorous, Instagram-worthy life look less important, while hackers can steal accounts and its moderation systems can accidentally suspend profiles with little recourse for most users
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  • Negligence – The growth-first mentality led Facebook’s policies and safety to lag behind its impact, creating the kind of democracy, content, anti-competition and privacy questions it’s now asking the government to answer for it
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Noticeably absent from Zuckerberg’s post are explicit mentions of some of Facebook’s more controversial products and initiatives. He writes about “decentralizing opportunity” by giving small businesses commerce tools, but never mentions cryptocurrency, blockchain or Libra directly. Instead he seems to suggest that Instagram store fronts, Messenger customer support and WhatsApp remittance might be sufficient. He also largely leaves out Portal, Facebook’s smart screen that could help distant families stay closer, but that some see as a surveillance and data collection tool.

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I’m glad Zuckerberg is taking his role as a public figure and the steward of one of humanity’s fundamental utilities more seriously. His willingness to even think about some of these long-term issues instead of just quarterly profits is important. Optimism is necessary to create what doesn’t exist.

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Still, if Zuckerberg wants 2030 to look better for the world, and for the world to look more kindly on Facebook, he may need to hire more skeptics and cynics that see a dystopic future instead — people who understand human impulses toward greed and vanity. Their foresight on where societal problems could arise from Facebook’s products could help temper Zuckerberg’s team of idealists to create a company that balances the potential of the future with the risks to the present.

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Every new year of the last decade I set a personal challenge. My goal was to grow in new ways outside my day-to-day work…

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Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, January 9, 2020

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For more on why Facebook can’t succeed on idealism alone, read:

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n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Mark Zuckerberg won’t be spending 2020 focused on wearing ties, learning Mandarin or just fixing Facebook. “Rather than having year-to-year challenges, I’ve tried to think about what I hope the world and my life will look in 2030,” he wrote today on Facebook. As you might have guessed, though, Zuckerberg’s vision for an improved planet […]

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Josh Constine is a technology journalist who specializes in deep analysis of social products. He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements.

nn

Previously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.

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Constine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.

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Constine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.

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Josh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions.

nn

Constine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.

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[Disclosures: Josh Constine temporarily advised a college friend’s social location-sharing startup codenamed ‘Signal’ that was based in San Francisco before dissolving in 2015. This advising role was cleared with AOL and TechCrunch’s editors and has concluded. Constine’s fiancu00e9e Andee Gardiner co-founded startup accelerator Founders Embassy. Constine’s cousin Darren Lachtman is the founder of influencer advertising startup Niche that was acquired by Twitter, and he’s since left and founded teen content studio Brat. Constine does not write about Founders Embassy or Brat. Constine has personal acquaintances stemming from college housing circa 2007 with founders at Skybox Imaging (now Terra Bella), Hustle, Snapchat, and Robinhood, but does not maintain close social ties with them nor does that influence his writing. Constine occasionally does paid speaking engagements at conferences, but only those funded by companies he does not cover. Constine owns a small position in Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, does not day-trade, and discloses his positions directly in articles where appropriate. Constine does not do consulting, angel investing, or public stock trading beyond public stock invesments by his parents’ estate that he has no role in managing or advising.]

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1415412437/xje35licfau9iewxnf44.png”,”twitter”:”joshconstine”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/1603003″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}}],”author”:[{“id”:1603003,”name”:”Josh Constine”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/josh-constine/”,”slug”:”josh-constine”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“homepage”:”http://www.JoshConstine.com”,”facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/JoshConstine”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/joshconstine”,”linkedin”:”https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshconstine/”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/josh-constine”},”position”:”Editor-At-Large”,”cbDescription”:”

Josh Constine is a technology journalist who specializes in deep analysis of social products. He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements.

nn

Previously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.

nn

Constine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.

nn

Constine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.

nn

Josh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions.

nn

Constine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.

nn

[Disclosures: Josh Constine temporarily advised a college friend’s social location-sharing startup codenamed ‘Signal’ that was based in San Francisco before dissolving in 2015. This advising role was cleared with AOL and TechCrunch’s editors and has concluded. Constine’s fiancu00e9e Andee Gardiner co-founded startup accelerator Founders Embassy. Constine’s cousin Darren Lachtman is the founder of influencer advertising startup Niche that was acquired by Twitter, and he’s since left and founded teen content studio Brat. Constine does not write about Founders Embassy or Brat. Constine has personal acquaintances stemming from college housing circa 2007 with founders at Skybox Imaging (now Terra Bella), Hustle, Snapchat, and Robinhood, but does not maintain close social ties with them nor does that influence his writing. Constine occasionally does paid speaking engagements at conferences, but only those funded by companies he does not cover. Constine owns a small position in Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, does not day-trade, and discloses his positions directly in articles where appropriate. Constine does not do consulting, angel investing, or public stock trading beyond public stock invesments by his parents’ estate that he has no role in managing or advising.]

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BERLIN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 25: (Editor’s note: This photo was processed using digital filters) Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the presentation of the first Axel Springer Award on February 25, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

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Source: Zuckerberg ditches annual challenges, but needs cynics to fix 2030 – TechCrunch

By Josh Constine

Techylawyer and its authors do not claim to have written this article, we acknowledge the works of the original author

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