WhatsApp adds voice and video calling to desktop app

WhatsApp is rolling out support for voice and video calling to its desktop app, the Facebook-owned messaging service said Thursday, providing relief to countless people sitting in front of computers who have had to reach for their phone every time their WhatsApp rang.

For now, WhatsApp said its nearly five-year-old desktop app for Mac and Windows will only support one-to-one calls for now, but that it will be expanding this feature to include group voice and video calls “in the future.”

Video calls work “seamlessly” for both portrait and landscape orientation, and the desktop client is “set to be always on top so you never lose your video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows,” the firm said, which began testing the feature with a small group of users on desktop late last year.

Speaking of which, support for voice and video calls is not being extended to WhatsApp Web, the browser version of the service, at the moment, a spokesperson told TechCrunch. (Facebook launched dedicated desktop app for its Messenger service last year, which supports group video calls.)

The new feature support should come in handy to millions of people who use WhatsApp’s desktop client everyday and have had to use Zoom or Google Meet for one-to-one video calls on desktop partly because of convenience.

WhatsApp, used by over 2 billion people, hasn’t shared how popular video and voice calls are on its platform, but said it processed over 1.4 billion calls on New Year’s Eve — the day usage tends to peak on the Facebook-owned platform.

Like the 100 billion messages that WhatsApp processes on its platform each day, voice and video calls are also end-to-end encrypted, it said.

Once known for taking quarters to push a feature improvement to its app, WhatsApp has visibly grown more aggressive with adding new features in the past year. In late January, Facebook added opt-in biometric fingerprint, face, or iris scan authentication for WhatsApp on desktop and the web, an additional protection layer that makes more sense after today’s update.

It rolled out ephemeral messages, photos, and videos that disappear after seven days late last year, and also rolled out its payments service in India, its biggest market by users.

The new feature additions come as WhatsApp is attempting to convince users to agree to its planned changes to privacy policy — which has received some heat on Tech Twitter. Whether those concerns raised by a handful of people on Twitter extend to the larger population remain to be seen.


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A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.

The explosive (and inclusive) potential of NFTs in the creative world

Digital collectibles are having a very large moment. Just last month, a piece of digital art by Beeple sold for $6.6 million on online art marketplace Nifty Gateway. Meanwhile, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda recently sold clips of a song via online marketplace Zora. Over on Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot, more than 200,000 people recently waited hours for the chance to buy one of just 10,631 packs of digital NBA moments.

Those marketplaces, along with others, are where people go to buy digital assets, or, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that live on the blockchain. This whole world of NFTs is super new to me (I’ve only been using Top Shot for a couple of weeks now) so I caught up with a couple of NFT creators to break it down for me, as well as share some insights on where they think the space is going, and it’s overall potential.

“The way I like to explain NFTs, they are digital assets with true ownership and provenance,” Ronin the Collector told TechCrunch. “You can track their origin and they can only be owned by one person.”

Many people, myself included, at some point wonder why someone would pay for a short video clip of, for example, Stephen Curry making a three-pointer when you download it to your computer for free.

“Humans inherently, whether we will like to admit it or not, want to own things,” Ronin said. “And I think that that’s part of the human experience is owning things. When you own things, it’s a connection, and it’s like you have reason for being and there’s something unique about ownership. And I think that at the end of the day, yeah, you can you can watch it all you want. But can you sell it?”

This is the one! All the 🔥🔥🔥@nba_topshothttps://t.co/KBFsTK1IIs?

— Big Italy (@BigItaly42) February 26, 2021

With that clip as an NFT, you can. As an example, one user bought a LeBron James dunk for $208,000 a couple of weeks ago, according to CryptoSlam. Last month, Top Shot reached nearly $50 million in marketplace transactions. Then, over a 24-hour period last week, Top Shot saw more than $37 million in sales, according to Cryptoslam.

As to why they’re blowing up right now, Ronin attributes it to a couple of things: the pandemic that’s forced everyone behind a computer screen and an easy entry point. Top Shot, for example, makes it super easy for plebeians like me to sign up and you don’t need to have a crypto wallet. You can just use your credit card. The same goes for Nifty Gateway.

But Top Shot and Nifty are outliers, Ronin said. For the majority of NFT platforms, you need to have an Ethereum wallet. As Cooper Turley, crypto strategy lead at Audius, wrote on TC, “this means collectors need to purchase ETH from an exchange like Coinbase and send it to a non-custodial address that consists of a long string of numbers and letters to get started.”

That sounds like a whole thing that I, for one, am not ready to dive into. In general, barriers to access continue to be a problem in the NFTs space, Ronin said.

“Projects are just now starting to pay attention to the user experience,” he said. “And just barely in time. One of the best rooms I’ve been on Clubhouse was one that talked about how basically, with the whole world watching, how do we not mess this up. So I think when you have a product like Top Shot, which is easy to get into, easy to sign up for, and easy to purchase. You have to use a credit card, you don’t need crypto and throw in the mix that everyone’s online and then Beeple sells $3 million worth of digital art, and all of a sudden, people want to pay attention. So I think that was the catalyst.”

But an even more expansive and interesting arena for NFTs than Top Shot is the world of NFT art. Ameer Carter, an artist that is also known as Sirsu, got into NFTs last summer thanks to a friend, he told TechCrunch. Pretty much immediately, he said, he realized the transformative nature of the technology.

“We literally have creative immortality,” he told me he realized at the time.

But the art world has historically been inhospitable to Black folks and people of color, and especially in the world of NFTs, Carter said. The traditional art scene, Carter said, is elitist. And while Carter himself is a classically trained artist, he hasn’t been able to make his way into the traditional art world, he said.

“And it’s not because of lack of trying,” he said.

Carter said he’s had a number of conversations with art curators who all love his work, but they’ve told him it’s not “something that they could build a whole curriculum around and intellectualize,” he said. What NFTs do is enable artists like Carter to create and share their art in a way that hadn’t previously been afforded to them.

SIRSU Trading Card Series, “Androinomicon” explores themes of human nature through alliteration and android motifs.

Pack two: Pile / Push / Pull.27 remaining! pic.twitter.com/XwmA04W01J

— (vain) sirsu.eth (@sirsuhayb) January 27, 2021

“And this is a much more open and accessible platform, and environment for them to do so,” Carter said. “And so my goal is to help really give them that type of visibility and empower them to be creatives. My mission is to remove the starving artists stigma. I don’t believe that creativity is cheap. I believe that it is rich. And it enriches and it gives us the reasons why we live in the first place.”

However, Carter said he’s begun to notice white folks taking credit for things Black artists have already done.

“There’s this push and pull between folks who are really about the provenance of the blockchain versus folks who are wanting to predispose themselves as first because they have more visibility,” Carter said.

He pointed to Black artists like Connie Digital, Harrison First and others who were some of the first people to institute social tokens for their fans on the blockchain.

“They were some of the first to deploy and sell albums as NFTs, EPs as NFTs, singular songs,” Carter said. “And now we have Blau that came out and people were saying he’s the first to sell an album. And it’s like, well, that’s not true, technically. But what works and has continued to work is because there’s a lot of hoopla and a lot of money around that sale, that becomes the formative thing as being first because it’s the one that’s made the most noise. And I find it interesting because of the fact that we can literally go back tangibly, and there’s verifiable hash proof that it wasn’t the case.”

These are the types of phenomena pushing Carter to become an NFT archivist of sorts, he said.

“I’m not necessarily a historian, but I think the more and more I get involved in this space, the more and more I feel that pressing role of being an archivist,” he said. “So that culturally, we aren’t erased, even in a space that’s supposed to be decentralized and supposed to be something that works for everyone.”

That’s partly why Carter is building The Well to archive the work of Black artists, like Blacksneakers, for example. The Well will also be a platform for Black artists to mint their NFTs in a place that feels safe, supportive and not exploitative, he said.

Image Credits: Black Sneakers via SuperRare (opens in a new window)

On current platforms, Carter said it feels like white artists generally get more promotions on the site, as well as on social media, than Black artists.

“They deserve to have that kind of artists’ growth and development,” Carter said. “Yet it is afforded to a lot of other artists that don’t look like them.”

Carter said he recognizes it’s not the responsibility of platforms like Nifty Gateway, SuperRare and others to provide opportunities to Black artists, but that they do have the ability to put Black artists in a better position to receive opportunities.

That’s partly what Carter hopes to achieve with The Well Protocol. The Well, which Carter plans to launch on Juneteenth, aims to create an inclusive platform and ecosystem for NFT artists, collectors and curators. Carter said he wants artists to not have to feel like they have to constantly leverage Twitter to showcase their work. Instead, they’ll have the full backing of an ecosystem pumping up their work.

“Everywhere else, you look at other artists and they have write-ups, and they have news coverage and things of that nature,” Carter said. “And [Black artists] don’t have a lot of those avenues to compete. You know, I’m in the business of building true equity for us, so part and parcel to that is developing the tools and the ecosystem for us to thrive.”

No longer should art just be for the rich, Carter said.

“We have the ability to completely dismantle that,” he said. “So we have to be very, very, very careful about that and make a concerted effort to make that thing work, but we can’t do it when we have folks entering the space with money erasing folks who were already here. We can’t have that where platforms are not allowing the positioning of artists to grow. You know, we can’t have that when we have folks by and large, fear mongering and trying to get other artists to not be a part of this system.”

It’s also important, he said, for NFTs to not solely be seen as collectible, investable objects.

“Everyone’s getting into the game like it’s a money grab,” he said. “It’s not. It’s playing with artists lives and careers here.”

For those who aren’t yet in on NFTs, there’s still time, Ronin said. Even with the increased attention on NFTs, Ronin says it’s still early days.

“Honestly, I don’t even think we’ve got a full foot into early adoption yet,” he said. “I don’t think you come out of early adoption until we’ve got a solid experience across the board. I think we’re still in alpha.”

That’s partly because Ronin believes the things people will be able to do in five or ten years with this technology will pale in comparison to what’s happening today. For example, Ronin said he spoke with an artist who is experimenting with an NFT experience that will transcend VR, AR and XR.

“And I’m so excited that she chose to work with me and bring me in on this, and use me as kind of an advisor,” he said. “And she can change the world with this technology.”

That’s really what’s so exciting about NFTs for Ronin — the notion that the technology can change your life, and the world, he said.

“And it is a space in which you should feel free to come into and dream big and then figure out how to make those dreams happen,” he said. “You can use AR, VR, mobile, you know, the internet — you can use all these aspects and create an NFT experience that transcends space, transcends time, transcends our life. So it’s a super powerful technology. And I think that people should really pay attention.”

Down the road, Ronin also envisions having connected blockchains “where you can take an NFT from, you know, Bitcoin to Ethereum to WAX to Flow,” he said. “I really think that it’s why this this is that important.”

For Carter, he hopes his work at The Well will help to set a precedent for inclusivity and access in the NFT space. It’s worth mentioning that Carter is also working on the Mint Fund to help minimize the barriers to entry for artists looking to mint their first NFTs. Minting an NFT can be expensive to the tune of $50-$250 depending on how busy the Ethereum network is, and Mint Fund will pay those fees for new artists, making the on-ramp into the world smoother.

“If we don’t do this the right way with the right type of community-driven thinking, then we will lose,” he said. “And it’s not going to look good, it’s going to be ugly. And it’s going to again perpetuate the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer…We have to find the best ways to redistribute wealth at any given point in time within this economy, within this system. If we do not know how to do that, we are fucked. At least in my opinion.”

There are also conversations in the space around the ecological impact of minting NFTs, which requires a good amount of energy to do. Carter described the existence of two camps: the camp arguing minting NFTs are very ecologically damaging and the ones saying it’s not the fault of minters and you can’t blame them “for minting on a system that is already going to process these transactions, whether they mint or not.”

For Carter, he thinks the first camp could be right, but says there’s just a lot of yelling at this point.

“I think that collectively, us as minters should not feel so fucked up that we can’t do anything anymore,” he said.

Carter also pointed to the energy required to print and ship a bunch of his work.

“To sell one piece of art that I’ve minted versus the energy expenditure and the emissions it takes for me to sell, let’s say 1,000 prints at $20,” he said. “To now shop those to 1,000 different places and for those things to then be transported to 1,000 different homes. Like, maybe they’re comparable, maybe they’re not. I’m not too interested in doing the math at this point.”

Ultimately, Carter thinks there needs to be better access to renewable energy sources and more innovative hardware in the space.

“And the production of creating that innovative hardware also has to be coming from renewable energy sources, like the entire framework should be working to be carbon negative,” he said. “As carbon neutral to carbon negative as possible. And not just the minting side but the mining side. And, you know, the manufacturing side. It’s a cyclical issue.”


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A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.

What the NFT? VC David Pakman dumbs down the intensifying digital collectibles frenzy

Non-fungible tokens have been around for two years, but these NFTs, one-of-one digital items on the Ethereum and other blockchains, are suddenly becoming a more popular way to collect visual art primarily, whether it’s an animated cat or an NBA clip or virtual furniture.

“Suddenly” is hardly an overstatement. According to the outlet Cointelegraph, during the second half of last year, $9 million worth of NFT goods sold to buyers; during one 24-hour window earlier this week, $60 million worth of digital goods were sold.

What’s going on? A thorough New York Times piece on the trend earlier this week likely fueled new interest, along with a separate piece in Esquire about the artist Beeple, a Wisconsin dad whose digital drawings, which he has created every single day for the last 13 years, began selling like hotcakes in December. If you need further evidence of a tipping point (and it is ample right now), consider that the work of Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, was just made available through Christie’s. It’s the venerable auction house’s first sale of exclusively digital work.

To better understand the market and why it’s blowing up in real time, we talked this week with David Pakman, a former internet entrepreneur who joined the venture firm Venrock a dozen years ago and began tracking Bitcoin soon after, even mining the cryptocurrency at his Bay Area home beginning in 2015. (“People would come over and see racks of computers, and it was like, ‘It’s sort of hard to explain.’”)

Perhaps it’s no surprise that he also became convinced early on of the promise of NFTs, persuading Venrock to lead the $15 million Series A round for a young startup, Dapper Labs, when its primary offering was CryptoKitties, limited-edition digital cats that can be bought and bred with cryptocurrency.

While the concept baffled some at the time, Pakman has long seen the day when Dapper’s offerings will be far more extensive, and indeed, a recent Dapper deal with the NBA to sell collectible highlight clips has already attracted so much interest that Dapper is reportedly right now raising $250 million in new funding at a post-money valuation of $2 billion. While Pakman declined to confirm or correct that figure, he did answer our other questions in a chat that’s been edited here for length and clarity.

TC: David, dumb things down for us. Why is the world so gung-ho about NFTs right now?

DP: One of the biggest problems with crypto — the reason it scares so many people — is it uses all these really esoteric terms to explain very basic concepts, so let’s just keep it really simple. About 40% of humans collect things — baseball cards, shoes, artwork, wine. And there’s a whole bunch of psychological reasons why. Some people have a need to complete a set. Some people do it for investment reasons. Some people want an heirloom to pass down. But we could only collect things in the real world because digital collectibles were too easy to copy.

Then the blockchain came around and [it allowed us to] make digital collectibles immutable, with a record of who owns what that you can’t really copy. You can screenshot it, but you don’t really own the digital collectible, and you won’t be able to do anything with that screenshot. You won’t be able to to sell it or trade it. The proof is in the blockchain. So I was a believer that crypto-based collectibles could be really big and actually could be the thing that takes crypto mainstream and gets the normals into participating in crypto — and that’s exactly what’s happening now.

TC: You mentioned a lot of reasons that people collect items, but one you didn’t mention is status. Assuming that’s one’s motivation, how do you show off what you’ve amassed online? 

DP: You’re right that one of the other reasons why we collect is to show it off status, but I would actually argue it’s much easier to show off our collections in the digital world. If I’m a car collector, the only way you’re going to see my cars is to come over to the garage. Only a certain number of people can do that. But online, we can display our digital collections. NBA Top Shop, for example, makes it very easy for you to show off your moments. Everyone has a page and there’s an app that’s coming and you can just show it off to anyone in your app, and you can post it to your social networks. And it’s actually really easy to show off how big or exciting your collection is.

TC: It was back in October that Dapper rolled out these video moments, which you buy almost like a Pokemon set in that you’re buying a pack and know you’ll get something “good” but don’t know what. But while almost half it sales have come in through the last week. Why?

DP: There’s only about maybe 30,000 or 40,000 people playing right now. It’s growing 50% or 100% a day. But the growth has been completely organic. The game is actually still in beta, so we haven’t been doing any marketing other than posting some stuff on Twitter. There hasn’t been attempt to market this and get a lot of players [talking about it] because we’re still working the bugs out, and there are a lot of bugs still to be worked out.

But a couple NBA players have seen this and gotten excited about their own moments [on social media]. And there’s maybe a little bit of machismo going on where, ‘Hey, I want my moment to trade for a higher price.’ But I also think it’s the normals who are playing this. All you need to play is a credit card, and something like 65% of the people playing have never owned or traded in crypto before. So I think the thesis that crypto collectibles could be the thing that brings mainstream users into crypto is playing out before our eyes.

TC: How does Dapper get paid?

DP: We get 5% of secondary sales and 100% minus the cost of the transaction on primary sales. Of course, we have a relationship with the NBA, which collects some of that, too. But that’s the basic economics of how the system works.

TC: Does the NBA have a minimum that it has to be paid every year, and then above and beyond that it receives a cut of the action?

DP: I don’t think the company has gone public with the exact economic terms of their relationships with the NBA and the Players Association. But obviously the NBA is the IP owner, and the teams and the players have economic participation in this, which is good, because they’re the ones that are creating the intellectual property here.

But a lot of the appreciation of these moments — if you get one in a pack and you sell it for a higher price — 95% of that appreciation goes to the owner. So it’s very similar to baseball cards, but now IP owners can participate through the life of the product in the downstream economic activity of their intellectual property, which I think is super appealing whether you’re the NBA or someone like Disney, who’s been in the IP licensing business for decades.

And it’s not just major IP where this NFT space is happening. It’s individual creators, musicians, digital artists who could create a piece of digital art, make only five copies of it, and auction it off. They too can collect a little bit each time their works sell in the future.

TC: Regarding NBA Top Shot specifically, prices range massively in terms of what people are paying for the same limited-edition clip. Why?

DP: There are two reasons. One is that like scarce items, lower numbers are worth more than higher numbers, so if there’s a very particular LeBron moment, and they made 500 [copies] of them, and I own number one, and you own number 399, the marketplace is ascribing a higher value to the lower numbers, which is very typical of limited-edition collector pieces. It’s sort of a funny concept. But it is a very human concept.

The other thing is that over time there has been more and more demand to get into this game, so people are willing to pay higher and higher prices. That’s why there’s been a lot of price appreciation for these moments over time.

TC: You mentioned that some of the esoteric language around crypto scares people, but so does the fact that 20% of the world’s bitcoin is permanently inaccessible to its owners, including because of forgotten passwords. Is that a risk with these digital items, which you are essentially storing in a digital locker or wallet?

DP: It’s a complex topic,  but I will say that Dapper has tried to build this in a way where that won’t happen, where there’s effectively some type of password recovery process for people who are storing their moments in Dapper’s wallet.

You will be able to take your moments away from Dapper’s account and put it into other accounts, where you may be on your own in terms of password recovery.

TC: Why is it a complex topic?

DP: There are people who believe that even though centralized account storage is convenient for users, it’s somehow can be distrustful — that the company could de-platform you or turn your account off. And in the crypto world, there’s almost a religious ferocity about making sure that no one can de-platform you, that the things that you buy — your cryptocurrencies or your NFTs. Long term, Dapper supports that. You’ll be able to take your moments anywhere you want. But today, our customers don’t have to worry about that I-lost-my-password-and-I’ll-never-get-my-moments-again problem.

For more, including why Dapper Labs built its own blockchain and what Pakman thinks of the U.S. establishing a digital USD, you can listen to our full conversation here


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A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.

Daily Crunch: Facebook launches rap app

Facebook unveils another experimental app, Atlassian acquires a data visualization startup and Newsela becomes a unicorn. This is your Daily Crunch for February 26, 2021.

The big story: Facebook launches rap app

The new BARS app was created by NPE Team (Facebook’s internal R&D group), allowing rappers to select from professionally created beats, and then create and share their own raps and videos. It includes autotune and will even suggest rhymes as you’re writing the lyrics.

This marks NPE Team’s second musical effort — the first was the music video app Collab. (It could also be seen as another attempt by Facebook to launch a TikTok competitor.) BARS is available in the iOS App Store in the U.S., with Facebook gradually admitting users off a waitlist.

The tech giants

Atlassian is acquiring Chartio to bring data visualization to the platform — Atlassian sees Chartio as a way to really take advantage of the data locked inside its products.

Yelp puts trust and safety in the spotlight — Yelp released its very first trust and safety report this week, with the goal of explaining the work that it does to crack down on fraudulent and otherwise inaccurate or unhelpful content.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Newsela, the replacement for textbooks, raises $100M and becomes a unicorn —  If Newsela is doing its job right, its third-party content can replace textbooks within a classroom altogether, while helping teachers provide fresh, personalized material.

Tim Hortons marks two years in China with Tencent investment — The Canadian coffee and doughnut giant has raised a new round of funding for its Chinese venture.

Sources: Lightspeed is close to hiring a new London-based partner to put down further roots in Europe — According to multiple sources, Paul Murphy is being hired away from Northzone.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

In freemium marketing, product analytics are the difference between conversion and confusion — Considering that most freemium providers see fewer than 5% of free users move to paid plans, even a slight improvement in conversion can translate to significant revenue gains.

As BNPL startups raise, a look at Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay earnings — With buy-now-pay-later options, consumers turn a one-time purchase into a limited string of regular payments.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Jamaica’s JamCOVID pulled offline after third security lapse exposed travelers’ data — JamCOVID was set up last year to help the government process travelers arriving on the island.

AT&T is turning DirecTV into a standalone company — AT&T says it will own 70% of the new company, while private equity firm TPG will own 30%.

How to ace the 1-hour, and ever-elusive, pitch presentation at TC Early Stage — Norwest’s Lisa Wu has a message for founders: Think like a VC during your pitch presentation.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


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A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.

Meet the LatinX Startup Alliance and Startout founders from TC Include at TC Sessions: Justice 2021

We love nothing more than highlighting notable early-stage startups, and you’ll find plenty of them in the spotlight on March 3 at TC Sessions: Justice 2021, a virtual conference exploring diversity, inclusion and the human labor that powers tech. You do not want to miss meeting and learning more about these impressive early-stage founders — all participants in the TC Include Program.

Not familiar with TC Include? TechCrunch partners with various founder organizations who act as advisors and nominate promising early-stage founders to participate in the program. In a collective collaboration with VC organizations like Kleiner Perkins, Salesforce Ventures and Initialized Capital and the founder organizations, TC Include provides educational resources and mentorship over the course of the year to help program participants develop and succeed.

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet and network with TC Include founders, and you won’t want to miss their live pitch feedback session. Each TC Include founder gets a 60-second pitch to a TechCrunch staffer. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to structure your pitch and pick up a few tips and strategies. Who knows? The pitch you improve could be your own.

We’ve already announced the TC Include startups affiliated with partner organizations Black Female Founders (here) and the Female Founder Alliance (here). Today, we’re thrilled to share with you just some of the early-stage founders affiliated with StartOut and the LatinX Startup Alliance.

StartOut

Endo Industries: Endo Industries sells cannabis plants and, through collaboration with farmers, is building a platform that helps operators scale brands grounded in equity, diversity and wellness. Founded by Nancy Do.

Kyndoo: Kyndoo is a data platform for solving social media’s biggest problems — fraud, attribution and content safety. It helps brands avoid working with #FakeFamous and helps them find companies that share their mission and values. Founded by Kelly McDonald.

Thimble: Thimble is a monthly subscription service that teaches kids robotics and coding skills through a curated STEM curriculum, robotics and coding kits and live, build-along classes. Founded by Oscar Pedroso.

LatinX Startup Alliance

Hoy Health: Hoy Health, a digital health company with a bilingual platform, provides access to primary care products and services, at low cost, to underserved communities. Founded by Mario Anglada.

Caribu: Caribu‌ ‌helps‌ ‌kids have virtual playdates with family and friends by ‌playing games, reading‌ and coloring ‌together in‌ ‌an‌ ‌interactive‌ ‌video-call. Founded by Max Tuchman.

Pandocap.co: Pandocap is a financial media company built around the capital markets. Bilingual content focuses on easy-to-understand information and highlights diverse voices through different strategies. Founded by Laura Moreno.

TC Sessions: Justice 2021 takes place on March 3. Check out the event agenda, buy your pass today, and discover the opportunities that come from building a more diverse, inclusive and just industry.

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A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.

How 2 Questions Helped This Marketing Agency Make $100,000 in 90 Days

In March of 2020, Reneé Boudakian, co-founder and owner of Rubicon Marketing and DM Certified Partner, found herself in the same situation you did. 

Wondering if her business would be able to ride out this unpredicted storm. 

It turns out that her business was not only able to survive, but it became a better version of itself. In 90 days, Reneé was able to secure $100,000 from offers that didn’t even exist at the start of 2020.

Yes—you read that right. The offers she launched to have a 6-figure quarter weren’t even part of her business pre-pandemic. Using the Customer Value Journey and 2 essential questions, Reneé was able to maneuver through the end of 2020 with a strategy we’re excited to share with you.

Before Reneé put the Customer Value Journey to work, her agency’s offer was to implement and build out individual Infusionsoft campaigns on spec in monthly retainers. This was solving a challenge of her customer avatars, but not the whole problem. As Reneé teaches in her Certified Partner Training, she was giving her clients legos instead of helping them build their entire castle.

This led to the insight needed to weather COVID-19 and the new changes it was bringing to agencies. Using 2 simple questions and the Customer Value Journey, Reneé was able to create brand new offers that either show her clients how to achieve their goals, do the work to reach those goals for them, or work alongside them to show them how it was done.

Here’s a look inside Rubicon Marketing’s big pivot that ended up bringing their agency 6-figures in 3 months.

Question #1: Do we have something that we are already good at or already selling?

The first question Rubicon Marketing asked themselves was what they were already good at or already selling. In their case, they were great at implementing and building out those Infusionsoft campaigns. The problem was that this was a single lego in a huge stack needed to build that castle.

Rubicon pulled up the past client calls from their BEST clients and listened to hear if there was anything they were missing. As Reneé covers in her training, the key is focusing on your BEST clients. These are the clients who pay you the most, are easiest to work with, and always get results. Quickly, they realized that clients were overwhelmed, frustrated, intimidated, emotional, and exhausted. Each client was experiencing the chaos of trying to do it all (landing pages, email campaigns, TikToks, Clubhouse)—and the failure of not being able to keep up.

That was Rubicon’s light bulb moment.

Their clients weren’t asking what a landing page was, how an email campaign worked, what TikTok was, or where the Clubhouse was. They were trying to implement high-converting landing pages and email funnels and create engaging TikTok and Clubhouse content.

They had entered “The Chasm.” The Chasm is the part of the Technology Adaptation Cycle where people adopt the technology. This means that you’re not convincing people as to why this tech exists—they already know and understand.

Source

Rubicon knew this was a huge opportunity for their agency. 

“The volume of opportunity to serve the people who are adopting new changes was huge,” says Reneé. “Our avatar is willing to change but doesn’t know how. This is where we can provide the greatest transformation.”

The Customer Value Journey was their missing link. Here’s how Reneé breaks that down. 

Every business has 5 core functions: 

Lead generationLead nurtureConversionDeliveryRetention, resell, upsell

And, every business has 3 distinct phases where each of these core functions fit:

Marketing (lead generation)Sales (lead nurture and conversion)Fulfillment (deliver and retention, resell, upsell)

Rubicon looked at the Customer Value Journey through these phases, with the core functions, to nail down where each stage of the CVJ fits into the 3 business phases:

Marketing: Awareness, Engagement, SubscribeSales: Convert, ExciteFulfillment: Ascend, Advocate, Promote

For each of these business phases, Rubicon built out the automation that would help clients be able to achieve their goals. They call this their Automation Architecture and it uses automation tools specific to marketing, sales, and fulfillment. 

This was the transformation clients were looking for. They didn’t need to be convinced that email funnels worked—they were ready to adopt the technology that would help them have an email funnel that worked FOR THEM.

Rubicon created 2 new done-for-you offers:

A paid planning session where they show clients how to create their Automation Architecture based on the Customer Value JourneyBuilding and implementing the Automation Architecture for the clients

Just by answering that first question, they were able to increase their average project size and increase their revenue. But, there was still a bit more work to do.

Question #2: Are we missing any opportunities with our existing clients?

After figuring out what it was that Rubicon could absolutely nail for their clients, they started to look into what upsells, cross-sells, or add-ons they could also offer.

By knowing their customer avatar, they realized there were two different desires:

Some people wanted to market themselves because they’re low or pre-revenueOther people want to have someone help them with their marketing (not do it ALL for them)

You know what’s going to happen next…Rubicon created offers for each of these customer avatars. 

For the people who wanted to market themselves, they created a subscription-based membership site as a Do-It-Yourself Model.

For those who wanted to work alongside Rubicon, they offered Zoom calls where clients could leverage the Rubicon team’s expertise in a Done-With-Model.

You already know the ending to this story: Rubicon was able to bring in $100,000 in just 90 days. But, that’s not where this ends. 

Rubicon didn’t stop there and instead focused on figuring out what the transformation they were giving their clients actually was. It wasn’t Automation Architecture of being able to talk with expert marketers. It was something deeper that made them buy.

In her Certified Partner Training, Reneé explains, “We know that customers will evaluate our services by weighing the perceived value against the asking price.”

Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Rubicon was able to figure out what experience they were really giving their clients.

Source

As you serve needs higher on Maslow’s pyramid client loyalty increases. Rubicon changed their message with the goal of providing transformation for customers as high up the pyramid as possible.

For example, their messaging about their services now talk about how they help clients avoid anxiety, focus on what they truly enjoy, and the other esteem and self-actualization experiences they provide. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Rubicon is able to achieve the 3 things every business wants:

Better customer loyalty (increased CLTV)Great consumer willingness to try the brandSustained revenue growth

We know that’s what you’re looking for from your agency too. Now that you’ve seen how Rubicon was able to make $100,000 in 90 days with two questions and the CVJ, let’s take a look at what you can do to get the same results.

How to Create This Growth for Your Agency

The first step to seeing the same results that Rubicon was able to create is to walk yourself through the same exercise. Ask yourself the same questions that Reneé and the Rubicon team reflected on.

Question #1: Do you have something that you are already good at or already selling?

Chances are the answer to this is yes. If you’ve built your agency and you have clients—you have something that you’re offering that they’re interested in. But, are you offering your clients the castle or a single lego?

Rubicon listening back to their past recorded client calls was a brilliant move. It was the catalyst showing them that even though their clients liked what they were offering, they were leaving opportunities on the table. That’s when Rubicon was able to build out two more Done-For-You services that were already market tested, approved, and ready for purchase.

Question #2: Are we missing any opportunities with our existing clients?

The answer here is also yes—and we say that with love. If you know your agency could be doing better, you have room to optimize. A lot of the time, optimizing means that you’re creating new offers, upsells, add-ons, etc. to help your clients in a new way.

Rubicon figured out that their clients fell into 3 buckets: they wanted to do their own marketing, they wanted Rubicon to handle everything, they wanted to work together with Rubicon on their marketing. That meant there were 3 offers that could be created to serve each of these clients. 

Now, let’s add in the icing on the cake that Rubicon absolutely nailed.

Making your agency stand out from the others. Start to get really familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to figure out what needs you’re filling for your clients. Sure—helping them make more money is the end goal, but what does that actually mean for them.

Does more money help them elevate their social status?Do they need more money to be able to have freedom?Are they looking for money as a way to help them be the most they can be?

We were thrilled to have Reneé join our Certified Partner Training Day and show other agency owners how they can reach 6-figures in a few months. Using the strategy you just read in this article, we know you can pull it off too.

Run your team through these questions and figure out how you can add offerings that your clients are already asking for.

The post How 2 Questions Helped This Marketing Agency Make $100,000 in 90 Days appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

Read more: digitalmarketer.com

A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.

DreamHost Review

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Founded in 1996, DreamHost is one of the oldest web hosting services to date. Hosting over 1.5 million websites with 400,000 customers and 750,000 WordPress installations—I think DreamHost is one of the best web hosting services for most website owners. 

With extensive product offerings that aren’t just limited to hosting plans, DreamHost can help you integrate domain names, website builders, and email hosting into your website efficiently and affordably. 

It’s web hosting with a purpose and will make sure your site is fast, secure, and up to date for your visitors.   

DreamHost Compared to The Best Web Hosting Services

Compared to other web hosting services, DreamHost is a more well-rounded and inclusive option, with an extensive range of website hosting products for different needs. 

DreamHost is my top pick for quick and responsive website changes because of its dedication to excel and adapt to new trends. Not only that, DreamHost also has a passion for privacy, security, and is employee-owned, so they have a strong focus on its users and their individual needs. 

I reviewed dozens of different web hosting services and narrowed it down to the top eight options. I looked at each option to see who it’s best for, what options there are to choose from, and how to choose the right one. 

See all of my top picks and get an in-depth analysis of each one to make the best buying decision for your website needs. 

Who is DreamHost Best For? 

With its low price and high quality, DreamHost is an excellent option for most website owners. This may seem broad, but hear me out. 

DreamHost is the most inclusive web hosting service for both small and large businesses working on different sized projects. This is because it has a high enough performance speed, customer support, and reliable uptime for most website owners. 

Whether you’re in the blogging or site developing niche, DreamHost will offer sturdy and dependable hosting support at an affordable price. 

Because it supports SSDs and high-level technology, DreamHost makes it easy for users to customize their control panel with no issues. 

From beginners to tech-savvy users, DreamHost knows that your website is your future, making it the best for most website owners who are looking for extra support and high-quality performance. 

DreamHost: Pros and Cons 

Even the best web hosting services have flaws, and it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of a product before purchasing to make sure each element contributes to your preferences and the success of your site. Below is a list of the pros and cons for DreamHost.

Pros 

Affordable pricing: DreamHost is one of the most affordable web hosting services on the market, which we will cover later on. To make it short and sweet, DreamHost offers a nice variety of pricing plans you can customize to pay for in either monthly or annual installments. 

Monthly payments start at $4.95, whereas annual prices start at $3.95 per month, which means you save more by paying annually. This is a rarity for web hosting services, as many of its competitors seem to charge more for annual payment options. 

Automated integrations: DreamHost offers automatic integration and one-click installation for a few CMS options, such as WordPress, MediaWiki, and Joomla. 

This is a major advantage for most users because it gives them the option to choose a different website and transition with ease. It’s even easier for users who already use one of the supported CMS options because DreamHost will install it for you with one click. 

The most popular CMS option DreamHost supports is WordPress, and you will have the easiest time integrating this specific option with your hosting provider. DreamHost also allows you to choose any WordPress theme or plugin for your website. Essentially, you will have full control of your website’s appearance, while DreamHost does all the nitty-gritty behind the scenes. 

Extensive customer support: Another significant feature of DreamHost is its comprehensive customer support base. There are two main ways to contact them for free support via your control panel, including live chat and email support. 

Live chat operates seven days a week from 5:30 am-9:30 pm Pacific Time, while the DreamHost support team strives to answer all emails within 24 hours. However, if you feel you need extra guidance for technical issues, DreamHost does offer a callback service for an additional fee. 

Because callbacks aren’t included in your hosting package by default, you will have to add them. You can choose to add three callbacks per month for a nominal monthly fee or a one-time callback feature for a fee as well. 

Not only does DreamHost offer those support services, but they also have dedicated pages for knowledge base questions, system status, tech support, and discussion forums.  

High-quality performance and speed: DreamHost offers incredible performance and speed that will permanently transform your website’s quality. 

For example, DreamHost specifically designs products to be compatible with WordPress for optimal performance. This ensures seamless and fluid integration between DreamHost and your WordPress website, making it run at peak speed. 

Another great performance feature involves the use of SSDs. With DreamHost SSDs, your overall website, data, and caching are 200 percent faster than old HDDs. With lightning-fast speeds and a loading time of 2.35 seconds, your visitors can scroll your website without lag and won’t get caught up in unnecessary wait times. 

DreamHost also guarantees 100% reliable uptime, so your site will always be online and functioning to its maximum potential. With emergency generators, constant monitoring, redundant cooling, and data center locations, your website will never operate as well as it does with DreamHost.  

Cons 

Additional fees for advanced features: If you’re looking for a more comprehensive web hosting service that offers advanced features and tools to transform your website, unfortunately, DreamHost lacks a little in this department. 

In the beginning it’s possible to build your website for next to nothing—but there are some additional costs involved for those looking at extensive support. For example, DreamHost offers products outside of web hosting like website builders, G suite, design services, and marketing tools. 

However, they all cost extra and can become quite pricey, as they aren’t included in your hosting package. If you do want additional support all from one platform for the added convenience, you’re looking at forking out an extra $2.95 per month for website building up to $1,499 for design services. 

Even though a few of the features are quite affordable for monthly payments, if you want more professional services, it’s something you would want to re-evaluate and plan for in your budget. 

The Shared Starter plan doesn’t include email hosting: Although email hosting costs an extra $1.67 per month per mailbox for the shared starter plan, which is still reasonably affordable—it’s also an additional cost for those who wish to purchase the starter plan as a complete beginner with little tech experience. 

This is especially pertinent when it costs an extra $9 per month for the next plan with unlimited email hosting. This can be a disadvantage for website owners looking for a cheaper plan that aligns more with their budget. 

DreamHost Pricing 

A major benefit when choosing DreamHost as your web hosting provider is the price. It is one of the most affordable products on the market when you weigh it up against the high-quality services it provides to its users. DreamHost offers three main hosting plans you can pay annually for a discount, including:  

Each of these three plans, Shared, DreamPress, and VPS, have additional options within the plan.

For example, Shared Starter and Shared Unlimited, DreamPress, DreamPress plus, and DreamPress Pro. And then the VPS plan is broken down into amount of storage, from 30 GB SSD storage on VPS Basic to 240 DB SSD storage on VPS Enterprise. There are two additional VPS plan options between those.

Let’s begin with the Shared plan. The Shared Starter option is brilliant for beginners who have one new website and aren’t sure where to start. It offers the basic tools your website will need for hosting, like one WordPress website, a free domain, and unlimited bandwidth. 

For $3.95 per month paid annually, users also get a bang for their buck with the WP website builder and free automated WordPress integrations. These usually start between $2.59-$9.95 per month, so having both included in the plan for free is an enormous value to your business.

DreamHost also offers the Shared Unlimited plan, which includes everything in the Shared Starter plan, plus unlimited emailing and websites for $9.95 per month paid annually. This would be a good plan for users that have multiple websites who need different email accounts. 

The next main DreamHost pricing plan is DreamPress. You save 15 percent by paying annually at $16.95 per month. This plan includes everything the Shared Unlimited plan has and includes on-demand backups, jetpack free pre-installation, and one-click staging. 

This plan is more suited for users who already have a WordPress website specifically, as it’s created to co-exist with this builder seamlessly. 

There are two other DreamPress options, including: 

DreamPress Plus: $24.95 per month with double the SSD storage, jetpack professional, and unlimited CDNDreamPress Pro: $71.95 per month with 120GB SSD storage, 1M+ monthly visitors, and one staging website 

These pricing plans are more suited to high-demanding WordPress websites that require comprehensive tools. 

I will get into VPS hosting and options in the next section. 

DreamHost Offerings 

DreamHost has a few product offerings for web hosting that cater to most users. Below is an in-depth look at the different products DreamHost offer for web hosting services:

WordPress Hosting 

WordPress hosting is by far the most popular product that DreamHost offers to its users. DreamHost specifically optimized most of their tools and technology for WordPress compatibility, so it’s for a good reason that WordPress hosting is so popular. 

WordPress hosting on DreamHost will completely transform your website with powerful features, add-ons, and 24/7 support. They do this by working closely with WordPress.org themselves, so you will always get the newest version and continuous updates to make sure your website is running and secure. 

The easiest part about choosing WordPress hosting is the instant set up and installation process. If you select a plan that supports multiple websites, the one-click installer will do everything for you—offering seamless integration. 

WordPress hosting starts at $2.59 per month for one website with a 36-month commitment.

By choosing WordPress hosting, your website will benefit from some key features, including: 

Free privacy protection Free domain with annual plans Free email hosting Advanced and easy-to-use control panel Free SSL certificate Automated backups 

WordPress hosting is an excellent option for those who own a WordPress website for the most effortless transitions and seamless integration into web hosting. 

VPS Hosting 

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is another common hosting option that DreamHost manages and monitors very well. With performance and security updates, your website will be safest with the wide variety of tools and features of VPS at DreamHost. 

A powerful feature DreamHost offers with VPS hosting is individual resources that only your website can use. This means dedicated resources will help your website create low latency and high performance. 

With an intuitive control panel, VPS hosting has never been easier to manage. DreamHost also allows you to customize this control panel to your individual preferences. You also have the option to upgrade your RAM and storage in under 10 seconds, giving you that extra peace of mind for when your website inevitably grows. 

The DreamHost VPS plans offer basic and advanced features for different goals, including: 

Basic features: 

20x faster SSDs that range from 30GB to 240GBScalable 1GB RAMReseller and sub-accounts for client and contractor website accessUnlimited MySQL databases

Advanced features: 

Automatic software updatesPassword protectionAccess to raw file logs Unique IPv4 and IPv6

These features will work well for users looking for a more comprehensive hosting service on a private server. 

VPS hosting offers four different pricing plans, including:

VPS Basic: starting at $10 per month with 1GB RAM and 30 GB SSD storageVPS Business: starting at $20 per month with 2GB RAM and 60 GB SSD storageVPS Professional: starting at $40 per month with 4GB RAM and 120 GB SSD storageVPS Enterprise: starting at $80 per month with 8GB RAM and 240 GB SSD storage

DreamHost makes sure there’s a pricing plan for every website owner looking at VPS hosting. 

Cloud Hosting 

Lastly, DreamHost offers a unique service called cloud hosting with OpenStack. Cloud hosting, also known as DreamCompute, is a product that provides simple cloud servers to advanced network configurations. 

Cloud hosting is an excellent option for users who are looking at hosting a website using software of their choice, are running their own server, for gaming purposes, or are running web-scale applications. 

Like the other two product offerings, DreamHost always makes sure speed and performance are a top priority for all servers. Cloud hosting SSH is ready in 30 seconds because of next-gen processors and accelerated SSD disks. 

Cloud hosting offers a few helpful features, like: 

Storage application integration Backup WordPress sites Run any application like Ruby, Python, and Redis Migrate works into your private cloud 

DreamCompute has three pricing plans with really flexible prices, including: 

512MB RAM Server: $4.50 per month ($0.0075 per hour)2GB RAM Server: $12 per month ($0.02 per hour)8GB RAM Server: $48 per month ($0.08 per hour) 

With the cloud hosting plans, DreamHost only charges users up to 600 hours in any given month. All plans come with 100GB of block storage and free bandwidth. 

The Best Web Hosting Services 

I’ve spent hours reviewing different web hosting services. You can check out my buying guide here.

Summary 

Overall, DreamHost is an excellent web hosting service option for most website owners looking for high performance and quick adaptation at an affordable price. 

With great pricing packages and product offerings like WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, and cloud hosting, there’s an option for everyone with different preferences. 

The pros definitely outweigh the cons of DreamHost, and I think it’s worth looking into for website transformation and growth.

The post DreamHost Review appeared first on Neil Patel.

Read more: neilpatel.com

A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.

Who is Generation Alpha, and Why Are They Important to Marketers?

Who is Generation Alpha, and Why Are They Important to Marketers?

Every new generation brings new customs, behaviors, and cultural phenomena that shape the world as we know it.

Baby boomers brought significant economic influence.

Millennials taught us new ways of viewing our socio-political world.

Generation Z showed us what the intersection of technology and humanity looks like.

Now, we have Generation Alpha, a demographic of tech-savvy, racially diverse, and unapologetically influential children who will start entering adulthood at the end of the 2020s.

But, they’re children. They aren’t our buyers. Why should marketers care about them right now?

Studies have shown children under 12 can influence parental purchases of $130 to $670 billion a year. And, it won’t be long before they are the buyers.

It’s never too early to prepare. In fact, since the oldest kids in this generation are starting to hit middle school, we may even be cutting it close.

Let’s take a look at the climate shaping this upcoming generation and what we can expect from them in the future.

What Birth Years Are Considered Generation Alpha?

Generation Alpha covers those born between 2010 and 2024. Most of their parents are Millennials.

Every nine minutes, a new member of Generation Alpha is born in the United States. By 2025, this group will reach a worldwide population of more than two billion.

infographic of generation alpha births

Generation Alpha Culture and the Future of Marketing

Although some Gen Alpha babies haven’t been born yet, there are a few things we can predict about them.

For starters, Generation Alpha will be the most technologically advanced generation to date, growing up with mobile devices, AI, social media, advanced healthcare, and robotics as parts of their everyday lives.

They will be digitally literate and adept multi-taskers as a result.

Gen Alpha also stands to be the most materially endowed generation of all time. This means they could end up being able to spend more on nonessentials than previous generations.

They also stand to be the most globally informed group so far, and they will have the longest life spans.

Generation Alpha Technology Trends

As Generation Alpha evolves, so will their familiar technology.

We’ve already seen the effects of exponential technological growth on current generations, and these effects will continue to grow.

It’s expected that AI and robotics will be completely integrated into modern life by 2025. We can also expect machine learning, natural language processing, and smart devices to change, improve, and further connect us in the coming years.

Gen Alpha may find themselves interacting with robots just as frequently as with humans.

For marketers, this means speaking to an astute audience that may know the ideal product better than we do.

Similarly, we can expect Gen Alpha to reject traditional forms of marketing, much like their Millennial parents did not long ago. An increasing interest in personalization, humanized messaging, and social shopping should be assumed.

Generation Alpha Education Trends

Generation Alpha stands to be the most educated generation to date.

Access to education is at an all-time high, with most countries reporting twelve or more years of schooling for every individual citizen.

According to UNESCO, each additional year of education increases a person’s earnings by roughly 10%.

With improving digital resources and the increasing availability of technology, Gen Alpha will have better access to long-term education than any previous generation.

That said, the way they view education will likely be different. There may be less emphasis on formal degrees and, instead, a focus on skills.

The Eduniversal Evaluation Agency (EEA) put it this way:

In an age where every other tech CEO and startup founder dropped out of college and now rakes in millions, it’s hard to argue that moving forward, a degree will remain an absolute prerequisite for success.

In addition to these trends, we’ll see the continuation of highly personalized instructional content.

A generation used to instant access to information is unlikely to succeed in three-hour-long lectures. Instead, we can expect an increase in online learning, especially tutorials, which will further the technological proficiency of Gen Alpha.

Generation Alpha Social Media Trends

Young people are increasingly drawn to social media. With the introduction of social media e-commerce, social media has become one of the most essential tools for marketers in the modern age.

One survey found 49% of 16- to 24-year-olds look to social media for purchase inspiration. This is higher than older generations—their parents may only do this 20% of the time, for instance.

As more Gen Alpha kids grow up immersed in social media, we can predict social media usage will become an increasingly inextricable part of their lives.

Gen Alpha already uses social media differently than their parents. They’re less likely to be on Facebook or Twitter, favoring Instagram and TikTok. Brands that stay on top of the newest technology stand to see greater success with this burgeoning generation.

engagement table of generation alpha

Generation Alpha Data Sharing Trends

Gen Alpha may be warier of providing or allowing access to their data to social media giants, search engines, ad agencies, and so on. We’re already seeing this trend today, with more and more countries instituting data privacy laws such as the GDPR.

By the time Generation Alpha reaches maturity, they’ll probably have a deep understanding of their data and how it’s used. This could lead to higher levels of criticism and questioning when consenting to data usage—they might read that fine print.

Companies looking to leverage consumer data should consider what they give back in return. Often, an equal exchange is enough to encourage consumer consent.

Brands doing this incorrectly risk losing their rising audience.

Generation Alpha Healthcare Advancements

Much like their millennial parents, Gen Alpha will likely spend more time finding medical information online. Self-service and convenience will continue to be driving factors for Gen Alpha’s healthcare.

In addition, younger generations are increasingly aware of mental health and are more likely to seek help for challenges with theirs when needed. They’ll likely expect their workplaces to offer mental health coverage and resources.

On the brand side, this means staying compassionate and aware of mental health can greatly improve overall brand integrity.

The Bell Let’s Talk movement is a strong example of a brand doing this right.

Healthcare Advancement for Generation Alpha

Generation Alpha Media Literacy Trends

Gen Alpha will have the best media literacy of any generation. They’ll be able to separate fact from fiction and more likely to identify conspiracy theories or fake news circulating on the internet.

For marketers, this means speaking to a well-informed audience that isn’t likely to be persuaded by traditional marketing tactics.

It also means engaging Gen Alpha in the arenas they prefer. Podcasting, video content, and gamification will become increasingly important when delivering information.

Additionally, personalization in marketing will continue to grow in popularity. For Gen Alpha, it won’t be enough to simply push a sale. Marketers will need to connect with this generation in an ongoing way.

Generation Alpha Diversity Trends

The US is becoming more diverse, and younger generations are increasingly aware and accepting of challenges based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Gen Alpha’s patience for inequality will almost surely continue to decrease as they grow up.

Children of this generation are unlikely to work for a company that doesn’t reflect their values. In the same way, they won’t buy from brands that go against what they believe in.

Brands championing diversity and social issues while embracing widespread change will flourish. Brands that don’t evolve will be left behind.

Generation Alpha Economic Trends

Generation Alpha first came into being during an economically tumultuous time as the world recovered from the Great Recession.

They’ve gone through some pretty interesting ups and downs since then, and significant political and social issues will continue to affect their economic standing.

We can be reasonably sure that they’ll be largely invested in the experience economy, including live entertainment, amusement parks, spectator sports, and tours.

This economy has largely been fueled by social media and technology, as people share the fun they’re having and others want to have adventures as well.

Additionally, Gen Alpha is predicted to be the longest-living generation of humans so far. Because of this, they’ll likely stay in the workforce longer, meaning more money over their working years.

As marketers, we need to plan for all of this. Our consumers face a bit of a question mark in terms of the economy. But, we know what they want—experiences—and that they’ll be educated and in the workforce for a long time. Catering to a changing climate and meeting their needs and desires throughout their lifetimes is essential.

Conclusion

Generation Alpha represents a fascinating, technologically advanced evolution of the human species.

People in this generation are digital natives growing up with smartphones, social media, and AI. They’re entering a genuinely advanced world where automation and innovation rule.

Additionally, their purchasing influence is already present, and they’re influencing their parents buying decisions even now.

Marketers who pay attention to this generation now will be better prepared to out-market big competitors in the coming years.

We can expect to see a well-educated, digitally fluent, socially-conscious generation. We need to keep up.

What predictions do you have for Gen Alpha?

The post Who is Generation Alpha, and Why Are They Important to Marketers? appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Spotify to launch a new high-end subscription, Spotify HiFi

Spotify today announced its plans to roll out a new high-end subscription service, called Spotify HiFi, along with other new features and updates, including new content deals, and features for creators. The company said Spotify HiFi will launch later this year to Spotify Premium subscribers in select global markets, allowing them to listen to music in “CD-quality, lossless audio format.”

The news was first announced at Spotify’s online event, “Stream On.”

Spotify said high-quality music streaming has consistently been one of users’ most-requested features, and touted the power of high-quality audio — even by roping in Billie Eilish to make comments on Spotify’s behalf during the livestreamed event.

Spotify also said the HiFi service service will work across devices, including on Spotify Connect-enabled speakers. And it said it’s working with some of the world’s biggest speaker manufacturers to make Spotify HiFi accessible to more fans via Spotify Connect.

But Spotify’s news was light on the details users will really want to know — like pricing, launch date or even which markets will support the new subscription at launch. We understand the subscription will cost more than the Premium offering by itself, obviously, but the exact price will vary by market. It will also be marketed as a Premium “add-on.”

The company today also offered an update on its existing artist programs, noting that it had added 76,000 artists to playlists for the first time and highlighted 175 up-and-coming artists through its Radar program, which offers editorial and marketing support. It highlighted, too, how artists were using newer tools like Enhanced Albums, and its Stories feature, Clips, which it says will soon roll out to more artists. It also made Spotify Canvas, the looping visuals that accompany a track, is now available to all Spotify artists.

And it touted plans to significantly expand access to its service’s global footprint, saying that, over the next few days, it will expand to new markets that will allow it to reach more than a billion people worldwide, nearly half of whom are already using the internet. In total, Spotify says it’s expanding to 85 new worldwide markets, across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America.

On the podcasts side, Spotify referenced its newer morning show, “The Get Up,” and a new multi-year content deal with AGBO, the Russo Brothers entertainment company; plus a deal with Ava DuVernay for an unscripted podcast; and a new podcast “Tell Them I Am,” from its Higher Ground partnership which will collect narratives from Muslim voices. And it noted Warner Bros and DC will roll out a slate of narrative-scripted podcasts.

On the R&D side, Spotify spoke about plans to improve podcast recommendations and discovery through new features and improvements to its algorithms and underlying technology.

One feature, will help to identify podcasts by category without needing to know the actual show or episode name. For example, users could type in “cooking” in the search bar and find podcasts that match that data. This feature is being tested now in the U.S. and will roll out to more locations this year.

On its podcast creation app, Anchor, Spotify said it’s partnering with WordPress to turn text into audio, add video to their podcasts, and access new interactive features like polls and Q&As in order to add real-time communication with fans to their shows.

More to come…

 

 


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A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.

Twitter explored buying India’s ShareChat and turning Moj into a global TikTok rival

Twitter recently held talks to acquire Indian social media startup ShareChat as the company explored ways to expand its presence in the world’s second largest internet market and build a global rival to TikTok, three sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The American firm, which is already an investor in Bangalore-based ShareChat, offered to buy the Indian startup for $1.1 billion and had committed an additional investment of $900 million, two of the sources said.

The talks are no longer ongoing, two sources said, requesting anonymity as the matter is private. TechCrunch could not determine why the talks did not materialize into a deal.

Two sources said Twitter had expressed intention to take Moj, a short-form video app that ShareChat owns, to international markets and position it as a rival to Chinese app TikTok.

Twitter declined to comment and ShareChat did not respond to a request for comment.

India’s ban on TikTok last year prompted scores of local startups and international giants to try their hands at short-form video format.

Moj, with over 80 million users already, has emerged as one of the largest players in the category. Earlier this month, Snap inked a deal with ShareChat to integrate its Camera Kit into the Indian short video app. This is the first time Snap had formed a partnership of this kind with a firm in India.

With the buyout offer no longer being entertained, ShareChat has resumed talks with other investors for its new financing round. These investors include Google, Snap, as well as Tinder-parent firm Match Group, the sources said.

TechCrunch reported in January that the Indian startup was talking to Google and Snap as well as some existing investors including Twitter to raise over $200 million. A potential acquisition by Twitter prolonged the investment talks.

ShareChat, which claims to have over 160 million users, offers its social network app in 15 Indian languages and has a large following in small Indian cities and towns, or what venture capitalist Sajith Pai of Blume Ventures refer as “India 2.” Very few players in the Indian startup ecosystem have a reach to this segment of this population, which thanks to users from even smaller towns and villages — called “India 3” — getting online has expanded in recent years.

In an interview with TechCrunch last year, Ankush Sachdeva, co-founder and chief executive of ShareChat, said the startup’s marquee app was growing “exponentially” and that users were spending, on an average, more than 30 minutes a day on the service.

Twitter, itself, has struggled to make inroads outside of bigger cities and towns in India. Its app reached about 75 million users in the country in the month of January, according to mobile insight firm AppAnnie, data of which an industry executive shared with TechCrunch. It inked a deal with news and social app Dailyhunt to bring Moments — curated tweets pertaining to news and other local events — to the Google-backed Indian app.

The American social network has broadened its product offering in the past year amid pressure from activist investors to accelerate growth.


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A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors may give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review, alternatively, I may have bought the product myself. However I make no promises to vendors regarding what I write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.