Class-action suit alleges gender-discrimination at Microsoft

Large tech giants are often criticized for gender discrimination as the number of male employees overpowers female by nearly seventy percent. Several gender-based discrimination lawsuits have been filed this year including cases at Twitter and Facebook, following Ellen Pao's highly publicized case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Recruiting Startup Hired Has A New CEO

mehul patel There’s been a bit of a leadership shuffle at Hired: President Mehul Patel has been promoted to CEO, while the previous CEO, founder Matt Mickiewicz, has become chief productive officer. Patel (who has also worked at Lyft, Oracle, CNET and Kaggle, and who joined Hired two years ago), told me this isn’t as big a deal as you might think. In fact, he said there was a longtime… Read More

Dave McClure Says “Bazillion Dollar Club” Is Not Just Another Contrived Reality Show

bazillion Dave McClure is back on your TV this fall in yet another reality show focused on startups in Silicon Valley. Enter the ‘Bazillion Dollar Club. Call it a sign of the times. In the last tech boom, people joked that when you saw someone build an incubator for incubators, things were upside down. Can you even name all the TV shows focused on the technology industry? The founder of 500… Read More

Servy Raises $800K To Let Restaurants Offer Discounts In Exchange For Feedback

ServySplashWithBackground Servy, an app that lets restaurants offer a partial discount in exchange for private feedback, has just closed $800K in seed funding. Investors include RiverPark Ventures, Beacon Fund, Food-X, DreamIt Ventures, and Nick Kenner, CEO and Founder of Just Salad. Most online restaurant reviews are either written because of a fantastic or awful experience. Either way, these reviews live online… Read More

Try To Land The SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Yourself

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 4.38.43 PM Elon Musk’s SpaceX is trying to launch a spacecraft and have the rockets return safely back to Earth…specifically on a floating barge. As it turns out, it’s not that easy. And it costs a lot of money. There’s now a web game that lets you give it a try yourself. In case you forgot, here’s what happened in real life: Think it’s easy? Try the game.… Read More

Penumbra, Inc. Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering

businesswire-4

ALAMEDA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 17, 2015–

Penumbra, Inc., today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 4,000,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $30.00 per share. The offering is scheduled to close on September 23, 2015, subject to customary closing conditions. The underwriters for the offering will also have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 600,000 shares of Penumbra’s common stock at the price to the public, less the underwriting discounts and commissions.

Penumbra’s common stock is expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on September 18, 2015, under the symbol “PEN”. J.P. Morgan and BofA Merrill Lynch are acting as joint lead book-running managers for the offering. Wells Fargo Securities and Canaccord Genuity are acting as co-managers for the offering. Perella Weinberg Partners is acting as independent capital markets advisor to Penumbra for the offering.

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and was declared effective on September 17, 2015. The offering is being made only by means of a prospectus, copies of which may be obtained from J.P. Morgan Securities LLC c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Ave, Edgewood, NY 11717, (tel: +1 866 803 9204); or BofA Merrill Lynch, 222 Broadway, New York, NY 10038, Attn: Prospectus Department, or email at [email protected].

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification of these securities under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

About Penumbra

Penumbra, Inc., headquartered in Alameda, California is a global interventional therapies company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical devices. The company has a broad portfolio of products that address challenging medical conditions and significant clinical needs across two major markets, neuro and peripheral vascular. Penumbra has approximately 1,000 employees and sells its products to hospitals primarily through its direct sales organization in the U.S., most of Europe, Canada and Australia, and through distributors in select international markets. Penumbra and the Penumbra logo are trademarks of Penumbra, Inc.

Penumbra, Inc.
Sara Thompson, 510-748-3200
Head of Investor Relations
[email protected]


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Facebook’s Not-Quite-A-Dislike Button Could Just Be Emoji

Facebook Emoji How do you convey empathy concisely and unambiguously across languages?  The Dislike button has been the most requested feature from Facebook’s users for years. Finally, this week CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the company is building a way for people “to express that they understand and that they relate to you” when you share something sad, such as news of a natural disaster… Read More

Twitter links move to HTTPS on October 1, non-HTTPS sites may see 10% drop in referral traffic

An illustration picture shows the search tab for Twitter on a computer screen in Frankfurt.

Twitter links are going to be more secure starting on October 1. In a scheduled change, all new t.co type links will use the https URL scheme. However, in doing so, links will now be increased by “a single character”.

In a post on a Twitter forum, developer advocate Niall Kennedy advises that third-party apps that have character calculations for Tweets should have updated code within the next couple of weeks.

He also cautions that non-HTTPS sites could see a drop in referral traffic from Twitter as a result of this change. By the company’s estimates, traffic attribution from Twitter could decrease by 10 percent, but decrease over time “as users update their browsers to the latest versions supporting referrer policy.”

Although the move to a more secure system is good, users will have to be a bit more clever with their Tweets, especially if they have a link. After all, it’s always that one extra character that makes a difference between a good Tweet and a frustrated one.

This isn’t the first time that Twitter has made changes to its t.co wrapper. In 2012, the company extended the maximum length of links from 20 to 22 characters for non-HTTPS URLs and from 21 to 23 characters for HTTPS URLs. The difference this time around is that all the links will be moved to HTTPS URLs, thereby all links will be 23 characters.

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The writing is on the wall for the ad-supported Web: It’s the end of the line

It's the end of the line.

With the release of iOS 9 this week, the discussion over ad blocking has reached a peak.

That’s because the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS includes tools for developers to create ad-blocking software, affording mobile users the same freedom from advertising that desktop browser add-ons like AdBlock Plus and Ghostery have provided for years.

In the U.S., 16 percent of Internet users employ ad-blocking tools, according to a recent study by PageFair and Adobe. (Note: PageFair provides tools for publishers and advertisers to get around ad blockers.) The percentage is even higher in Europe, with the highest rate of ad blocking in Poland, where 39 percent of the population blocks ads.


From VentureBeat
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Expect that number to rise even higher in the coming year, as iOS tools like Crystal give people the ability to remove mobile web clutter, promising that this will increase page load times by 4x, cut data usage in half, and increase battery life.

The discussion around ad blocking has been going on for weeks. Instapaper creator Marco Arment wrote a self-reflective piece on the ethics of ad blocking in mid-August. Investor and former Apple executive Jean Louis-Gassée provided a very smart analysis titled “Life after content blocking” later that month. Over on the Awl last week, Casey Johnston wrote a long essay called, cleverly, “Welcome to the block party.” And today, Verge editor Nilay Patel got in on the action, welcoming us to the hell of an advertising-free web. They’re all good pieces, and I recommend anyone interested in the issue to read all four of these.

The story, in a nutshell, is that readers are finally getting fed up. Fed up with incessant banner ads, obnoxious pop-ups, and videos that automatically start playing when you load a page. Fed up with fullscreen takeovers that force you to find, and click, a tiny “x” before you can read the article you actually came for. Fed up with cookies and widgets that track their every move online, allowing advertisers to target them with increasing precision. Did you look at an underwear website a few weeks ago? You’re going to be seeing ads for underwear every time you visit Facebook — or any of dozens of other sites — thanks to retargeting software that lets the underwear maker target ads to you based on the fact that you expressed a fleeting interest in their product.

Advertisers are throwing all this crap on the web for two simple reasons: It works, and publishers are out of alternatives.

Advertisers use retargeting and data-collecting ads because they provably increase the efficiency and accuracy of their ad spend. Those ads really do get people to buy more underwear, and if the price for that increased revenue is putting photos of tightie whities into a bunch of people’s browsers, so be it. Banner ads don’t really work, but there’s a tiny, tiny percentage of people who click on them, and some small fraction of those people will go on to buy something, so it becomes a numbers game: Throw up enough banner ads, and you’ll generate a return on your investment.

Publishers allow these ads because they need the revenue from advertisers. For a decade and a half, the predominant business model for online publishers — not to mention gigantic platforms like Google and Facebook — has been advertising. The problem is that, thanks to the law of supply and demand, the value of advertising has been steadily decreasing over the past 15 years. Advertising is sold based on impressions, or the number of times that people have seen it (or are assumed to have seen it). As web use goes up, people see more web pages, and that means publishers are delivering more impressions. As the number of impressions approaches infinity, the value of those impressions approaches zero.

For publishers, that means that ad revenues have been steadily decreasing for years. The most obvious response is to try to increase the number of impressions to offset their declining value. There are two ways to do that: Increase traffic, and put more (and more intrusive) ads on each page. The first strategy leads to BuzzFeed-like clickbait and desperate reblogging of the stories deemed to have the most traffic potential. The second leads to ad-choked pages and increasingly in-your-face advertising.

A third approach is to try selling native advertising: Ads disguised as content, so ad-blockers can’t block it and readers are confused about whether they’re reading independent content or an ad. Lots of publishers are embracing this model, and advertisers love it, for obvious reasons. Readers, however, find native ads obnoxious, because their implicit value lies in deception.

These three responses, of course, have resulted in the ad-choked, click-bait, sponsored-content Web we have today.

There are two other strategies available to publishers, but they haven’t worked in most cases. One is to try to stay above the fray, offering premium content in search of higher-value advertising aimed at a more premium audience. That works, but only if the publisher has a truly premium audience (like Techmeme) or enough scale to build out a network of sufficient size to get advertisers to take it seriously (like Vox Media).

The other is to find a non-advertising revenue source. VentureBeat, for instance, is building a research business, selling high-value reports to companies willing to pay for valuable information. That’s a good bet if, like VentureBeat, you have a deep pool of in-house expertise and a relevant audience. It didn’t work for GigaOm, which went out of business last year, but VentureBeat is running its operation differently enough that I think it’s got a good chance.

Other publications have experimented with paywalls, to varying degrees of success; events (VB does these too); micropayments; and tip jars or fundraisers, where readers can chip in a few cents or a few dollars to help support publications they value. There are very, very few examples of these working at any kind of scale.

The thing is, there’s not even really a debate about ad blocking. It’s coming, whether advertisers and publishers like it or not. The economic forces governing Web advertising have led us to a point where ads are out of control, and readers have no choice but to take measures to protect themselves and their bandwidth.

For publishers that are dependent on ads, that means a very grim future indeed.

The question is, can they evolve new business models in time?

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