Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen is relinquishing the CEO seat to another co-founder Yancey Strickler. Chen, in turn, is becoming chairman of the 5-year-old crowdfunding platform. “This is a significant change in the company’s management structure, but it shouldn’t impact the company and its mission,” GigaOm writes. In a blog post, Chen said he wants to focus on the big picture, while taking time for other creative endeavors.
Why are Web startups attracting so much investment capital at such high valuations? “One possibility is that these quick follow-ons reflect early-stage investor concerns that we’re nearing a market top for consumer-facing Internet companies, and therefore are encouraging their entrepreneurs to take large rounds while still available,” Fortune surmises. Either way, “Raising fast doesn't necessarily correlate to a company's ultimate success or failure,” it notes.
Forbes is really excited about mobile RTB, and, in particular, Flurry’s mobile ad exchange. What makes Flurry so special? It’s “trove of mobile-app-user data that is bigger in reach than Google and Facebook,” Forbes reports. That’s because more than 400,000 apps now use Flurry’s analytics tool, “and, in return, funnel much of that user data back to Flurry,” Forbes notes. “Flurry thus has a pipe into more than 1.2 billion devices globally and is inside seven to ten apps per device.”
Marissa Mayer is reportedly preparing to drop her axe on hundreds of underperforming Yahoo employees. As Kara Swisher writes in AllThingsD, Mayer’s motivation is rooted in an internal “goals” memo that she sent to employees, last year, and which outlined a new system of evaluating employee efficacy. “I have gotten reports from Yahoos scattered in offices all over the world that some employees have already been let go -- with severance packages -- based on these weak reviews,” Swisher writes.
How many iterations of Google Glass will be necessary before the gadget appeals to a mass consumer audience? Determined to find out, Google is showing off the second version of Glass -- which is expected to roll out (in limited numbers) later this year. “On top of introducing a new mono earbud … Google said the hardware revision will also make Glass compatible with new lines of sunglasses and prescription frames and [product testers] will have their choice of colors,” 9To5Google reports.
Rather than requiring users to click a link, Twitter is now letting photo and video previews appear as expanded images directly within tweets. Response appears to be mixed, GigaOm reports. “Some fans of the move welcomed the new feature, but others seemed taken aback by all of the multimedia filling their streams, and by the Facebook-style feel it gives to Twitter.” The feature will no doubt appeal to advertisers, “who now get to insert what amount to banner ads into their streams.”
Did Intel’s Web TV business just bust before it began? “Sources say the chipmaker is close to a deal to hand over control of Intel Media, the unit that has been trying to build a Web-based subscription TV service, to Verizon,” AllThingsD reports. The two companies are reportedly in advanced negotiations, “but it’s unclear whether Verizon would take control of the entire Intel Media unit, or if Intel would retain a piece of the Web TV project.”
Breaking into the recommendation business, Pinterest will now push “related pins” to users based on the content of their existing content choices. VentureBeat thinks the move has big ad implications. “This could be one step closer to Pinterest’s advertising model, which similarly puts sponsored pins into your stream,” it writes. “This technology, which for now helps you with discovery, might translate into advertising that is personalized.”
Despite beating analyst expectations, Apple’s fiscal fourth-quarter results are stirring concerns about the company’s health. In particular, “fears over the company’s profit initially spooked investors, who pushed Apple’s stock price down more than 3% in after-hours trading,” reports Time.com. “The company sold more iPhones and Mac computers -- but fewer iPads and iPods -- than analysts had expected.”
Without a clear launch date, Google is reportedly ready to begin mass-producing its own smartwatch. “The new device … will be integrated with Google Now, the company's intelligent personal assistant that can answer questions, make recommendations and predict what information users need based on what they are doing,” The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources.