Facing sexual assault charges, 3D-printed gun advocate Cody Wilson evades US authorities

The gun rights activist who waged a very public legal war over the right to freely distribute 3D-printed gun schematics over the internet is facing serious charges that have nothing to do with firearms.

According to a law enforcement press conference today, Cody Wilson, 30, is believed to have traveled to Taipei after learning that he was under investigation for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old. Wilson, who travels frequently, also missed his scheduled return flight.

According to an affidavit filed on Wednesday, Wilson is charged with the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in Travis County, Texas. The affidavit describes how Wilson, an Austin resident, began communicating with the alleged victim under the handle “Sanjuro” using the website “SugarDaddyMeet.com.”

The two continued talking via iMessage and Wilson allegedly identified himself to the victim and mentioned that he was a “big deal,” prompting her to find his name featured in recent news stories. In addition to his high-profile role in the debate over 3D-printed firearms, Wilson also attracted attention when he founded Hatreon, a crowdfunding site for fundraisers that violated the rules of sites like Patreon and Kickstarter.

The affidavit, published in full on Ars Technica, details how the two met in person on August 15 at a local coffee shop and Wilson then took the victim to a hotel in a vehicle registered to his company, Defense Distributed. The victim alleges that the sexual assault took place at Austin’s Archer hotel, after which Wilson paid her $500. Surveillance footage corroborates the victim’s story.

Austin’s police department is coordinating with international authorities to bring him back to the country to face the second-degree felony charges, which could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

via Click on the link for the full article

18 new details about Elon Musk’s redesigned, moon-bound ‘Big F*ing Rocket’

Although the spotlight at this week’s SpaceX event was squarely on Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa — the first paying passenger for the company’s nascent space tourism business — Elon Musk also revealed a wealth of new details about the BFR and just how this enormous rocket and spacecraft will get to the moon and back.

In a lengthy (one might even say rambling, in the true Musk style) presentation, we were treated to cinematic and technical views of the planned rocket, which is already under construction and could take flight as early as a couple years from now — and Musk then candidly held forth on numerous topics in a lengthy Q&A period. As a result we learned quite a bit about this newly redesigned craft-in-progress.

Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Hope you like pictures of spaceships!

(Note: Quotes are transcribed directly from the video but may have been very slightly edited for clarity, such as the removal of “you know” and “like.”)

BFR is “ridiculously big”

Well, that’s not really news — it’s right there in the name. But now we know exactly how ridiculously big.

“The production design of BFR is different in some important ways from what I presented about a year ago,” Musk said, including its dimensions. The redesigned spacecraft (or BFS) will be 118 meters in length, or about 387 feet; just under half of that, 55 meters, will be the spacecraft itself. Inside you have about 1,100 cubic meters of payload space. That’s all around 15-20 percent larger than how it was last described. Its max payload is 100 metric tons to low Earth orbit.

“I mean, this is a ridiculously big rocket,” he added. The illustration on the wall, he pointed out, is life-size. As you can see it dwarfs the crowd and the other rockets.

What will fit in there? It depends on the mission, as you’ll see later.

No one knows what to call the fin-wing-things

Although Musk was clear on how the spacecraft worked, he was still a little foggy on nomenclature — not because he forgot, but because the parts don’t really correspond exactly with anything in flight right now. “There are two forward and two rear actuated wings, or fins,” he said. They don’t really fit the definition of either, he suggested — especially since they also act as legs.

The top fin “really is just a leg”

The fin on top of the craft gives it a very Space Shuttle-esque look, and it was natural that most would think that it’s a vertical stabilizer of some kind. But Musk shut that down quickly: “It doesn’t have any aerodynamic purpose — it really is just a leg.” He pointed out that during any atmospheric operations, the fin will be in the lee of the craft and won’t have any real effect.

“It looks the same as the other ones for purposes of symmetry,” he explained.

“If in doubt, go with Tintin”

It was pointed out when the new design was teased last week that it bore some resemblance to the ship Tintin (and Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus, et al.) pilot to the moon in the classic comics. Turns out this isn’t a coincidence.

“The iteration before this decoupled the landing legs from the control surfaces — it basically had 6 legs. I actually didn’t like the aesthetics of that design,” Musk said. “I love the Tintin rocket design, so I kind of wanted to bias it toward that. So now we have the three large legs, with two of them actuating as body flaps or large moving wings.”

“I think this design is probably on par with the other one. It might be better. Yeah, if in doubt, go with Tintin,” he said.

BFR is “more like a skydiver than an aircraft”

An interplanetary spacecraft doesn’t have the same design restrictions as a passenger jet, so it may fly completely differently.

“You want four control surfaces to be able to control the vehicle through a wide range of atmospheric densities and velocities,” Musk explained, referring to the four fin-wing-flaps. “The way it behaves is a bit more like a skydiver than an aircraft. If you apply normal intuition it will not make sense.”

Actually if you imagine the plane as a person falling to earth, and that person controlling their orientation by moving their arms and legs — their built-in flaps — it does seem rather intuitive.

Reentry will “look really epic”

“Almost the entire time it is reentering, it’s just trying to brake, while distributing that force over the most area possible — it uses the entire body to brake,” Musk said. This is another point of similarity with the Space Shuttle, which used its heat-resistance bottom surface as a huge air brake.

“This will look really epic in person,” he enthused.

Of course, that only applies when there’s an atmosphere. “Obviously if you’re landing on the moon you don’t need any aerodynamic surfaces at all, because there’s no air.”

The seven-engine configuration leaves a huge safety margin

Astute observers like yours truly noticed that the number and arrangement of the craft’s Raptor engines had changed in the picture tweeted last week. Musk complimented the questioner (and by extension, me) for noting this and explained.

“In order to minimize the development risk and costs, we decided to harmonize the engine between the booster and the ship,” he said. In other words, it made more sense and cost less to put a similar type of Raptor engine on both the craft itself and the rocket that would take it to space. Previously the ship had been planned to have four large Raptor engines and two smaller sea-level engines for landing purposes. The trade-off, obviously, is that it will be a bit more costly to build the ship, but the benefits are manifold.

“Having the engines in that configuration, with seven engines, means it’s definitely capable of engine out at any time, including two engine out in almost all circumstances,” he said, referring to the possibility of an engine cutting out during flight. “In fact in some cases you could lose up to four engines and still be fine. It only needs three engines for landing.”

The booster, of course, will have considerably more thrusters — 31 to start, and as many as 42 down the road. (The number was not chosen arbitrarily, as you might guess.)

It has a deployable solar array

In the video explaining the mission, the BFS deploys a set of what appear to be solar panels from near the engines. How exactly this would work wasn’t explained at all — and in the images you can see there really isn’t a place for them to retract into. So this is likely only in the concept phase right now.

This isn’t exactly a surprise — solar is by far the most practical way to replenish small to medium amounts of electricity used for things like lights and life support, as demonstrated by most spacecraft and of course the International Space Station.

But until now we haven’t seen how those solar panels would be deployed. The fan structure at the rear would keep the panels out of view of passengers and pilots, and the single-stem design would allow them to be tilted and rotated to capture the maximum amount of sunlight.

The interior will depend on the mission

Although everyone is no doubt eager to see what the inside of the spaceship looks like, Musk cautioned that they are still at a concept stage there. He did say that they have learned a lot from the Crew Dragon capsule, however, and that will be plenty of shared parts and designs.

“Depending on the type of mission, you’d have a different configuration,” he explained. “If you were going to Mars that’s at least a three-month journey. You want to have a cabin, like a common area for recreation, some sort of meeting rooms… because you’ll be in this thing for months.”

Water and air in a months-long journey would have to be a closed-loop system, he noted, though he didn’t give any indication how that would work.

But it will include “the most fun you can possibly have in zero G”

“Now if you’re going, say, to the moon or around the moon, you have a several-day journey,” Musk continued. But then he mused on what the spare space would be used for. “What is the most fun you can have in zero G? That for sure is a key thing. Fun is underrated. Whatever is the most enjoyable thing you could possibly do — we’ll do that.”

Assuming the passengers have gotten over their space sickness, of course.

BFR will cost “roughly $5 billion” to develop

Musk was reticent to put any hard numbers out, given how early SpaceX is in development, but said: “If I were to guess it would be something like 5 billion dollars, which would be really quite a small amount for a project of this nature.”

He’s not wrong. Just for a sense of scale, the Space Shuttle program would probably have cost nearly $200 billion in today’s dollars. The F-35 program will end up costing something like $400 billion. These things aren’t directly comparable, of course, but they do give you a sense of how much money is involved in this type of thing.

Funding is still a semi-open question

Where exactly that money will come from isn’t totally clear, but Musk did point out that SpaceX does have reliable business coming from its International Space Station resupply missions and commercial launches. And next year, he pointed out, crewed launches could bring another source of income to the mix.

That’s in addition to Starlink, the satellite internet service in the offing. That’s still in tests, of course (and Tintin-related, as well).

Yusaku Maezawa’s ticket price is a “non-trivial” contribution

Although both men declined to elaborate on the actual price Maezawa paid, Musk did indicate it was considerable — and of course, he’s also essentially paying for the artists he plans to bring with him.

“He’s made a significant deposit on the price, which is a significant price and will actually have a material effect on paying for the cost of developing the BFR,” Musk said. “It’s a non-trivial amount.”

But it’s already under construction

“We’re already building it. We’ve built the first cylinder section,” Musk said, showing an image of that part, 9 meters in diameter. “We’ll build the domes and the engine section soon.”

Test flights could begin as early as next year

“We’ll start doing hopper flights next year,” Musk said. “Depending on how those go we’ll do high-altitude, high-velocity flights in 2020, then start doing tests of the booster. If things go well we could be doing the first orbital flights in about two to three years.”

This is the most optimistic scenario, he later clarified.

“We’re definitely not sure. But you have to set a date that’s kind of like the ‘things go right’ date.”

The circumlunar flight could “skim the surface” of the moon

The flight plan for the trip around the moon is relatively straightforward, as lunar missions go. Launch, orbit Earth, thrust to zoom off towards the moon, use moon’s gravity to boomerang back, and then land. But the exact path is to be determined, and Musk has ideas.

“I think it would be pretty exciting to like skim the surface,” he said, attempting to illustrate the orbit with gestures. “Go real close, then zoom out far, then come back around. In the diagram it looks kinda symmetric but I think you’d want to go real close.”

As the moon has no atmosphere, there’s no question of the craft getting slowed down or having its path altered by getting closer to it. The orbital dynamics would change, of course, but the moon’s trajectory is nothing if not well understood, so it’s just a question of how safe the mission planners want to play it, regardless of Musk’s fantasies.

“This is pretty off the cuff,” he admitted.

“This is a dangerous mission”

There will be plenty of tests before Maezawa and his artist friends take off.

“We’ll do many such test flights before putting any people on board. I’m not sure if we will actually test a flight around the moon or not, but probably we will try to do that without people before sending people.”

“That would be wise,” he concluded, seeming to make a decision then and there. But spaceflight is inherently risky, and he did not attempt to hide that fact.

“This is a dangerous mission,” he said. “We’ll leave a lot of extra room for extra food and oxygen, food and water, spare parts… you know, just in case.”

Maezawa, who was sitting next to him on stage, did not seem perturbed by this — he was certain to have assessed the risks before buying the ticket. In answer to a related question, he did indicate that astronaut-style training was in the plans, but the regimen was not yet planned.

It probably won’t even be called the BFR

There’s no getting around the fact that BFR stands for “Big Fucking Rocket,” or at least that’s what Musk and others have implied while coyly avoiding confirming. This juvenile naming scheme is in line with Tesla’s. Perhaps cognizant of posterity and the dignity of mankind’s expansion into space, Musk suggested this might not be permanent.

“We should probably think of a different name,” he admitted. This was kind of a code name and it kind of stuck.”

Again, if it officially just stood for “Big Falcon Rocket,” this probably wouldn’t be an issue. But regardless, Musk’s trademark geeky sense of humor remained.

“The only thing is, we’d like to name the first ship that goes to Mars after — Douglas Adams, my favorite spaceship — the Heart of Gold, from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

As far off as the moon mission is, the Mars mission is even further, and Musk changes his mind on nearly everything — but this is one thing I can sense he’s committed to.

via Click on the link for the full article

Lyft now integrates public transit info in app

Lyft has officially entered the public transit space with the launch of Nearby Transit, a feature currently available just in Santa Monica, Calif. This comes just a couple of days after Lyft deployed electric scooters in the city.

Today, Lyft customers in Santa Monica will see the Nearby Transit option, which includes route information and schedules for the Big Blue Bus, LA Metro and Metrolink. The feature is in partnership with Trafi, a transit information platform.

“Building on the launch of Lyft Scooters in Santa Monica this week, it’s another step toward providing effective, equitable, and sustainable transportation to our communities, and towards creating a more seamless and connected transportation network,” the company posted on its blog.

Lyft has also brought on Lilly Shoup, formerly of Nelson/Nygaard Consulting, to serve as senior director of transportation policy. In that role, Shoup will oversee Lyft’s multi-modal transportation efforts as they pertain to equity, land use, autonomous vehicles and more.

Uber announced its public transit ambitions back in April, but has yet to integrate those offerings into the app. Whenever Uber integrates public transit, the company will take it a step further than Lyft buy enabling people to purchase tickets, not just check routes.

via Click on the link for the full article

Entrepreneurs: It’s time to put corporate VCs back on your short list

The startup media is awash with stories of corporate venture capital prioritizing their own interests over those of their portfolio. While acknowledging that some of these stories may have a basis in truth, it’s critical to recognize there is much more to the story.

It’s time the whole story is told.

The truth is that not all corporate venture capital firms are the same. And in fact, some have a strategic advantage because they have access to proprietary insights from dozens of markets and technologies that are simply unavailable to other venture capital firms. Further, corporate venture capital firms can create synergies between portfolio companies and their parent companies to help accelerate business, an opportunity unavailable to most venture capital firms.

Choosing between strategically focused and financially focused corporate venture capital

There are two types of corporate venture capital, and it’s essential to understand the difference between them. The first type, strategically focused corporate venture capital, provides significant benefits to all parties if done well. These firms can help accelerate portfolio companies with revenue, market/customer insights and technology/roadmap development.

The second type is financially focused corporate venture capital. These firms are run like typical venture firms and are primarily driven to maximize financial returns, and the firm’s partners are rewarded for making profitable investments. These firms make investment decisions just like every other non-corporate venture firm, based on team, market, competition, product, traction, capital efficiency, exit potential, etc.

Once an investment is made, financially focused corporate venture capital firms often take board seats and work to add value in all the same ways other venture firms do, with strategy, product, go-to-market, hiring, financials, etc. Because the financially focused corporate venture partners are financially aligned with their portfolio companies, they are just as motivated as any other venture firm.

Not all corporate venture capital firms are the same.

Now, the upshot. In many cases, a financially focused corporate venture capital firm can be a better partner for some companies. Not only does the firm provide all the typical value-add of a typical venture firm — smart partners, large networks, etc. — they also provide something that other firms can’t provide: proprietary insights.

Financially focused corporate venture firms have a close working relationship with their corporate parent, which allows them access to technology, industry operators and visionaries, giving them proprietary insights to which normal venture firms simply don’t have access. These proprietary insights give financially focused corporate venture capital partners the ability to see the market and technology landscape in a different, more informed, way.

The bottom line is that financially focused corporate venture capital firms have all the benefits of a typical venture firm plus exclusive proprietary insights — without the potential downside of strategically driven corporate venture capital firms.

The truth about corporate venture capital and competition with the parent company

One obvious objection to corporate venture capital is that these firms are unlikely to invest in companies that compete with its parent or may put it out of business. These cases are so rare that it is barely worth mentioning, but I will explore them here. Comcast and NBCUniversal are large companies doing business across a wide variety of sectors. It is unlikely that any one startup would put them out of business. In my 10 years in venture, I haven’t found one yet.

But what about startups that are competitive with Comcast or NBCUniversal? I have seen thousands of startups over the years and have only come across a handful that are competitive with Comcast or NBCUniversal. In those cases, even though I would not have ever communicated confidential information to my parent, I quickly passed so as not to give even the smallest impression of impropriety. In some cases, the competitive startup and our parent see a benefit to making the investment and learning from and partnering with each other, but this is done transparently.

By the way, most venture capital firms restrict themselves from investing in companies that are competitive with their portfolio. However, there are some venture capital firms that take a more “survival of the fittest” approach and encourage making many investments in a hot space without concern for competition.

Corporate venture capital at work in the real world

To illustrate the advantages of working with a financially focused corporate venture capital firm, let’s look at a real example — my investment in blockchain. Comcast is looking at using blockchain technology to allow users to create a unique digital identity and associate it with IoT devices in the home to control access to those devices. Given my affiliation and close working relationship with Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal, I was afforded a front-row seat to the potential advantages and disadvantages of leveraging cutting-edge blockchain technology to solve real-world problems.

No other venture capital firm has this level of access to early use cases. Here’s what that looked like: I met with the team developing this technology before it was made public. I spoke with the engineers to understand how they were using blockchain, why they chose it and how it helped their efforts. I saw a demo and got to play with it. This hands-on experience was invaluable to blockchain executives — and it was only afforded to “members of the Comcast family.” Further, the insight also helped inform my investment thesis around blockchain, so I could better serve their business interests.

It comes down to real-world problems, being solved by real-world practitioners.

There are many applications of blockchain technology. Another group within Comcast is looking at how blockchain could be used in advertising. Beyond that, Comcast and NBCUniversal are looking at blockchain technology and how it relates to identity, rewards and loyalty, security and IoT, to name a few.

It comes down to real-world problems, being solved by real-world practitioners, who are experimenting with blockchain. These proprietary insights have been helping drive our investment strategy in blockchain technologies and token-based economies. We have already made a number of investments in the space and continue to believe there are investment opportunities at the protocol, platform, infrastructure and application levels.

Outside of blockchain, there are a number of examples within Comcast Ventures that also show advantages of leveraging resources at a corporate venture capital firm: EdgeConneX successfully pivoted its business model with the help of Comcast; Brightside was incubated and spun out, securing Comcast as its first customer; Zola developed partnership opportunities with NBCU; Comcast became one of DocuSign’s largest customers; and Icontrol was acquired by Comcast.

Setting the record straight

Financially focused corporate venture firms have super-talented partners in the firm who can help entrepreneurs build great companies. Just like other venture capital firms, we are financially incented to find the next billion-dollar company, and we invest in your strategy, not ours.

But unlike other venture capital firms, we have exclusive proprietary insights into dozens of markets and technologies. And, we also can create synergies between portfolio companies and Comcast and NBCUniversal to help accelerate growth if there is mutual interest and benefit. Finally, we are measured on financial returns, so we win only if you win!

Disclaimer: Gil Beyda is a partner at Comcast Ventures, a financially focused corporate venture capital firm which is the venture arm of Comcast and NBCUniversal.

via Click on the link for the full article

Coinbase hires Fannie Mae exec Brian Brooks as chief legal officer

Coinbase has made yet another addition to its C-suite. The cryptocurrency trading platform has hired Brian Brooks, the former executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Fannie Mae, as its chief legal officer.

The hiring is part of the company’s effort to expand its legal, compliance and government affairs teams. Mike Lempres, who until now held the chief legal and risk officer title, will transition into the role of chief policy officer.

“From the time it was founded seven years ago, Coinbase has been a leading advocate for the adoption of cryptocurrency,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a statement. “We’ve engaged proactively with regulators as we built products and services that allow people to buy, sell and use cryptocurrency all over the world. In recent years, the industry expanded faster than we could have imagined with an explosion in customer demand and entrepreneurial activity pushing the capabilities of the ecosystem forward. As this trend continues, it is more important than ever that we contribute to a public policy and regulatory environment that fosters innovation while protecting investors.”

Brooks joined Fannie Mae in 2014; before that, he was the vice chairman of OneWest Bank and a managing partner at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers.

The news comes one day after Coinbase announced the hiring of Michael Li as VP of data. Li had spent the last seven years at LinkedIn, most recently as its head of analytics and data science.

Here’s an updated round-up of Coinbase’s other notable 2018 hires:

  • Michael Li, VP of data (September). Li was previously the head of analytics and data science at LinkedIn.
  • Tim Wagner, VP of engineering (July). Wagner was previously a general manager at Amazon Web Services.
  • Jeff Horowitz, chief compliance officer (July). Horowitz was the former global head of compliance at Pershing.
  • Jennifer Jones, chief accounting officer (July). Jones joined from EY, where she was a senior manager.
  • Alesia Haas, chief financial officer (April). Haas joined from New York-based alternative asset management firm Oz Management.
  • Balaji Srinivasan, chief technology officer (April). Srinivasan joined through the company’s acquisition of Earn.com, where he was CEO.
  • Rachael Horwitz, VP of communications (April). Horwitz was formerly a partner at Spark Capital.
  • Tariq Meyers, global head of belonging and inclusion (April). Meyers was formerly the head of diversity and inclusion at Lyft.
  • Emilie Choi, VP of corporate and business development (March). Choi joined from LinkedIn, where she was head of corporate development.

via Click on the link for the full article

Amazon launches Scout, a machine learning-powered visual shopping tool

Amazon is experimenting with a new tool called Scout designed to help shoppers better figure out what they want to buy in a more visual fashion, according to a report from CNBC, which first spotted Scout live on Amazon’s site. Using a combination of imagery, a thumbs up and down voting mechanism, and machine learning technology, Scout offers an almost Pinterest-like way of browsing Amazon products, then refining recommendations through user input.

Currently, the site lets you search for furniture, kitchen, dining products, home décor, patio items, lighting, and bedding, as well as women’s shoes. In time, Amazon will add more products like clothing and handbags, it said.

While Amazon.com today has just about any product you could want, finding items you like when you only have a vague idea of what you want can be more difficult. For example, if you’re looking for a dresser, or a new comforter, or deck chairs, you’re often stuck scrolling down through a long list of matching results that aren’t at all customized to your particular tastes.

For this reason, shoppers tend to find themselves heading to other more “inspirational” sites, like Pinterest or Houzz, for example.

Scout aims to help customers narrow down their choices more quickly.

Specifically, it focuses on solving two dilemmas, an Amazon spokesperson said: “I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it” and “I know what I want, but I don’t know what it’s called.”

“This is a new way to shop, allowing customers to browse millions of items and quickly refine the selection based solely on visual attributes,” the spokesperson noted. “Amazon uses imagery from across its robust selection to extract thousands of visual attributes for showing customers a variety of items so they can select their preferences as they go. This innovative shopping experience is powered by machine learning. The result is a beautiful and inspirational image feed, which gives customers the ability to explore a wide range of products in a playful and personalized manner with just a few clicks,” they added.

This isn’t Amazon’s first go at trying to solve its discoverability problems or add elements of personalization to product hunting. The retailer had previously launched a site feature called “Interesting Finds,” which features a curated selection of products under dozens of top level categories like clothing, toys, gadgets, travel, workspace, smart home, pets, and more. As you “heart” (like) items in this visual storefront, Amazon then creates a personalized group of suggestions called “My Mix.”

But Interesting Finds today is more about serendipitous discovery – not a directed search where you want to refine the results to your personal tastes.

While Amazon hadn’t publicly announced Scout, some Amazon shoppers were happening upon it when browsing specific products. There, they’d see a link to “Scout Style Explorer” which would take them over to the new tool, CNBC said.

The site isn’t its own URL, but rather a subsection of Amazon.com, on amazon.com/scout.

The retailer says it’s live now on Amazon’s website and in Amazon App.

via Click on the link for the full article

Amazon launches Scout, a machine learning-powered visual shopping tool

Amazon is experimenting with a new tool called Scout designed to help shoppers better figure out what they want to buy in a more visual fashion, according to a report from CNBC, which first spotted Scout live on Amazon’s site. Using a combination of imagery, a thumbs up and down voting mechanism, and machine learning technology, Scout offers an almost Pinterest-like way of browsing Amazon products, then refining recommendations through user input.

Currently, the site lets you search for furniture, kitchen, dining products, home décor, patio items, lighting, and bedding, as well as women’s shoes. In time, Amazon will add more products like clothing and handbags, it said.

While Amazon.com today has just about any product you could want, finding items you like when you only have a vague idea of what you want can be more difficult. For example, if you’re looking for a dresser, or a new comforter, or deck chairs, you’re often stuck scrolling down through a long list of matching results that aren’t at all customized to your particular tastes.

For this reason, shoppers tend to find themselves heading to other more “inspirational” sites, like Pinterest or Houzz, for example.

Scout aims to help customers narrow down their choices more quickly.

Specifically, it focuses on solving two dilemmas, an Amazon spokesperson said: “I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it” and “I know what I want, but I don’t know what it’s called.”

“This is a new way to shop, allowing customers to browse millions of items and quickly refine the selection based solely on visual attributes,” the spokesperson noted. “Amazon uses imagery from across its robust selection to extract thousands of visual attributes for showing customers a variety of items so they can select their preferences as they go. This innovative shopping experience is powered by machine learning. The result is a beautiful and inspirational image feed, which gives customers the ability to explore a wide range of products in a playful and personalized manner with just a few clicks,” they added.

This isn’t Amazon’s first go at trying to solve its discoverability problems or add elements of personalization to product hunting. The retailer had previously launched a site feature called “Interesting Finds,” which features a curated selection of products under dozens of top level categories like clothing, toys, gadgets, travel, workspace, smart home, pets, and more. As you “heart” (like) items in this visual storefront, Amazon then creates a personalized group of suggestions called “My Mix.”

But Interesting Finds today is more about serendipitous discovery – not a directed search where you want to refine the results to your personal tastes.

While Amazon hadn’t publicly announced Scout, some Amazon shoppers were happening upon it when browsing specific products. There, they’d see a link to “Scout Style Explorer” which would take them over to the new tool, CNBC said.

The site isn’t its own URL, but rather a subsection of Amazon.com, on amazon.com/scout.

The retailer says it’s live now on Amazon’s website and in Amazon App.

via Click on the link for the full article

Fabricio Bloisi’s Movile is leading tech’s charge in Brazil and beyond and he’s coming to Startup Battlefield Latin America

In the twenty years since Movile launched its first technology services in 1998, the technology industry in Latin America has exploded.

Movile chief executive Fabricio Bloisi

Technology startups have gone from being an afterthought to being at the forefront of the economic changes sweeping through the region. And Movile’s digital marketplaces, delivery services, and investment capital (powered by Naspers) have, in many ways, led the charge.

At our Latin America Startup Battlefield event, Movile chief executive officer Fabricio Bloisi will walk us through two decades of digital transformation and technology development in the region.

Earlier this year Bloisi’s company landed a $124 million commitment led by Naspers to continue its efforts to build a pan Latin American juggernaut providing a range of mobile marketplace services.

As we wrote earlier, Naspers  investments in Movile  (supplemented by co-investors like Innova, which participated in the most recent round) have been one of the driving forces sustaining the Brazilian startup community. In all, the South African technology media and investment conglomerate and its co-investors have invested $375 million into Movile over the course of several rounds that likely value the company at close to $1 billion.

Since Movile’s rise, players like Rappi, in delivery, Nubank, a Brazilian financial services startup, and 99 Taxi have become billion dollar companies in their own right, but in many ways, Movile set the stage.

As more capital floods into the region (Yellow, the new venture from 99 Taxi’s co-founders, just raised $63 million), the future for Latin American startups looks bright.

It’s against this backdrop that Bloisi will walk attendees at our inaugural Startup Battlefield Latin America event through the perils and promise of starting up a tech business in the region.

We’ll look forward to seeing you there. Pick up your free tickets here.

via Click on the link for the full article

Fabricio Bloisi’s Movile is leading tech’s charge in Brazil and beyond and he’s coming to Startup Battlefield Latin America

In the twenty years since Movile launched its first technology services in 1998, the technology industry in Latin America has exploded.

Movile chief executive Fabricio Bloisi

Technology startups have gone from being an afterthought to being at the forefront of the economic changes sweeping through the region. And Movile’s digital marketplaces, delivery services, and investment capital (powered by Naspers) have, in many ways, led the charge.

At our Latin America Startup Battlefield event, Movile chief executive officer Fabricio Bloisi will walk us through two decades of digital transformation and technology development in the region.

Earlier this year Bloisi’s company landed a $124 million commitment led by Naspers to continue its efforts to build a pan Latin American juggernaut providing a range of mobile marketplace services.

As we wrote earlier, Naspers  investments in Movile  (supplemented by co-investors like Innova, which participated in the most recent round) have been one of the driving forces sustaining the Brazilian startup community. In all, the South African technology media and investment conglomerate and its co-investors have invested $375 million into Movile over the course of several rounds that likely value the company at close to $1 billion.

Since Movile’s rise, players like Rappi, in delivery, Nubank, a Brazilian financial services startup, and 99 Taxi have become billion dollar companies in their own right, but in many ways, Movile set the stage.

As more capital floods into the region (Yellow, the new venture from 99 Taxi’s co-founders, just raised $63 million), the future for Latin American startups looks bright.

It’s against this backdrop that Bloisi will walk attendees at our inaugural Startup Battlefield Latin America event through the perils and promise of starting up a tech business in the region.

We’ll look forward to seeing you there. Pick up your free tickets here.

via Click on the link for the full article

Fabricio Bloisi’s Movile is leading tech’s charge in Brazil and beyond and he’s coming to Startup Battlefield Latin America

In the twenty years since Movile launched its first technology services in 1998, the technology industry in Latin America has exploded.

Movile chief executive Fabricio Bloisi

Technology startups have gone from being an afterthought to being at the forefront of the economic changes sweeping through the region. And Movile’s digital marketplaces, delivery services, and investment capital (powered by Naspers) have, in many ways, led the charge.

At our Latin America Startup Battlefield event, Movile chief executive officer Fabricio Bloisi will walk us through two decades of digital transformation and technology development in the region.

Earlier this year Bloisi’s company landed a $124 million commitment led by Naspers to continue its efforts to build a pan Latin American juggernaut providing a range of mobile marketplace services.

As we wrote earlier, Naspers  investments in Movile  (supplemented by co-investors like Innova, which participated in the most recent round) have been one of the driving forces sustaining the Brazilian startup community. In all, the South African technology media and investment conglomerate and its co-investors have invested $375 million into Movile over the course of several rounds that likely value the company at close to $1 billion.

Since Movile’s rise, players like Rappi, in delivery, Nubank, a Brazilian financial services startup, and 99 Taxi have become billion dollar companies in their own right, but in many ways, Movile set the stage.

As more capital floods into the region (Yellow, the new venture from 99 Taxi’s co-founders, just raised $63 million), the future for Latin American startups looks bright.

It’s against this backdrop that Bloisi will walk attendees at our inaugural Startup Battlefield Latin America event through the perils and promise of starting up a tech business in the region.

We’ll look forward to seeing you there. Pick up your free tickets here.

via Click on the link for the full article