Ten years ago today, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger released Instagram into the world. Less than a year and a half later, Facebook acquired it, in what is widely regarded as one of the shrewdest acquisitions in the history of the tech industry. It is now one of the most popular apps in the world and has thrived during the pandemic. But regulators and competitors continue to nip at its heels — TikTok has reportedly now surpassed it as the second-most popular app for teens, after Snapchat — and there’s no telling what it might look like another decade from now.
That’s one reason why the company is investing heavily in messaging features at the moment, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri told me last week: they make the app sticky. The company...
In their first post-Facebook project, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger built rt.live, which state officials can use to plan their reopening.
As I've prepared in the past, Millennials will also be very different from the technology that preceded them, and just like the Child Boomers, they are creating unbelievable affect on earth and culture as a whole.Being the very first generation to be mentioned fully Jimmy Baratta engineering, they're the era that is shepherding the primary side of the information era by inventing it or applying and embracing it in methods past ages simply do not.And, by 2025, just eleven decades from today, they will be 75% of the sum total workforce.Tag Zuckerberg and Facebook, Lena Dunham and leisure, David Karp and Tumblr, Kevin Systrom and Instagram, Alexandra Wang and the style earth at Balenciaga, Sandra Fluke and Mala Yousafzai and their respective functions in activism, Pete Cashmore and Mashable, and the number moves on... these are all internationally powerful Millennials, but when you privately or use Millennials, you realize they are creative, progressive, distrustful of the position quo and caring of the broader social good.Thus, the primary organization colleges in the united states, such as for instance Yale, Stanford, Wharton and Columbia all have social enterprise programs.And, with this, major companies have become aware of these traits and will work to completely align their organization models with strong cultural responsibility.Thus, there is a substantial paradigm shift occurring, and with that, George and I have been conversing about concentrating on maybe not the estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the United Claims, which are selected as non-profits simply being an IRS duty designation.But rather, we would like to start to really have a broader community discussion - on an international degree - about philanthropic and charitable companies - based on the explanations more deeply articulated in his guide, which George estimates to be a huge number of the around 1.5 million non-profits in the United States.In their own phrases if you ask me, "We calculate that there are just about 200-300,000 effective charities in the U.S. (based on the Massachusetts ratio of just one:10)-not 1-2 million as dreamed from puzzling "philanthropy" with "nonprofits."Independent knowledge supports people: The greatest charities dataset is Fidelity's-180,000 charities, funded because 1991 by their 100,000 donors.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
TikTok’s interim CEO, Vanessa Pappas, is asking Facebook and Instagram to “publicly join our challenge and support our litigation,” as TikTok faces a new executive order from the Trump administration that will block people from downloading the app beginning September 20th.
The new order was issued by the Department of Commerce on Friday morning, and it essentially states that people aren’t allowed to download TikTok or WeChat beginning on the 20th. TikTok will continue to work in the United States for people who already have the app installed, but future downloads are prohibited.
Pappas’ call to action came in the form of a reply to a tweet by Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, who said that a “US TikTok ban would be quite bad for...
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
This week was the deadline for ByteDance to divorce itself of TikTok over security concerns, but at press time no deal has been struck. Instead, we have the strangest of corporate entities now taking shape. And, thanks to journalists at the New York Times, we have perhaps the most delicious morsel of reporting to ever emerge from TikTok deal talks.
Let’s take a look at the latest.
The first thing to say is that we may see action from President Trump within days — and that, if he approves the deal, we could soon see a TikTok IPO. Here are Alex Sherman and Lauren Feiner at CNBC:
President Donald Trump is expect to decide on TikTok’s fate in the U.S. in the next 24-36 hours, sources told CNBC’s David Faber.
To address ownership concerns,...
Instagram grew out of his love of photography, and has since become one of the most popular social apps in the world.
TikTok's CEO position has been vacant since late August, when Kevin Mayer resigned from his position after three months on the job.
Plus: Kevin Systrom’s app inspiration, the characteristics of successful CEOs, and Colorado’s disconcerting forecast.
When Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012, it only had 13 employees — including founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.
"I don't use a lot of Facebook products — any, actually," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said on a recent podcast.
Alexandr Wang is living the classic Silicon Valley success story.
At just 23 he's the CEO of Scale AI, a four-year-old company valued at $1 billion that he founded at age 19, dropping out of MIT to do so.
His company is building tools for AI developers trying to do for AI tech what cloud computing did for software development, building the infrastructure that makes it easier.
And it's attracted a Silicon Valley who's who of angel and venture investors.
But Wang didn't even have the idea for this company when he got in to the Spring 2016 YCombinator cohort, he told Business Insider, and he didn't really know what he was going to build.
Wang explained how he came up with the idea by the time YCombinator ended and how he convinced Silicon Valley's big players to financially back him, raising his first $4.5 million in months.
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Alexandr Wang is living the classic Silicon Valley success story. At just 23 he's the CEO of a Scale AI, a four-year-old company he founded at age 19, dropping out of MIT to do so.
It hit unicorn status a year ago, when it had only been in business for three years. In those first three years, his company raised $123 million and reached a $1 billion valuation from a list of Silicon Valley's who's who. Angel investors include GitHub CEO Nat Friedman; OpenAI cofounder Greg Brockman; Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Justin Kan; Quora cofounder and CEO Adam D'Angelo, Dropbox cofounder and CEO Drew Houston. His VCs backers include Peter Thiel at Founder's Fund, Mike Volpi at Index Ventures, Dan Levine at Accel, and the list goes on.
Today, a year after raising $100 million at the billion-dollar valuation, he now employs about 180 people, he tells Business Insider and counts companies like Airbnb, SAP, Pinterest, Samsung, Doordash, Lyft and Toyota as customers, among others.
But the most interesting thing about Wang's fast success is that he never originally planned to build this product, or this company. All he knew as a precocious teen coder was that he wanted to build something.
"I was 19 when I started Scale and it was a lot of learning by doing," Wang told Business Insider.
In those early days, he had imagined that big tech companies became that way because they had "some kind of master plan" but as he met successful founders he learned that it never happens like that.
"You have a good idea and then you work on it and then you refine it over time," he said.
At that tender age, and through a careful process, he uncovered a profound engineering problem: artificial intelligence is only as smart as its training and it often needs a human to help verify that it is being trained correctly.
So he built a platform that trains algorithms using the data collected by customers, with training accuracy verified by humans.
For instance, if the customer is building an algorithm to help a self-driving car identify all cars, pedestrians and cyclists on the road with it, Scale AI will take the hours of images and videos collected by the cars from their test drives and verify if they correctly identified those items. Last month, he launched a new service that helps developers debug problems if their algorithm isn't performing as expected.
Finding the breakthrough idea
But Wang didn't have the idea for Scale when he got into the spring 2016 YCombinator cohort, the highly competitive startup incubator and seed investor founded by Paul Graham.
"Even at that point I had a jillion other ideas, like, maybe we should help people get doctors," he laughs.
One of the YC advisors told him to find a "hair on fire" kind of situation, meaning a problem that lots of people are struggling with and would pay to make go away. He also read Paul Graham's famous 2012 essay on how to get startup ideas that advised him to "Live in the future, then build what's missing."
He saw a future filled with AI. When AI worked, to the user, it seemed "magical" he said. But when he was at MIT studying it and he had tried a few just-for-fun projects, like putting a camera in his fridge that could tell him when to buy groceries, building such projects turned out to be really hard to do. There was no easy way to train the algorithm to tell it to do this and not do that.
So instead of building a specific AI product that he imagined people will be using in the future, he knew that someone was going to have to build the infrastructure for making AI products easier to build.
And the idea for Scale was born.
Teen wiz and angels
His next step was "to hustle" as he described it, and find people to angel invest. Wang had a leg up, thanks to his years as a teenage coding star.
Born in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in the shadow of the Los Alamos National lab, where "everybody's parent is some sort of scientist," (including his own) he started winning high school math and coding contests. That's how he caught the attention of tech recruiters. He moved to the Valley straight from high school for an internship at Addepar and then landed a full-time job at Quora. Quora cofounder CEO Adam D'Angelo would later become one of his angel investors.
Scale AI's angels came from a combination of random connections and straight out asking. For instance Accel's Levine introduced Wang to Nat Friedman, CEO of Microsoft's GitHub and a famous Valley programmer.
Wang landed OpenAI's Brockman because he had met him years earlier by introducing himself after a talk he gave and regularly emailed him ever since. "When I started the company, I was just like, 'Hey, do you want to invest?'" And he did.
In 10 months, Wang and his early team raised $4.5 million and built an early product, focusing first on machine vision, which led them into nabbing self-driving cars and drones as their first customers.
And that brought VC Mike Volpi at Index Ventures to them. He had been looking for autonomous companies to back and several of them mentioned using Scale. Volpi led a Series B funding round, joined by Accel, Dropbox's Houston and Instagram founder Kan. And a year later, the big $100 million, billion-dollar valuation deal came together led by Thiel's Founder Fund, with lots more investors and angels in the mix.
Wang became known in the Valley as "the next Zuckerberg."
But from Wang's point of view this rocketship was built by trial and error.
"It's funny, but back then when we would pitch people, we weren't that good at pitching," he says. Most investors "just didn't quite get it" and turned him down until he found the few who had experienced the problem directly.
So the best advice he has for anyone is to focus on building a product and showing it to the people whose lives it will improve. "You have to set a goal for yourself, like: 'In two weeks, I'm going to have five users for this.' And then everything you do is to get that goal," he says, adding."Focus on building the business and then the rest will kind of take care of itself."
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Federal Trade Commission this week as part of the regulator’s ongoing antitrust investigation into the company, according to a new report from Politico Thursday.
The FTC has been investigating Facebook for potential violations of US antitrust law for at least a year. Facebook announced in July 2019 that the agency had launched a probe into the company as part of its quarterly earnings disclosures. According to Politico, that investigation is still ongoing, and Zuckerberg testified under oath over the course of two days this week as part of the probe.
“We are committed to cooperating with the US Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry”
“We are committed to cooperating with the US Federal...
So much for trying to stop social media addictions.
Instagram is expanding its feed today with the launch of “suggested posts.” These posts, from accounts you don’t follow, will show up after you’ve reached the end of your feed and give you the option to keep scrolling with Instagram’s suggestions. Up until now, the feed has been entirely determined by users’ preferences and the people they follow.
For the past couple of years, Instagram has shown users a message when they reach the end of their feeds, meaning they’ve seen every post over the past two days from people they follow. With suggested posts, they’ll have the option to keep scrolling past that marker for more content. (That message will still be there along with the option to revisit old posts.)
The suggested posts won’t be the...