Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the chief product officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed.

Now the 37-year-old leader will be putting his inspirational demeanor and keen strategy sense to work to protect the environment and improve the government. Today at Wired25 conference, Cox finally shared more about his work advising political technology developer for progressives Acronym, and climate change-tracking satellite startup Planet Labs. He also explained more about the circumstances of his departure from the social network’s C-suite.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Chris Cox speaks onstage at the WIRED25 Summit 2019 – Day 1 at Commonwealth Club on November 08, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED)

Leaving Facebook

On how he felt leaving Facebook, Cox said, “part of the reason I was okay leaving was that after 2016 I’d spent a couple years building out a bunch of the teams that I felt were most important to sort of take the lessons that we learned through some of 2016 and start to put in place institutions that can help the company, be more responsible and be a better communicator on some of the key issues.”

As for what specifically drove him to leave, Cox explained that, “It wasn’t something where I felt I wanted to spend another 13 years on social media. Mark and I saw things a little bit differently . . . I think we are still investigating as an industry, how do you balance protecting the privacy of people’s information and continuing to keep people safe,” Cox said.

On whether moving toward encryption was part of that, he said he thinks encryption is “great: and that “It offers an enormous amount of protection,” but noted “it certainly makes some of those things more complicated” on the privacy versus safety balance. He complemented Facebook’s efforts to build ways of catching bad actors even if they’re shielded by encryption. That includes digital literacy initiatives in Brazil and India ahead of elections, and offering forwarding systems for sending questionable information to fact checkers. “I think there are pros and cons with these systems and I’m not a hard-liner on any one of them,” Cox said, and noted that what Facebook is building is “resonant with what people want.”

Cox was asked about the major debate about whether Facebook should allow political advertising. “We think political advertising can be good and helpful. It often favors up and comers versus incumbents.” Still, on fact-checking, he said, “I’m a big fan,” even though Facebook isn’t applying that to political ads. He did note that “I think the company should investigate and is investigating micro targeting . . . if there’s hundreds of variants being run of the creative then it’s tricky to get your arms around what’s being said.” He also advocated for more context in the user interface distinguishing political ads. 

Chris Cox speaks at Wired25

Cox’s next projects

Since leaving Facebook, Cox has joined the advisory board of a group called Acronym, which is helping to build out the campaign and messaging technology stack for progressive candidates. “This is an area where my perception is that the progressives have been behind on the ability to develop and use as a team infrastructure that helps you have a good voter file, how to develop messaging — just basic politics in 2019.”

Wired’s Lauren Goode asked if he was aligning himself with progressives, taking a political stance, and whether he could do that while still at Facebook. “Absolutely not,” Cox responded.And why is that I think when you’re in a very senior role at a platform, you have a duty to be much more neutral in your politics.”

He then came out with a bold statement enabled by his independence. “I think Trump should not be our president. The other thing I care a lot about right now is climate change and he’s not going to help us there.”

That led to Cox discussing that he’s also been working to advise San Francisco startup Planet Labs, which is using satellite imagery to track climate change. “The vision was to build these small, about shoebox-size satellites with solar panel panel wings and have a fleet of them in space, which is real-time imaging the Earth.”

With that data, Cox explained you can track wildfires, deforestation, coal power plants, methane gas and more. Then, “You can start to contribute to having a health system, where you are basically imaging the Earth every hour, and then you’re creating some public data set with tools that plug into decision makers, banks, insurance companies, policymakers, investors, journalists, students…”

Asked about big tech’s responsibility for addressing climate change, Cox said “I think at the very least it’s making a commitment to being carbon-negative.”

Acronym and Planet Labs’ work intertwines, as Cox believes climate data proves the need for someone new in the Oval Office. While Cox didn’t discuss it onstage, Wired listed him as part of Shasta Group, which is Cox’s own vehicle for contributing to these projects. Still, he’s not ready to launch a full-fledged company of his own in politics and climate. “I’m still so young at this field that I don’t have enough confidence in my own mental model of the world.”

Cox concluded that by harnessing big company’s employees and having team leaders put more attention on climate change, “I do think tech can lead.” 

nt

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Balderton Capital’s Suranga Chandratillake, Blossom Capital’s Louise Samet and Penta founder Jessica Holzbach are joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.

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She previously covered the venture capital ecosystem for PitchBook News.

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Reach Kate via e-mail at kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

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She previously covered the venture capital ecosystem for PitchBook News.

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Reach Kate via e-mail at kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

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Mustang Mach-E all-electric SUV revealed in leaked photos, prices and configurations"},"content":{"rendered":"

Ford is officially debuting its fully electric crossover SUV on Sunday, November 17 — but we got a look at the new Mach-E (which was just officially named yesterday) a couple of days early. The leak comes from Ford’s own website, as screenshotted for posterity by Jalopnick, and includes photos of most angles of the car, including the interior, as well as pricing and configuration details for the model variants available at launch.

n

The Mach-E will start at $43,895 U.S., before any state or tax incentives are applied (and that turns into $36,395 once you apply the maximum $7,500 federal tax credit). The “Select” trim Mach-E as configured at that price gets you 230 EPA-rated miles of range, either AWD or RWD (which presumably alters the price) and a 0-60MPH time in the mid five-second range.

n [gallery ids="1912448,1912446,1912445,1912438,1912437"] n

Next up is the “Premium” trim starting at $50,600, again offering an AWD or RWD option, with 300 miles of estimated EPA-rated range, and that same mid five-second 0-60MPH time. The “California Route 1” model above that comes in only AWD, has that longer 300 miles of EPA range and promises a mid six-second 0-60MPH time. It’s a bit slower off the jump, but it’s “named for its cruise-worthy engineering,” so presumably it’s got a more luxe interior for long-distance highway scenic drives.

n

Next up is a $59,900 “First Edition,” which will be in limited availability and only at launch for the first batch of customers to reserve. It’s got AWD, a range of around 270 miles, a mid five-second 0-60MPH time and exclusive exterior color options, special scuff plates, brushed aluminum pedals and red brake callipers, as well as contrast-colored interior stitching. There’s a GT edition at the top end, with an MSRP starting at $60,500, that will manage to get a 0-60MPH time in the mid three-second range, so that’s clearly the peak performance options for thrill-seekers. Estimated EPA range on that one is around 230 miles.

n [gallery ids="1912449,1912442,1912440,1912439,1912444,1912443"] n

In terms of looks, the Mustang Mach-E’s design won’t be a surprise to anyone who’s seen the camouflaged spy shots, or the teaser peeks officially released by Ford. It’s definitely got Mustang vibes, and looks a bit like a Mustang that has been lifted up with paneling extended down toward the road. It looks like a panorama roof is an option, and that hatchback will probably please a lot of small SUV fans. There’s also something funky going on with the door handles — the front ones appear very small and near the base of the door windows, while I’m not sure how exactly it works on the rear passenger doors based on these photos.

n

There’s also a panoramic sunroof at least as an option, and you can see the interior looks pretty blatantly Tesla -inspired, with a large vertical touchscreen taking up most of the center of the dash — albeit with something that looks like a large physical dial right at the base, instead of going for fully touch-only input. A second digital display appears to replace the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel.

n

n

Ford has since taken this down, as it’s hosting a splashy event on Sunday with Idris Elba in LA for the full official reveal. TechCrunch will be on site to bring you more photos and details around availability, customization options and more on the day.

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Ford is officially debuting its fully electric crossover SUV on Sunday, November 17 — but we got a look at the new Mach-E (which was just officially named yesterday) a couple of days early. The leak comes from Ford’s own website, as screenshotted for posterity by Jalopnick, and includes photos of most angles of the […]

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gives 0 forks, and Docker containerizes its future into a casket"},"content":{"rendered":"

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

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This week Kate was in China, so TechCrunch’s Danny Crichton and Alex took the helm while she was out grilling Lime. So, with our producer (the excellent Mr. Gates) in San Francisco and Danny in New York and Alex in the provinces, we got into the following to start:

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Pivoting into the biggest news from the week, 1Password raised a comically large $200 million Series A round of funding. The firm quite obviously hadn’t raised much capital before, but had grown to be quite large. Hence the large check. Recall that Series A really means a company’s first institutional round, not a specific dollar range.

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Next we discussed DoorDash and its possible $100 million add-on to its $600 million round from earlier this year. The new capital should keep the on-demand technology company’s valuation pegged just above where it was set during its preceding round. So, a down round this is not.

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Meanwhile, Docker received a $35 million investment from Benchmark and sold much of its business to Marantis, which has all the appearances of a recap for the formerly high-flying unicorn.

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What else? Juul is laying off staff, WeWork is still losing an ocean of dollars and Line is partnering up with Yahoo Japan.

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

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Image search engine Giphy bills itself as providing a “fun and safe way” to search and create animated GIFs. But despite its ban on illicit content, the site is littered with self-harm and child sex abuse imagery, TechCrunch has learned.

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A new report from Israeli online child protection startup L1ght u2014 previously AntiToxin Technologies u2014 has uncovered a host of toxic content hiding within the popular GIF-sharing community, including illegal child abuse content, depictions of rape and other toxic imagery associated with topics like white supremacy and hate speech. The report, shared exclusively with TechCrunch, also showed content encouraging viewers into unhealthy weight loss and glamorizing eating disorders.

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TechCrunch verified some of the company’s findings by searching the site using certain keywords. (We did not search for terms that may have returned child sex abuse content, as doing so would be illegal.) Although Giphy blocks many hashtags and search terms from returning results, search engines like Google and Bing still cache images with certain keywords.

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When we tested using several words associated with illicit content, Giphy sometimes showed content from its own results. When it didn’t return any banned materials, search engines often returned a stream of would-be banned results.

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L1ght develops advanced solutions to combat online toxicity. Through its tests, one search of illicit material returned 195 pictures on the first search page alone. L1ght’s team then followed tags from one item to the next, uncovering networks of illegal or toxic content along the way. The tags themselves were often innocuous in order to help users escape detection, but they served as a gateway to the toxic material.

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Despite a ban on self-harm content, researchers found numerous keywords and search terms to find the banned content. We have blurred this graphic image. (Image: TechCrunch)

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Many of the more extreme content u2014 including images of child sex abuse u2014 are said to have been tagged using keywords associated with known child exploitation sites.

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We are not publishing the hashtags, search terms or sites used to access the content, but we passed on the information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a national nonprofit established by Congress to fight child exploitation.

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Simon Gibson, Giphy’s head of audience, told TechCrunch that content safety was of the “utmost importance” to the company and that it employs “extensive moderation protocols.” He said that when illegal content is identified, the company works with the authorities to report and remove it.

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He also expressed frustration that L1ght had not contacted Giphy with the allegations first. L1ght said that Giphy is already aware of its content moderation problems.

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Gibson said Giphy’s moderation system “leverages a combination of imaging technologies and human validation,” which involves users having to “apply for verification in order for their content to appear in our searchable index.” Content is “then reviewed by a crowdsourced group of human moderators,” he said. “If a consensus for rating among moderators is not met, or if there is low confidence in the moderatoru2019s decision, the content is escalated to Giphy’s internal trust and safety team for additional review,” he said.

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“Giphy also conducts proactive keyword searches, within and outside of our search index, in order to find and remove content that is against our policies,” said Gibson.

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L1ght researchers used their proprietary artificial intelligence engine to uncover illegal and other offensive content. Using that platform, the researchers can find other related content, allowing them to find vast caches of illegal or banned content that would otherwise and for the most part go unseen.

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This sort of toxic content plagues online platforms, but algorithms only play a part. More tech companies are finding human moderation is critical to keeping their sites clean. But much of the focus to date has been on the larger players in the space, like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

n

Facebook, for example, has been routinely criticized for outsourcing moderation to teams of lowly paid contractors who often struggle to cope with the sorts of things they have to watch, even experiencing post-traumatic stress-like symptoms as a result of their work. Meanwhile, Google’s YouTube this year was found to have become a haven for online sex abuse rings, where criminals had used the comments section to guide one another to other videos to watch while making predatory remarks.

n

Giphy and other smaller platforms have largely stayed out of the limelight, during the past several years. But L1ght’s new findings indicate that no platform is immune to these sorts of problems.

n

L1ght says the Giphy users sharing this sort of content would make their accounts private so they wouldn’t be easily searchable by outsiders or the company itself. But even in the case of private accounts, the abusive content was being indexed by some search engines, like Google, Bing and Yandex, which made it easy to find. The firm also discovered that pedophiles were using Giphy as the means of spreading their materials online, including communicating with each other and exchanging materials. And they weren’t just using Giphy’s tagging system to communicate u2014 they were also using more advanced techniques like tags placed on images through text overlays.

n

This same process was utilized in other communities, including those associated with white supremacy, bullying, child abuse and more.

n

This isn’t the first time Giphy has faced criticism for content on its site. Last year a report by The Verge described the company’s struggles to fend off illegal and banned content. Last year the company was booted from Instagram for letting through racist content.

n

Giphy is far from alone, but it is the latest example of companies not getting it right. Earlier this year and following a tip, TechCrunch commissioned then-AntiToxin to investigate the child sex abuse imagery problem on Microsoft’s search engine Bing. Under close supervision by the Israeli authorities, the company found dozens of illegal images in the results from searching certain keywords. When The New York Times followed up on TechCrunch’s report last week, its reporters found Bing had done little in the months that had passed to prevent child sex abuse content appearing in its search results.

n

It was a damning rebuke on the company’s efforts to combat child abuse in its search results, despite pioneering its PhotoDNA photo detection tool, which the software giant built a decade ago to identify illegal images based off a huge database of hashes of known child abuse content.

n

Giphy’s Gibson said the company was “recently approved” to use Microsoft’s PhotoDNA but did not say if it was currently in use.

n

Where some of the richest, largest and most-resourced tech companies are failing to preemptively limit their platforms’ exposure to illegal content, startups are filling in the content moderation gaps.

n

L1ght, which has a commercial interest in this space, was founded a year ago to help combat online predators, bullying, hate speech, scams and more.

n

The company was started by former Amobee chief executive Zohar Levkovitz and cybersecurity expert Ron Porat, previously the founder of ad-blocker Shine, after Porat’s own son experienced online abuse in the online game Minecraft. The company realized the problem with these platforms was something that had outgrown users’ own ability to protect themselves, and that technology needed to come to their aid.

n

L1ght’s business involves deploying its technology in similar ways as it has done here with Giphy u2014 in order to identify, analyze and predict online toxicity with near real-time accuracy.

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Image search engine Giphy bills itself as providing a “fun and safe way” to search and create animated GIFs. But despite its ban on illicit content, the site is littered with self-harm and child sex abuse imagery, TechCrunch has learned. A new report from Israeli online child protection startup L1ght u2014 previously AntiToxin Technologies u2014 […]

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top VCs are investing in real estate and proptech (Part 1 of 2)"},"content":{"rendered":"

The multi-trillion dollar global real estate market is getting flipped on its head.

n

Business model innovation, data accessibility and the proliferation of mobile, SaaS and other cloud-native software have already given rise to a cohort of tech unicorns that sit amongst the world’s most influential real estate companies. Emerging technologies and growing capabilities across machine learning, 5G, IoT and more u2014 coupled with fast-moving regulations and dramatic cost structure changes u2014 have opened up opportunities for the next wave of innovation across a wide set of multi-billion dollar real estate verticals and sub-verticals.

n

And despite WeWork’s implosion garnering countless headlines in the real estate and technology worlds, venture dollars are continuing to spill into real estate tech (or proptech) companies at a rapidly increasing rate. Just upwards of $16 billion in venture capital has flowed into real estate-related startups in 2019 alone, according to data from Crunchbase and Pitchbook, with major fundraises happening across industrial, commercial, residential, and financial categories.

n

If we follow the money, it’s clear that more and more leading VCs are turning to real estate tech or proptech for ripe opportunities for juicy returns and disruption on a global scale. Given the countless subsectors where exciting new startups are popping up, we asked more than 20 leading real estate VCs who work at firms that span early to growth stages to share where they see opportunity within the colossal real estate category. For purposes of length and clarity, responses have been edited and split up into part oneu00a0and part twou00a0of this survey (in no particular order). In part one of our survey, we hear from:

n n

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

n n

Zach Aarons, MetaProp

n

What trends are you most excited in real estate tech from an investing perspective?

n

We like to track trends that play out in the broader real estate markets. Due to low interest rates and cap rate compression, real estate investors are now looking for yield through investments in non-traditional asset types. Industrial real estate has performed very well over the last few years, and we see a push toward workforce housing, medical real estate, and senior housing. We are looking at investing in technologies that benefit processes within these non-traditional asset classes.

n

How much time are you spending on real estate tech right now? Is the market under-heated, over-heated, or just right?

n

We spend 100% of our time on real estate tech (proptech). The market is definitely hot, but the addressable markets are enormous and adoption is still relatively low and accelerating. We believe that now is a good time to invest in early-stage proptech, provided it’s done prudently.

n

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but donu2019t?

n

We would love to see more startups in the material sciences sector. Innovations like steel, bricks, timber, glass and reinforced concrete are hardly new, and they are still the predominant building materials of today. There have been minor advances like cross-laminated timber; however, we are looking for fundamentally new materials to bring into the building trades.

n

Plus any other thoughts you want to share with TechCrunch readers.

n

Proptech is the most fun sector in the world. No other sector shares the complexities and idiosyncrasies of technology that has to be applied to the built world. We are very lucky we get to do what we do.

n

Pete Flint, NFX

n

Real estate is the biggest asset class in the world by far, but the products available and service proposition surrounding it are still in the early stages of tech adoption. I see at least three major areas of opportunity for startups in real estate tech.

n

First is the real estate transaction process. Starting around 2005, companies like Trulia and Zillow, transformed the consumer research experience and home buyers increasingly began their search online. But the transaction itself spanning brokerage, financing and closing remains largely analog, complicated and inefficient. Thereu2019s an opportunity for startups to provide innovative solutions to help simplify and digitize the transaction process. Example companies in this area are Ribbon and Modus.

n

Second is the rise of alternative (or professionalized) living arrangements. I see a big opportunity for startups with a strong technology component to provide solutions for the mismatch between the way consumers want to live today and the aging housing supply that was built for a previous era with different needs and demographics. Companies like Lyric and Zeus are building alternative living solutions with a vertically-integrated short term rental strategy, while co-living startups are providing long-term rentals with value-added services.

n

Third is spend around the home. The large costs in time, effort, and money of designing, building, and maintaining a home provide an opportunity for tech-enabled solutions in construction, home management, and home maintenance. For example, Setter is providing a better consumer experience for requesting home maintenance services while Constru is bringing AI and machine vision to lower prices and reduce schedule overrun on construction sites. I see many more opportunities for startups like these in this space.

n

While these are big opportunities, the challenge with investing in real estate tech is to find startups with teams that not only have world-class product and software capabilities, but also world-class knowledge of finance, real estate, and operations. And with the recent WeWork debacle, we have seen a renewed emphasis on the failings of low-margin businesses. So for PropTech startups that are looking for funding today, thereu2019s an increased need to demonstrate good unit economics and long-term margin potential.

n

Ryan Freedman, Corigin Ventures

n

At a high level, I believe we are still in the early innings of proptech u2013 maybe 3rd or 4th inning. I always like to make the comparison to fintech. Technically speaking, real estate is a larger asset class than financial services. Between 2013-2017, fintech had cumulative funding of $62.4B vs. proptechu2019s $10.1B. Even though proptech has ramped up the last few years, we still have a long way to go prior to catching up. In addition, you may recall that PropTech used to be a u201csub-sectoru201d of fintech prior to being its own behemoth category. There are several subsectors within PropTech today, that I think a few years from now will be their own categories u2013 construction tech is one of those.

n

From an investment perspective, weu2019re spending a lot of time in construction tech right now. From a macro standpoint, we feel there is a supply-demand mismatch with respect to the size of the market and the amount of funding in the space. Construction accounts for ~$10T annual spend globally and employs ~7% of the global workforce. In addition, itu2019s one of the most antiquated industries in the world. This summer we spent a ton of time digging into the space and have now made a handful of investments. Weu2019re big believers of founder-market-fit, and this category in particular requires category expertise to navigate a very old-school industry.

n

Another area weu2019re spending time in is broker-tech. Weu2019ve seen the u201ctech-enabled brokerageu201d model be effective in a ton of different industries including PropTech. A lot of investors believe this space is u201ccrowdedu201d u2013 which is true in some sub-sectors (i.e. residential) u2013 but when you look closely within the commercial real estate industry, we believe there is a massive opportunity to disrupt traditional real estate capital markets firms.

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The multi-trillion dollar global real estate market is getting flipped on its head. Business model innovation, data accessibility and the proliferation of mobile, SaaS and other cloud-native software have already given rise to a cohort of tech unicorns that sit amongst the world’s most influential real estate companies. Emerging technologies and growing capabilities across machine […]

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Image via Getty Images / naruecha jenthaisong

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Salesforce is moving Marketing Cloud to Microsoft Azure"},"content":{"rendered":"

When Salesforce announced this week that it was moving Marketing Cloud to Microsoft Azure, it was easy to see this as another case of wacky enterprise partnerships. But there had to be sound business reasons why the partnership came together, rather than going with AWS or Google Cloud Platform, both of which are also Salesforce partners in other contexts.

n

If you ask Salesforce, it says it was ultimately because of compatibility with Microsoft SQL.

n

“Salesforce chose Azure because it is a trusted platform with a global footprint, multi-layered security approach, robust disaster recovery strategy with auto failover, automatic updates and more,” a Salesforce spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Marketing Cloud also has a long standing relationship with Microsoft SQL which makes the transition to SQL on Azure a natural decision.”

n

Except for the SQL part, Microsoft’s chief rivals at AWS and Google Cloud Platform also provide those benefits. In fact, each of those reasons cited by the spokesperson u2014 with the exception of SQL u2014 are all part of the general cloud infrastructure value proposition that all the major cloud vendors provide.

n

There’s probably more to it than simply compatibility. There is also a long-standing rivalry between the two companies, and why in spite of their competition, they continue to make deals like this in the spirit of co-opetition. We spoke to a few industry experts to get their take on the deal to find out why these two seeming rivals decided to come together.

n

Retailer’s dilemma

n

Tony Byrne, founder and principal analyst at Real Story Group, thinks it could be related to the fact it’s a marketing tool and some customers may be wary about hosting their businesses on AWS while competing with Amazon on the retail side. This is a common argument for why retail customers in particular are more likely to go with Microsoft or Google over AWS.

n

“Salesforce Marketing Cloud tends to target B2C enterprises, so the choice of Azure makes sense in one context where some B2C firms are wary of Amazon for competitive reasons. But I’d also imagine there’s more to the decision than that,” Byrne said.

","protected":false},"excerpt":{"rendered":"

When Salesforce announced this week that it was moving Marketing Cloud to Microsoft Azure, it was easy to see this as another case of wacky enterprise partnerships. But there had to be sound business reasons why the partnership came together, rather than going with AWS or Google Cloud Platform, both of which are also Salesforce […]

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Ron Miller has been writing about the enterprise at TechCrunch since 2014.

nn

Previously, he was a long-time Contributing Editor at EContent Magazine. Past regular gigs included CITEworld, DaniWeb, TechTarget, Internet Evolution and FierceContentManagement.

nn

Disclosures:

nn

Ron is currently corporate blogger for Intronis where he writes once weekly on IT issues. He has contributed to various corporate blogs in the past including Ness, Novell and the IBM Mid-market Blogger Program.

","cbAvatar":"https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/diuuw7dfbczpdwmcpldm","twitter":"ron_miller"}],"author":[{"id":521068,"name":"Ron Miller","url":"","description":"","link":"https://techcrunch.com/author/ron-miller/","slug":"ron-miller","avatar_urls":{"24":"https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/0b82cfe9f0e15c08c5816481c9f383d9?s=24&d=identicon&r=g","48":"https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/0b82cfe9f0e15c08c5816481c9f383d9?s=48&d=identicon&r=g","96":"https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/0b82cfe9f0e15c08c5816481c9f383d9?s=96&d=identicon&r=g"},"links":{"homepage":"https://techcrunch.com/author/ron-miller/","twitter":"https://twitter.com/ron_miller","linkedin":"http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronsmiller","crunchbase":"https://www.crunchbase.com/person/ron-miller"},"position":"Enterprise Reporter","cbDescription":"

Ron Miller has been writing about the enterprise at TechCrunch since 2014.

nn

Previously, he was a long-time Contributing Editor at EContent Magazine. Past regular gigs included CITEworld, DaniWeb, TechTarget, Internet Evolution and FierceContentManagement.

nn

Disclosures:

nn

Ron is currently corporate blogger for Intronis where he writes once weekly on IT issues. He has contributed to various corporate blogs in the past including Ness, Novell and the IBM Mid-market Blogger Program.

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Earlier this month, at the WebSummit conference in Lisbon, D-Wave and Volkswagen teamed up to manage a fleet of buses using a new system that, among other things, used D-Wave’s quantum technology to help generate the most efficient routes. While D-Wave’s 2000Q only played a small part in this process, it’s nevertheless a sign that quantum computing is slowly getting ready for production use and that D-Wave’s approach, somewhat controversial in its early days, is paying off.

n

Unlike other players in the quantum computing market, D-Wave always bet on quantum annealing as its core technology. This technology lends itself perfectly to optimization problems like the kind of routing problem the company tackled with VW, as well as sampling problems, which, in the context of quantum computing, are useful for improving machine learning models, for example. Depending on their complexity, some of these problems are nearly impossible to solve with classical computers (at least in a reasonable time).

n

Grossly simplified, with quantum annealing, you are building a system that almost naturally optimizes itself for the lowest energy state, which then represents the solution to your problem.

n

Microsoft, IBM, Rigetti and others are mostly focused on building gate-model quantum computers and they are starting to see results (with the exception of Microsoft, which doesn’t have a working computer just yet and is hence betting on partnerships for the time being). But this is also a far more complex problem. And while you can’t really compare these technologies qubit to qubit, it’s telling that D-Wave’s latest machines, the Advantage, will feature 5,000 qubits u2014 while the state of the art among the gate-model proponents is just over 50. Scaling these machines up is hard, though, especially given that the industry is still trying to figure out how to manage the noise issues.

n

D-Wave remains the only major player that’s betting on annealing, but the company’s CEO Vern Brownell remains optimistic that this is the right approach. “We feel more strongly about our decision to do quantum annealing now that there are a few companies that actually have quantum computers that people can access,” he said in an interview earlier this month.

n

“We have customers, Volkswagen included, that have run problems against those other computers and seeing what they can actually do and it’s vastly different. Our capability is many orders of magnitude faster for most problems than what you can do with other quantum computers. And that is because of the choice of quantum annealing. And that is because quantum healing is more robust to errors.” Error correction, he argues, remains the fundamental problem, and will hamper the performance of these systems for the foreseeable future. “And in order to move into the enterprise or any kind of practical application, that error correction needs to be wrestled with,” he noted.

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Earlier this month, at the WebSummit conference in Lisbon, D-Wave and Volkswagen teamed up to manage a fleet of buses using a new system that, among other things, used D-Wave’s quantum technology to help generate the most efficient routes. While D-Wave’s 2000Q only played a small part in this process, it’s nevertheless a sign that […]

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

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from Nvidiau2019s latest quarterly earnings"},"content":{"rendered":"

Nvidia has been on a wild growth ride the past five years. Surfing a wave around AI deep learning and cryptocurrency where its specialized chip architecture is among the highest performing, the companyu2019s share price rose from the low $20s in late 2014 to eventually soar to almost $300 in September 2018. And then crypto winter set in, and within weeks the companyu2019s market cap was sliced nearly in half as crypto miners canceled their orders and inventories at Nvidia started building up a glut of chips.

n n

Since that nadir in late 2018, the company has mostly been on the upswing as it has pushed expansion into a variety of other verticals like automotive, most notably by announcing the purchase of Israeli chip maker Mellanox for $6.9 billion in an all cash deal.

n n

So with its latest earnings announcement coming after the bell yesterday, the big questions were how it was continuing to navigate chip inventories, and whether its transaction with Mellanox would close. The company ultimately presented a bit of a mixed bag, and Wall Street seems to have barely budged on the stock price as we all wait resolution on some of the key questions facing the company.

n

Before we dive into the analysis, first the high level numbers for Q3, which ended on October 27: top-line revenues declined slightly to just above $3 billion, from roughly $3.2 billion in the year ago quarter. Gross profits were flat from a year ago, but net income was down 27% to $899 million, mostly due to higher R&D costs and lower income from operations. Earnings per share was $1.47, down from $2.02 a year ago.

n

Now though, there were some more interesting takeaways from the results beyond the sort of lukewarm numbers emanating off the income statements.

n

China trade war still affecting Nvidia through Mellanox

n

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Nvidia has been on a wild growth ride the past five years. Surfing a wave around AI deep learning and cryptocurrency where its specialized chip architecture is among the highest performing, the companyu2019s share price rose from the low $20s in late 2014 to eventually soar to almost $300 in September 2018. And then crypto […]

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

nn

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

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

nn

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

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your startup’s value so you can communicate it to investors"},"content":{"rendered":"

Iu2019ve always told companies that investors have a much easier job than they do. To be good at their jobs, investors have to know how to do math and make decisions. As a business owner, you have to do both while also running your business.

n

The math piece can seem cumbersome, but itu2019s vital for understanding whether your company is creating or destroying value. A few simple metrics can demonstrate to investors the health and viability of your company, and they can show you which levers to pull that will best optimize your company for investor interest (and secure a higher price). But before you can ever hope to communicate your businessu2019 value to an investor, you must understand it yourself.

n

The numbers are simple; itu2019s the calculations that are complex

n

Investment math itself is not complicated. In essence, itu2019s just about understanding whether your company is creating or destroying value by asking:

n
    n
  • Whereu00a0is your company investing itsu00a0financial resources?u00a0Most growing companies invest heavily in sales and marketing or research and development.
  • n
  • What is the return on this investment?u00a0u00a0For example, how much gross profit (revenue x gross margin percentage) does a given sales and marketing investment produce?
  • n
  • How does that number compare to your cost of capital?u00a0If itu2019s higher, your company is creating value. If itu2019s lower, youu2019re destroying it.
  • n
n

Investors use this information to determine if their return would be higher than their expectation (e.g., 15% hurdle rate), should you continue down your current path of creating or destroying value. Then, they make their decision based on that calculation.

n

A caveat Iu2019ll add here is that itu2019s not necessarily a deal-breaker if your company is declining in value. Oil rigs, after all, are considered investment assets, even though they are perpetually declining and will eventually run out (i.e., destroy all of their value). Although this article focuses on calculations that demonstrate value creation, all investment assets can be financed at the right price.

n

A deep dive into calculating value

n

One of the best metrics you can use to demonstrate value creation is your cohort-level return on investment. Itu2019s a calculation most investors are familiar with, but it may not be as straightforward to companies who donu2019t see it as often. Again, while the metrics and concepts of investment math are simple, itu2019s the process of getting there that requires complex analysis.

n

Whether you are evaluating these metrics yourself or bringing in outside counsel to assist you, use the process below to show investors you are creating value.

n

Determine which information to analyze

n

The first step in calculating value is to understand which information from your income and cash flow statements to analyze as u201cinvestments.u201d

n

Start by dividing your capital allocation into three main buckets: short-term investments, long-term investments and expenses. In general, short-term investments will be the ones you want to focus on, but itu2019s helpful to walk through each.

n
    n
  • Short-term investments (pay back within 24 months)
    ","protected":false},"excerpt":{"rendered":"

    Understanding whether youu2019re creating or destroying value is the first step in communicating to investors why your company is worth their money.

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    Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the chief product officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed.

    n

    Now the 37-year-old leader will be putting his inspirational demeanor and keen strategy sense to work to protect the environment and improve the government. Today at Wired25 conference, Cox finally shared more about his work advising political technology developer for progressives Acronym, and climate change-tracking satellite startup Planet Labs. He also explained more about the circumstances of his departure from the social network’s C-suite.

    n

    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Chris Cox speaks onstage at the WIRED25 Summit 2019 – Day 1 at Commonwealth Club on November 08, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED)

    n

    Leaving Facebook

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    On how he felt leaving Facebook, Cox said, “part of the reason I was okay leaving was that afteru00a02016 I’d spent a couple years building out a bunch of the teams that I felt were most important to sort of take the lessons that we learned through some of 2016 and start to put in place institutions that can help the company, be more responsible and be a better communicator on some of the key issues.”

    n
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    LIVE: Chris Cox, Former Chief Product Officer, Facebook, in conversation with WIRED's Lauren Goode

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    LIVE: We're live with Chris Cox, former Chief Product Officer, Facebook, from our #WIRED25 summit in conversation with WIRED senior writer Lauren Goode.

    n

    Posted by WIRED on Friday, November 8, 2019

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    n
    n

    As for what specifically drove him to leave, Cox explained that, “It wasn’t something where I felt I wanted to spend another 13 years on social media. Mark and I saw things a little bit differently . . . I think we are still investigatingu00a0as an industry, how do you balance protecting the privacy of people’s information and continuingu00a0to keep people safe,” Cox said.

    n

    On whether moving toward encryption was part of that, he said he thinks encryption is “great: and that “It offers an enormous amount of protection,” but noted “it certainly makes some of those things more complicated” on the privacy versus safety balance. He complemented Facebook’s efforts to build ways of catching bad actors even if they’re shielded by encryption. That includes digital literacy initiatives in Brazil and India ahead of elections, and offering forwarding systems for sending questionable information to fact checkers. “I think there are pros and cons with these systems and I’m not a hard-liner on any one of them,” Cox said, and noted that what Facebook is building is “resonant with what people want.”

    n

    Cox was asked about the major debate about whether Facebook should allow political advertising. “We think political advertising can be good and helpful. It often favors up and comers versus incumbents.” Still, on fact-checking, he said, “I’m a big fan,” even though Facebook isn’t applying that to political ads. He did note that “I think the company should investigate and is investigating micro targeting . . . if there’s hundreds of variants being run of the creative thenu00a0it’s tricky to get your arms around what’s being said.” He also advocated for more context in the user interface distinguishing political ads.u00a0

    n

    Chris Cox speaks at Wired25

    n

    Cox’s next projects

    n

    Since leaving Facebook, Cox has joined the advisory board of a group called Acronym, which is helping to build out the campaign and messaging technology stack for progressive candidates. “This is an area where my perception is that the progressives have been behind on the ability to develop and use as a team infrastructure that helps you have a good voter file, how to develop messaging —u00a0just basic politics in 2019.”

    n

    Wired’s Lauren Goode asked if he was aligning himself with progressives, taking a political stance, and whether he could do that while still at Facebook. “Absolutely not,” Cox responded.And why is that I think when you’re in a veryu00a0senior role at a platform, you have a duty to be much more neutral in your politics.”

    n

    He then came out with a bold statement enabled by his independence. “I think Trump should not be our president. The other thing I care a lot about right now is climate change and he’s not going to help us there.”

    n

    n

    That led to Cox discussing that he’s also been working to advise San Francisco startup Planet Labs, which is using satellite imagery to track climate change. “The vision was to build these small, about shoebox-size satellites with solar panel panel wings and have a fleet of them in space, which is real-time imaging the Earth.”

    n

    With that data, Cox explained you can track wildfires, deforestation, coal power plants, methane gas and more. Then, “You can start to contribute to having a health system, where you are basically imaging the Earth every hour, and then you’re creating some public data set with tools that plug into decision makers, banks, insurance companies, policymakers, investors, journalists, students…”

    n

    Asked about big tech’s responsibility for addressing climate change, Cox said “I think at the very least it’s making a commitment to being carbon-negative.”

    n

    Acronym and Planet Labs’ work intertwines, as Cox believes climate data proves the need for someone new in the Oval Office. While Cox didn’t discuss it onstage, Wired listed him as part of Shasta Group, which is Cox’s own vehicle for contributing to these projects. Still, he’s not ready to launch a full-fledged company of his own in politics and climate. “I’m still so youngu00a0at this field that I don’t have enough confidence in my own mental model of the world.”

    n

    Cox concluded that by harnessing big company’s employees and having team leaders put more attention on climate change, “I do think tech can lead.”u00a0

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    Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the chief product officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed. Now […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    nn

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

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