Apple was the top-selling smartphone maker during China’s ‘Singles Day’ shopping holiday

As our friends at 9to5Toys highlighted, yesterday marked Alibaba’s “Singles Day” shopping event. For those unfamiliar, Singles Day is similar to “Black Friday” in the United States, spearheaded by Alibaba’s 11.11 shopping event.

Following yesterday’s celebration, Alibaba today has released figures on the popularity of specific brands during its 11.11 shopping event, and Apple comes in at the top.

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​The real reason Palmer Luckey was fired from Facebook

According to The Wall Street Journal, Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, a virtual reality company, was fired by Facebook because “he donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group” during the 2016 US Presidential campaign.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter’s top picks

But the article fails to mention a simple little fact: On Feb. 1, 2017, Oculus lost an intellectual property (IP) theft case against game maker ZeniMax, to the tune of $500 million.

ZeniMax’s argument? Oculus’s Rift virtual reality headset “illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks.” The villains of the piece, according to ZeniMax, were Oculus CTO and Id co-founder John Carmack and — what a surprise — Oculus founder Mr. Luckey.

In its victory speech, a ZeniMax spokesperson said, “The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor.”

So, if one of your employees just cost your company a cool half-billion bucks for doing wrong what would you do? Well, Facebook isn’t saying, even now, but on March 30, 2017, it let Luckey go.

I didn’t cover Luckey’s misadventures, but I recalled the rough timeline. It took me all of 10 minutes of searching to lock down the sequence of events.

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Yes, Luckey also lied about his political moves, which went well beyond donating to an anti-Hillary billboard campaign. But let’s look at the record. Everyone knew he’d lied by Feb. 22, 2016.

Was he fired then? No.

Was he fired after being found guilty of stealing ZeniMax’s trade secrets? Yes.

Officially, Facebook stated: “All details associated with specific personnel matters are kept strictly confidential. This is our policy for all employees, no matter their seniority. But we can say unequivocally that Palmer’s departure was not due to his political views.”

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Now, Palmer may indeed have, as The Wall Street Journal reported, told some people he was fired for his politics. But, so what? I can tell my friends I’m the rightful king of England, and that doesn’t make it so.

Let me spell it out for you: He made some political waves. Nothing happened. He cost Facebook $500 million. He was fired. Can anyone here seriously not draw the lines between the dots?

Previous and related coverage:

Facebook Oculus research crafts strange mashup of John Oliver and Stephen Colbert

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and at the Facebook reality lab created better fakes of videos by training a deep neural network to transfer the style of comedian John Oliver to the likeness of Stephen Colbert in a synthesized video. The results could be creepy or thrilling, depending on your point of view.

Walmart deploys 17,000 Oculus Go headsets to train its employees

Walmart said it is using the headsets to train within three key areas: new technology, compliance, and soft skills like empathy and customer service.

Facebook’s latest headache: How to spot “deep fake” videos

Facebook is facing an uphill battle automating the detection of misinformation in photos and videos.

Related stories:

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How this CEO used a simple system to nail his work-life balance and build a company that just sold for $8 billion (SAP)

ryan smith qualtrics CEOQualtrics CEO Ryan Smith at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015.Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

When a company offered to buy Ryan Smith’s startup Qualtrics for more than $500 million, he asked his wife to take a drive.

The deal, and the amount of money it would net his family, was a lot to process. But after just 30 minutes of driving south, the couple decided to turn it down.

They felt earning so much money at once could negatively impact the way they were raising their children. And although Smith had been running his business for nearly a decade, he had gotten good at balancing both work and his personal life, so being an entrepreneur wasn’t a major strain on his family.

Together, the Smiths decided to keep Ryan’s 800-person survey company private — at least until now, as SAP announced it was buying Qualtrics in an all-cash deal for $8 billion, just days before the company was set to IPO.

It wasn’t always easy for Smith to feel successful at both home and work. He, like many executives, uses a CEO coach to help him keep things balanced. He likens work-life balance to a plane that can easily go lopsided and constantly needs to be stabilized. One wing represents his family’s needs, the other the needs of his work. When he’s on a business trip, for example, one side of the plane tilts down. When he returns to his family and clears out the weekend for his children, it’s tilted back up.

Smith’s CEO coach taught him a way to plan for success that can be implemented every week. He described it to a group of fellow CEOs at a conference in Ireland in 2014. 

The coach asked him which jobs he was responsible for. Smith replied that he was:

  1. A husband
  2. A father
  3. A son
  4. A CEO
  5. A boss
  6. A sibling
  7. A grandson
  8. A friend

The CEO coach then asked him what he could do for each job that week to make him feel successful. He noted that if he took his wife on a date and bought her a surprise bouquet of flowers, that might make him feel like a good husband. And if he taught his daughter to ride a bike, he would feel like a better dad.

tilt plane golden gate san francisco flightRyan Smith describes work-life balance as a plane that constantly needs to be stabilized.Flickr/Daniel Gies

He also found that he could combine tasks on his list to achieve everything quickly. If he was really productive, every task written on Sunday could be accomplished by Tuesday.

For example, if he took his daughter to his parent’s house and taught her to ride a bike in their cul-de-sac, he could be both a good father and son. 

So Smith’s weekly job list began to look something like this:

  1. A husband – Take wife to dinner and buy her flowers
  2. A father – Teach daughter to ride a bike
  3. A son – Visit parents. Combine tasks 2 & 3.

Smith learned that people often plan for one phase of life (“I’m going to sell my company by the time I turn 30.”) But they either don’t know which steps to take to achieve that goal, or they don’t plan what to do after the goal has been achieved.

His CEO coach’s plan breaks daunting life goals into weekly tasks, so people don’t wake up one day and realized they’ve let major priorities slip.

Shortly after Smith explained this success tactic on Friday evening, he left the conference. Others stayed out late and partied at a local pub, but Smith drove 3 hours to Dublin and booked an early flight home to Utah. That way, when his children woke up on Sunday morning, they’d be able to spend all day with their father.

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Stan Lee's famous Marvel cameos started out as a joke in the comics

stan lee spidermanStan Lee (L) talks to Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) in “Spider-Man 3.”Sony/Marvel/”Spider-Man 3″

With the passing of Stan Lee on Monday at the age of 95, we don’t just say goodbye to the face of the Marvel brand but the man of 1,000 cameos.

The former president and chairman of Marvel Comics is known by many Marvel Cinematic Universe fans as the guy who shows up in the majority of the movies released by Marvel Studios since 2008’s “Iron Man.” But he started doing cameos long before there were superhero movies.

Going as far back as the 1960s, Lee’s likeness would be inserted occasionally in covers and inside the pages of the Marvel comics he was overseeing. And from what Lee told Business Insider back in 2015
, it was never his intention to pop up in all things Marvel.

“The artists back then would draw me in as a joke or just to have fun,” Lee told Business Insider then. “And I would put some dialogue balloons there and it looked as if I intended it. I didn’t try to do cameos in those days.”

Here’s Lee and fellow iconic Marvel artist Jack Kirby showing up on the cover of a “Fantastic Four” comic in the 1960s.
Stan Lee fantastic four wikipedia marvelWikipedia/Marvel

And Lee shows up in this edition of the “Nova” comics in the 1990s.nova 05 stan leeCyber Space Comics/Marvel

“Anything that seemed fun and anything that the readers seemed to enjoy we kept doing and those things brought in a lot of fan mail,” Lee recalled. “And we weren’t doing movies or television, our whole existence depended on comic books, so if you see that something is interesting to the fans you stay with it.”

Marvel definitely stayed with it, making Lee the face of the company. Over the decades, he also appeared in countless cartoons, TV shows, and movies ranging from Fox’s ’90s cartoon “Spider-Man” to 1995 comedy “Mallrats” where Kevin Smith used him as a voice of reason. stan lee cartoonLee in the final episode of the cartoon TV series “Spider-Man.”Fox/Marvel/”Spider-Man” (1994)

Lee said he particularly liked his cameo in 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” because “it’s so funny.”

That’s primarily why he also has a fondness for his appearance in 2007’s “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” in which he can’t get into the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm because the bouncer doesn’t think he’s really Stan Lee. “I like any of them that seem a little bit funny,” he added.

stan lee fantastic fourLee in “Fantastic 4: Rise of Silver Surfer.”Fox/Marvel/”Fantastic 4: Raise of the Silver Surfer”

You will next see Lee on the big screen for Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” where he makes a cameo in animation form. 

This story has been updated from its original posting.

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MoviePass competitor Sinemia is being sued by angry customers who say it ripped them off with new fees

When MoviePass was forced to drastically change its business model in the face of mounting losses in August, competitor Sinemia stepped into the spotlight.

The movie-ticket subscription startup was founded in Turkey in 2015 and had operated overseas, but in early 2018 it capitalized on the hype around MoviePass to launch in the US. Despite their similarities, Sinemia CEO Rifat Oguz positioned his company as the anti-MoviePass, focused on “profit” and “sustainability” where MoviePass was focused on hyper-growth.

But as MoviePass began to introduce unpopular new restrictions, Sinemia went for the jugular, introducing a plan at the same price as MoviePass (around $10 per month), with the same amount of movies (three per month), but with no restrictions on movies or showtimes — and with the ability to book tickets in advance.

For some movie fans, including myself, it seemed we had finally found a subscription service we could rely on. That feeling didn’t last for many.

On Friday, the law firm Chimicles & Tikellis LLP filed a class action lawsuit in Delaware on behalf of two plaintiffs, alleging that Sinemia “essentially became a bait-and-switch scheme.”

“It lures consumers in by convincing them to purchase a purportedly cheaper movie subscription, and then adds undisclosed fees that make such purchases no bargain at all,” the lawsuit claims. “Sinemia fleeces consumers with an undisclosed, unexpected, and not-bargained-for processing fee each time a plan subscriber goes to the movies using Sinemia’s service.”

I too encountered Sinemia’s sneaky fees, and wrote about them in a piece published last week, in which I urged the company to be more transparent with customers about its pricing structure. After the article published, I was contacted by over 40 Sinemia subscribers, many of whom expressed anger and frustration with its fees and lack of customer service.

On Sunday, less than a week after my story, Sinemia deactivated by personal account without explanation. A button to “reactivate” my subscription didn’t function and my email to customer support hasn’t been answered. Despite paying a $20 activation fee, my account was only active for two months before Sinemia shut it off.

I saw one movie, “A Star Is Born,” which I highly recommend.

How did it all go so wrong so quickly?

Fees upon fees

The crux of the class action lawsuit against Sinemia is a new $1.80 “processing fee” that the company began to roll out in mid-October.

In understanding how the new fee changes the value proposition of the service, it’s helpful to look at one of the lawsuit plaintiffs: Paul Early of California.

Early signed up for Sinemia in August and paid $191.88 for a year plan of two movies per month for two people, plus $9.99 for early activation, according to the suit. All in he paid over $200. The first five times Early used Sinemia, he incurred a $1.50 third-party “convenience fee” (from using ticketing sites like Fandango). Sinemia had disclosed before he’d bought the subscription that he’d have to pay that fee.

But then when Early went to use the app on October 22, he was charged a further $1.80 “processing fee” per ticket, according to the suit.

After getting hit with this new fee a few more times, Early contacted customer support asking to cancel his plan and get a refund for the remainder. He never heard anything, according to the suit.

“The movie plan Early is now stuck with has lost significant value with the imposition of the processing fees,” the suit argues.

Many Sinemia subscribers echoed these sentiments to Business Insider, saying they felt taken advantage of by the fees, especially when “processing fees” were added on top of “convenience fees.” Multiple subscribers said they had requested refunds for the remainder of their yearly subscriptions and been told Sinemia was a “non-refundable service.”

Others simply never heard from Sinemia’s customer support despite multiple follow-ups (including myself).

Sinemia didn’t respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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What’s next? The top media executives on the job market

Keep an eye out for the next moves by these entrepreneurs and executives. A number of the biggest names in media left their jobs over the last year (or announced they will be leaving soon), including a handful of now-billionaires who have resources, ambition, and time on their hands to explore something new.

We are experimenting with new content forms at TechCrunch. This is a rough draft of something new —provide feedback directly to the author, Eric Peckham (@epeckham), our columnist focused on the intersection of media and technology.

Most notably, there are Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch (with rumored plans to launch a VC firm), Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, VICE founder/CEO Shane Smith (who transitioned to a Chairman role), Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, and Oath’s CEO Tim Armstrong.

There’s also a long list of other names you may not recognize but should keep on your radar in the months ahead as they found new startups or take key leadership roles at top media/tech companies.

Today, Snap’s VP of Content Nick Bell announced he will be leaving the company by the end of the year. He oversaw all media partnerships and content operations for the Snapchat Discover section over the last 5 years. The 34-year old sold his first company, Teenfront.com, at age 16 and started multiple ventures afterward until joining global media conglomerate News Corp (where he became SVP of Digital Product). As a serial entrepreneur and one of the most sought-after experts in digital video, expect Bell’s next move to be noteworthy.

Here are 12 other leaders at the intersection of media and technology who are currently available (publicly, at least) and plotting their next endeavor:

Joanna Coles, Photo by Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Joanna Coles, former Chief Content Officer at Hearst
Joanna Coles, who oversaw all editorial operations for the 300-title global publishing group Hearst since September 2016, announced with a fun video on August 6 that she would be stepping down. The former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire (as they shifted into a digital-first era) said she would announce her next adventure sometime this fall after taking a break. Coles has been a board member of Snap since 2015 and was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Rich Battista, former CEO of Time Inc
Time Inc’s CEO left the helm of the publishing group upon its $2.8 billion acquisition by Meredith Corp in the spring. Battista held a range of major publishing, TV, and digital media roles before then, from leading Fox’s cable networks to running Mandalay Sports Media to turning around Gemstar-TV Guide and selling it for $2.3 billion. At various points in his career Battista has been a big company executive, an investor, and an entrepreneur.

Joel Stillerman, former Chief Content Officer at Hulu
Stillerman was one of several executives who departed Hulu in May in a leadership reshuffle by the company’s new CEO. Stillerman was previously President of Original Programming and Development for AMC and SundanceTV. At a time when nearly every major TV company is vying to compete with Netflix through another streaming video platform (on their own or in partnership with others), there’s a lot of expertise to be had from the executive to oversaw all content for Netflix’s top competitor.

George Strompolos, Founder and former CEO of Fullscreen
After AT&T acquired The Chernin Group’s remaining stake in Otter Media (Fullscreen’s parent company) in September, Fullscreen’s George Strompolos stepped down as CEO of the multi-channel network he founded in 2011. According to his LinkedIn profile, LA-based Strompolos in advising and investing in startups for the time being.

Erik Huggers, former CEO of VEVO
Huggers stepped down from VEVO in April after 3 years. He was previously an SVP at Verizon and President of Intel Media (which Verizon acquired). As a supervisory board member of Germany’s largest broadcasting group, ProSiebenSat.1, Huggers has also recently joined the board of ProSiebenSat.1’s streaming TV service 7TV, which is a joint venture with Discovery Inc.

Photo courtesy of Sophie Watts.

Sophie Watts, former President of STX Entertainment
Sophie Watts joined investor Robert Simonds in 2011 to develop a new film/TV studio with backing from TPG Growth. According to the WSJ, STX Entertainment has been planning a $500 million IPO in Hong Kong. As president, she primarily oversaw unscripted TV, digital, and VR operations. She left in January to explore new opportunities. Watts—who started her career in London producing videos for Beyoncé, Elton John, Madonna, Mariah Carey, and others—was named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 in 2016 and is still just 32.

Jonathan Carson, former President of Mic
Carson founded 3 startups (music social network Outer Sound, interactive media consultancy Intercities, and social media intelligence company BuzzMetrics) before becoming the “CEO of Digital” at Nielsen and then the Chief Revenue Officer at VEVO. In July, he stepped down from VC-backed news startup Mic after one year as President. Expect his next move to be within the same realm of video, social, mobile, and data that he’s worked in thus far.

Colin Carrier, former Chief Strategy Officer at Twitch
Carrier joined Twitch in 2013, leaving the Eversport Media startup he co-founded to become General Manager of Justin.TV which operated independently from the rest of Twitch. He transitioned to become Twitch’s Chief Strategy Officer in 2014 upon Amazon’s $1 billion acquisition of the live-streaming platform. While CSO, he oversaw the acquisition of CurseMedia and ClipMine and developed a personal angel investment portfolio of over 30 startups (including Cruise, which GM acquired for over $1B). He departed Twitch over the summer.

Troy Carter speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Troy Carter, former Global Head of Creator Services at Spotify
A career talent manager in the music industry who worked with artists like Lady Gaga, John Legend, and Meghan Trainor, Carter joined Spotify in June 2016 as the face of the streaming service within the music industry. Having stepped down in September, he is among several top executives who have left Spotify in 2018 before and after it listed on the NYSE. Carter—who also built an angel investing portfolio of over 40 startups—hasn’t announced his next endeavor but appears to still be making investments through the VC fund he co-founded, Cross Culture Ventures.

Stefan Blom, former Chief Content Officer of Spotify
Blom left Spotify early this year just before the music streaming service went public with a $29 billion market cap. He had been Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Content Officer over the prior 4 years, working in part on Spotify’s early steps into original video (which it retreated from). Before Spotify, he was CEO of the Nordic division at EMI (a notable record label group).

Matthew Ball, former Head of Strategy at Amazon Studios
Ball joined Amazon Studios as Head of Strategy in 2016 after working within The Chernin Group as Director of Strategy & Business Development for Otter Media (which is now fully owned by AT&T). Since leaving Amazon earlier this year, he has continued to publish widely-read blog posts about the future of media for MediaREDEF—which he has been doing since 2014—and, according to his Twitter bio, is currently “tinkering away on a small idea that could be more”.

Matt Pincus, Founder and former CEO of SONGS Music Publishing
Last December, Pincus sold his innovative music publishing firm SONGS Music Publishing, which had become the largest independent publishing of contemporary music in the US, to Kobalt for a rumored $150 million. He departed in March and has since become a Special Advisor to Snap Inc and taken an Entrepreneur-in-Residence title at leading digital media merchant bank LionTree.

Who are other top executives at the intersection of media + tech who are launching new companies or available to fill open CEO roles? Let me know on Twitter at @epeckham.

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Airbnb ends forced arbitration days after Google, Facebook did the same

The Google employee walkout on Nov. 1 is leaving a lasting impact on the tech industry.

In the immediate aftermath of the walkout, which saw thousands of Googlers across the globe protest the company’s mishandling of sexual harassment and misconduct claims, the search giant said it would put an end to its policy of forced arbitration for employees claiming workplace harassment. Facebook followed suit, announcing the next day that it would allow its employees to pursue claims of sexual harassment in court.

Today, Airbnb and eBay confirmed to TechCrunch they too would no longer require sexual harassment claims to be settled through private arbitration. Their announcements emerged as a result of a BuzzFeed News article exploring which tech companies were updating their policies in light of the Google protest.

Thousands of Google employees protested the company’s handling of sexual harassment & misconduct allegations on Nov. 1.

“We are a company who believes that in the 21st Century it is important to continually consider and reconsider the best ways to support our employees and strengthen our workplace,” a spokesperson for Airbnb said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “From the beginning, we have sought to build a culture of integrity and respect, and today’s changes are just one more step to drive belonging and integrity in our workplace.”

Here’s what eBay had to say about its decision: “eBay takes great pride in fostering an inclusive culture that allows employees to feel comfortable and encouraged to report any workplace issues. We’ve adjusted our existing employee policy regarding sexual harassment claims to better reflect and encourage eBay’s values of being open, honest and direct.”

According to BuzzFeed, Pinterest, Oath, Twitter, Reddit and others have never required mandatory arbitration. Uber, Lyft and Microsoft each put an end to forced arbitration in the last year.

Arbitration is a private method of solving a dispute without a judge, jury or right to an appeal. Companies that require forced arbitration waive their employees right to sue and to participate in a class action lawsuit.

Throwing out its policy of forced arbitration was one of the five demands disgruntled employees had for Google. In a Medium post last week, the walkout organizers commended Google’s decision to end forced arbitration while emphasizing the company’s failure to address all of their demands.

…”The response ignored several of the core demands — like elevating the diversity officer and employee representation on the board — and troublingly erased those focused on racism, discrimination, and the structural inequity built into the modern day Jim Crow class system that separates ‘full time’ employees from contract workers. Contract workers make up more than half of Google’s workforce, and perform essential roles across the company, but receive few of the benefits associated with tech company employment. They are also largely people of color, immigrants, and people from working class backgrounds.”

Google employees began crafting a plan for a company-wide walkout in late October, days after a bombshell New York Times investigation revealed Google had given Android co-creator Andy Rubin a $90 million exit package despite multiple relationships with other Google  staffers and accusations of sexual misconduct.

Rubin, for his part, has said that the NYT’s story contained “numerous inaccuracies.”

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GM is going to allow Ford vehicles and other competitors on its Maven car-sharing platform

GM’s car-sharing subsidiary Maven is undergoing another expansion. This time, it’s not just to a new city.

Maven plans to open up its new peer-to-peer car rental service to allow owners to rent out non-GM vehicles.

It is also setting its sights on bigger changes in the future, according to Julia Steyn, vice president of GM Urban Mobility and Maven, said Monday during a presentation at the UBS Global Technology Conference in San Francisco.

By mid-2019, Maven will allow non-GM branded vehicles on the platform, Steyn said. That means a Maven member with a Tesla Model S or a Ford F-150 will be able to rent their vehicle out via the peer-to-peer car-sharing platform.

Steyn said Maven plans to open up the platform to micro-fleet entrepreneurs and add more services and expand its geographic footprint, including in Canada and other international markets.

Maven, which launched in January 2016 and has undergone a number of changes in its two-and-a-half years of existence. The mobility division initially launched as a car-sharing service akin to Zipcar. The company owns a fleet of GM vehicles and developed an app that lets customers rent the cars when they want and for short periods of time. In 2017, the company launched Maven Reserve in Los Angeles and San Francisco to allow customers to rent its GM-branded vehicles for a month at a time. It also has a program called Maven Gig that rents out vehicles to rideshare and delivery drivers who use apps like Instacart, Uber, Lyft and UberEATS.

Earlier this year, Maven launched a peer-to-peer car rental service, which operates similarly to how Turo and Getaround work, in Chicago, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich. At the time of the launch, the program only allowed owners to rent out their personal Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac cars or trucks. To qualify, the vehicles have to be a GM model year 2015 and newer.

Unlike competitors, Maven is maintaining this dual car-sharing approach. It will continue to offer its own fleet of GM-branded cars for rent on the platform and expand the peer-to-peer option to more cities. In short, Maven, which has 170,000 members, is using the peer-to-peer car-sharing option to diversify its supply and to expand its market reach.

“Cars is where our heritage is, but I’ll tell you where else it’s going to go, Steyn said, before noting that there are a lot of assets out their such as boats that are under-utilized and could be monetized on a platform like Maven.

“If, at some point, there’s a UFO that you want shared and you want to be on the platform and it’s going to do a job for somebody, we’ll be able to put it on the platform,” Steyn said, emphasizing the flexibility of the Maven.

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Microsoft opens up pre-orders for the LTE-equipped, $679 Surface Go

Microsoft revealed its cheaper alternative to the $799 Surface Pro back in July, in the form of the $399 Surface Go. The 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid device has a weaker spec sheet than its more expensive cousin, but it’s also more portable and versatile – or so Microsoft would like you to think.

The device’s portability has been compromised somewhat by the lack of built-in LTE functionality on launch. While wifi hotspots can be found all over the US nowadays, there are still times when you may need to get some work done while you’re, say, taking an Uber to the other side of the city. In that scenario, the Go becomes much less useful.

Fortunately, that’s changing today; sort of. Existing Surface Go customers are out of luck, but if you’re a would-be buyer, you can now opt for the Surface Go with LTE Advanced for $679.

To be clear, the new LTE-equipped Go isn’t merely the $399 model with LTE slapped on. Instead, it houses the same specs as the beefier $549 Go, which includes 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and an Intel 4415Y processor. This puts the true “LTE fee” at around $130. Microsoft has not announced any plans to bring LTE to lower-specced Go models.

[embedded content]

There are two other LTE Surface Gos available, but they’re exclusive to business customers. They include the $729 Surface Go with LTE Advanced for Business, which contains the same hardware as the consumer version, and an $829 device with an identical name. The latter’s storage capacity has been upgraded from 128GB to 256GB, but the specs appear otherwise unchanged.

If you want to snag one of Microsoft’s new LTE-packed Surface Gos, you’ll need to use AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon – T-Mobile customers are out of luck for now. The devices are reportedly available for pre-order now, with an expected release date of November 20.

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The Best Drone For Most People Is Cheaper Than Ever Before

DJI Mavic Air | $700 | Amazon
Photo: Gizmodo
Best Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.   

If you aren’t a professional photographer, but still value image quality and features in your drone, the DJI Mavic Air offers the best combination of portability, ease of use, and camera specs on the market. It’s rarely been discounted much from its usual $800, but now you can get it for an all-time low $700 on Amazon.

I had a chance to fly one of these at Outpost this year, and as an old Phantom 2 owner, I was completely blown away. It folds up small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, but holds remarkably still in the air. Front and rear obstacle avoidance cameras keep it from crashing into a tree (or a person), and its gimbal-stabilized 4K camera can automatically track moving subjects, or perform pre-programmed shooting routines. You’ll have a ton of fun with this thing.


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