Flappy Bird’s creator returns with a game that pits ninjas against bouncing cats

Flappy Bird was a veritable phenomenon. It seems ridiculous in hindsight (and, let’s be honest, it kind of did at the time, too), but the exceedingly simplistic title had a momentary stranglehold on the mobile gaming world with its combination of crude 8-bit graphics and dead simple game play, as players tapped the screen frantically to avoid crashing into pipes.

The games aesthetic was clearly borrowed from Mario, and now that everyone’s plucky plumber has finally officially come to mobile gaming, it’s easy to see how Nintendo’s one-handed, constantly moving side scroller might have take its own inspiration from the title.

Creator Dong Nguyen ultimately backed away from the spotlight in the wake of the game’s success. This week, however, he’s returned with Ninja Spinki, a new mobile title that builds upon Flappy Bird’s most popular elements for something a bit more complex, though ultimately equally frustrating.

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The title stars a bug-eyed and Micky Mouse-eared ninja tasked with avoid things like bounding fruit and giant cat heads (which evoke Fruit Ninja and Neko Atsume, respectively) – two of the ninja’s best known mortal enemies. There are six different mini-games with different mechanics and opponents, but the constant tapping and swiping should prove comfortably familiar to Flappy Bird die-hards.

And like that game, things start off simply enough, but ultimately trend toward the impossible. Two modes let the user pick between levels or endless game play. I’d recommend the former, since it at least offers some sense of accomplishment before meeting your untimely demise. There are five levels in each game, which unlock once you’ve managed to avoid all obstacles by the time the clock counts down.

Like Flappy Bird, the game is free to play, though it’s ad-supported, so you’ll end up sitting through some frustrating 30 videos after every few rounds. But, then, frustration is kind of the name of the game.

 

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/ninja-spinki/?ncid=rss

Kyocera’s new phone is designed to be washed with soap and water

Curved screens and AR cameras are all well and good, but here’s a phone feature that extends beyond the flashy and gimmick to the potentially useful. I certainly think about running all of my gadgets under the faucet every time I travel on a plane or go a show like CES (finally getting over that cold).

The Rafre is actually the second soap-and-waterproof phone from Kyocera, following another model unveiled toward the end of 2015. This time out, the Android handset has the added bonus resistance to foaming body soap, according to press materials released earlier this week, so you can finally take the thing in the shower with you, if that’s your jam.

And the touchscreen works while wet, for anyone who wants to use it in the tub or just gets frequently caught in unexpected rainstorms.

The biggest caveat for the moment is the fact that the handset will only be available in Japan at launch, leaving the rest of us germaphobes in a bit of a lurch. Clean freaks in that country will be able to pick the Rafre up next month for a price that has yet to be determined.

The handset ships with Nougat, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 3,000mAh battery. Also, for some reason, it ships with a cooking app that users can scroll through with gestures – a strange selling point for one of the few phones that’s specifically designed to be washed off.

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/kyocera-washable-phone/?ncid=rss

Delete your account

We love to Tweet. We love to share. It appears to be a strategy for change but it isn’t. And we have to accept that.

These are strange times. We are able to reach millions with a single Medium post but each day a new post supplants the last. Today’s impassioned jeremiad – like this one – is tomorrow’s digital fish wrapper. A CEO can Tweet something noble today and it is gone a moment later. We can spread the word through Facebook but that site’s pernicious systems keeps it from spreading outside of your immediate zone of friends. In the end all we do on social media is akin to a fart in a crowded room – sure to annoy someone nearby but dissipated by the time it reaches the edges.

So I’m saying delete your account and do something.

If you are a programmer and you haven’t contacted your favorite investigative journalists, the folks at ProPublica, or anyone at your local paper, delete your account and do it. Journalists need your technical expertise to secure their devices, set up secure drops, and understand the data coming out of the countless leaks that are sure to come. You are vitally important.

If you’re running a startup delete your account and look up from your laptop. This can be your first effort at corporate philanthropy. Donate to the ACLU. Volunteer to help immigrants assimilate. Send some cash to Trump. I don’t care. Get political. We had a solid decade of inaction. It’s time to delete your account and do something.

If you’re a VC cut ties from members of your class that actively destroy free speech and rant about the coming dystopia. It makes no sense to invest when the world is coming to an end so perhaps you should protect your investments and prevent it?

If you think about tweeting something witty, don’t. Say that witty thing at a protest march or in a city council meeting or at a school board election. Run for local office. This is the moment for insurgent democracy and if you’re at Apple or Google and truly believe in your Burning-Man-equality-for-all fever dream of Silicon Valley then make it happen locally. If you live in a small city lead the hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs in an effort to enact change. If you’re international reach out. It will be individual citizens who change things since most of our governments are now at odds. This second decade of the 21st century has gone aground. We need to tow it to open waters and keep sailing. Delete your account and do something.

Delete your account and build something if you want to fight back. Delete your account and do something if you want to fight back. Delete your account and run for office if you want to fight back. Facebook posts are meaningless. Twitter is a way for us to feel smug at misspelled rants from the White House. Ignore their false produce and read real news from a real source you trust. Pay for media. Understand that journalists are as baffled as you but, thanks to experience, they have the means to tease out truth. But they can’t do it alone.

No matter what side you’re on, no matter how much glee you get in funny memes and clever retorts, delete your account. The world doesn’t exist on your backlit high-resolution screen. It exists a few degrees up and out, out where people are marching, deals are being made, and the world is changing without you.

Delete your account. The world needs you.

Image via IconFinder

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/delete-your-account/?ncid=rss

Amateur Hyperloop designers face off this weekend on SpaceX’s mile-long test track

SpaceX may not be interested in actually designing and making a real Hyperloop — it’s hard to tell how serious anyone is about the idea — but it is happy to promote plucky young engineers who’d like to try their hand at this interesting engineering problem. This weekend is a major event in the Hyperloop Pod Competition in which 30 teams from all over the world will test scale models of their pods in a mile-long test track in California.

The competition started in 2015, and 1200 teams entered initially. That was whittled down to 120 pod designs evaluated in early 2016, and of those, 30 were selected to come to the test track this weekend.

One of the top 30 is a student-run team from the University of Washington, which unveiled their quarter-scale pod at an event in Seattle last week. A series of excited engineers and designers explained the process by which they had arrived at various features of the pod.

Lacking a large budget but not wanting for leadership and friendly industry sponsors, the team is something of an underdog. The current prototype costs under $27,000, much less than many competitors, but it’s anything but cut-rate. A carefully sculpted carbon composite faring covers the chassis, which sports compact permanent magnet levitation, acceleration, braking, and safety measures. I was particularly impressed with a clever passive mechanism for keeping everything on-axis.

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The 30 teams have a wide variety of approaches, though: some are wheeled, some magnetic, some bigger, some smaller, some tubular, some car-like. Business Insider collected them all on one page, if you’re curious.

During the competition, pods will be accelerated along an aluminum I-beam by a SpaceX boost car, then released to continue on their own power — hopefully to accelerate or maintain velocity, then come to a controlled stop. It’s not full-scale by a long shot — but we’re still talking 100+ MPH here and pods weighing hundreds of pounds, so it’s no joke either.

The UW team members I talked to were just happy to have made the top 30, and in true engineer style, mainly just wanted everything to work as designed regardless of how they place. They cited the team from the University of Wisconsin, Madison as a potential tough customer, as well as the Netherlands’ TU Delft, a heavyweight in this sort of engineering.

We’ll keep an eye out for any interesting developments at the competition. The fun isn’t done after this weekend, though: this summer there will be another competition, this one focused strictly on top speed. You can bet that’ll be one to watch.

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/amateur-hyperloop-designers-face-off-this-weekend-on-spacexs-mile-long-test-track/?ncid=rss

Top Microsoft execs weigh in on Trump’s immigration ban

Slowly but surely, the tech world is reacting to a sweeping executive order signed by Trump on Friday that closes the United States’ borders to refugees and citizens from a number of countries. Some have shared personal stories or reflected on the ways in which such policy will negatively impact the Silicon Valley, where so much of the work force has immigrated from around the world.

Google’s Sundar Pichai and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have expressed various levels of concern about the action, with the former recalling employees in an attempt to get them back into the US before the ban restricts their re-entry. Microsoft was on the list of companies that offered an official statement on the matter, telling TechCrunch earlier today,

We share the concerns about the impact of the executive order on our employees from the listed countries, all of whom have been in the United States lawfully, and we’re actively working with them to provide legal advice and assistance.

Now two of the company’s top executives have weighed in on the matter. CEO Satya Nadella took to LinkedIn to share a memo sent by President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith to the entire Microsoft staff.

“As an immigrant and as a CEO,” Nadella explained in his post, “I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”

Smith’s memo offers even more detail, addressing the letter specifically to employees and their family who are citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan, the seven countries named in the order. According to Smith, the action potentially applies to at least 76 known Microsoft employees, who are from one of the seven countries, all of whom have been contacted by the company.

Smith praises Nadella’s past discussion of the importance of immigration, adding,

As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system. We also believe in broader immigration opportunities, like the protections for talented and law-abiding young people under the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, often called “Dreamers”. We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people’s freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings.

Smith also adds, “We believe that these types of immigration policies are good for people, good for business, and good for innovation.”

From: Brad Smith (CELA)

Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2017 12:05 PM

To: Microsoft – All Employees

Subject: Yesterday’s U.S. Executive Order on Immigration

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to reach out regarding the Executive Order signed yesterday in the United States relating to immigration. As you may have read in the press, this Order applies an immediate 90-day moratorium on admissions and reentry into the United States of all individuals who are not already U.S. citizens from seven countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan.

Our first priority whenever there is a change in immigration laws anywhere in the world is to address immediately the needs of our employees and their families. So most importantly, if you or a family member are a citizen of one of these seven countries and you’re not yet a U.S. citizen, I have some specific information for you.

Our goal as a company is to provide you with legal advice and assistance. We’re aware of 76 Microsoft employees who are citizens of these countries and have a U.S. visa and are therefore affected by this new Order. We’ve already contacted everyone in this group. But there may be other employees from these countries who have U.S. green cards rather than a visa who may be affected, and there may be family members from these countries that we haven’t yet reached.  So if this impacts you or a family member and we haven’t yet been in contact with you, please send an email right away to the CELA U.S. Immigration Team. And of course, if you’re uncertain about whether you’re affected, use this same alias and let us know so we can work with you and answer your questions.

As we have in other instances and in other countries, we’re committed as a company to working with all of our employees and their families. We’ll make sure that we do everything we can to provide fast and effective legal advice and assistance.

More broadly, we appreciate that immigration issues are important to a great many people across Microsoft at a principled and even personal level, regardless of whether they personally are immigrants. Satya has spoken of this importance on many occasions, not just to Microsoft but to himself personally. He has done so publicly as well as in the private meetings that he and I have attended with government leaders.

As a company, Microsoft believes in a strong and balanced high-skilled immigration system. We also believe in broader immigration opportunities, like the protections for talented and law-abiding young people under the Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, often called “Dreamers”. We believe that immigration laws can and should protect the public without sacrificing people’s freedom of expression or religion. And we believe in the importance of protecting legitimate and law-abiding refugees whose very lives may be at stake in immigration proceedings.

We believe that these types of immigration policies are good for people, good for business, and good for innovation. That’s why we’ve long worked to stand up for and raise these issues with people in governments. We will continue to do that.

There’s a monthly Employee Q&A scheduled for Monday. Both Satya and I look forward to addressing these topics further at that time. And we’ll continue to monitor all of these issues and work closely with employees and families that are affected.

Thanks.

Brad

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/microsoft-immigration-ban/?ncid=rss

Consumer-oriented investors may have an edge investing in digital health

Who doesn’t feel some level of frustration over the apparent lack of improvement in either results or patient experience despite the dollars spent within our healthcare system?

I come from a family of doctors, so the feeling is particularly intimate and familiar. I have spent countless dinners hearing my mission-driven father discuss his challenges with reimbursement incentives and inefficient or poor medical practice (much of which continues to be driven by unintuitive technology systems). More recently, he has shifted to offering suggestions that could be driven by government or the private technology sector to improve these shortcomings. In other words, it’s not those on the front lines of delivering care that are the problem.

Like most consumers, I continue to be frustrated by what feels like the slow progress of innovation in the traditional healthcare system. And yet, I’m eternally optimistic about the early-stage innovation I’m seeing today in the digital health sector.

Of all areas, it is patient-centric solutions that gets me the most excited in terms of both potential impact and potential investment returns. Patient-centric solutions afford businesses an end-around to many of the gatekeepers that can block or unduly delay the progress of those taking more traditional go-to-market routes. Perhaps more importantly, they deliver new and better end-user experiences.

The secret is out — or is it?

In most “software eating the world” categories, innovation drives deflationary economics (cheaper pricing for service) and/or better outcomes. In healthcare, we have seen neither at mass scale. Just this fall, a Kaiser report noted that the average family healthcare plan will cost $18,142, up 3.4 percent from 2015, with workers on single coverage health insurance plans paying deductibles of $1,000 or more up 31 percent since 2011.

It’s not for a lack of trying. Dollars are flowing into digital health at an unprecedented rate, with spending in the sector racing toward $32 billion by 2018. So why hasn’t software eaten the world in this category?

Total investment in the sector set a new high-water mark in 2015, with $4.3 billion invested across more than 300 deals. Exits are up too, with 2015 seeing a total of 117 deals — up nearly 300 percent from the prior year — at a total value of more than $10 billion. This is to say, it feels like digital health has finally crossed a tipping point of interest, but the verdict is out on which investors will figure out how and where to disproportionately allocate capital, and what the new winners will look like.

Sources: Rock Health, “Digital Health Funding: 2015 Year in Review” (Deal size and total value include deals only with disclosed value); CB Insights, Digital Health Funding Hits New Highs In 2015.”

Digital health remains a minefield for many potential investors. As I survey the landscape, I can’t help but feel that it has the potential to be a perfect storm of too much interest, too generically applied, all amidst a newly uncertain regulatory environment.

That said, there is another trend that stands out. Looking at where funding is being allocated versus where exits are being realized, it’s clear that this is a category in transition. While the last two to three years have seen investment dollars increasingly shifting toward patient-centric solutions — think Oscar Health, Zocdoc, Teledoc, Clover Health, etc. — the bulk of the exits remain in enterprise-centric categories like practice management and EMR.

As much as anything, this is a reflection of the decade-long exit horizons in venture investing, and thus is a lagging indicator. I expect exits in 2020 and beyond to more closely reflect today’s investment heat map. Furthermore, the biggest patient-centric winner to date is likely Fitbit, whose post-IPO travails reflect the reality that we are still early in this transition and in understanding where long-term value will be created.

Why aren’t there more winners?

Interestingly, healthcare is one of the industries that was the quickest to adopt technology in the latter half of the last century — mainframes, ERPs, EMRs, etc. And yet, more recently, the category has proven among the hardest to penetrate and find true product-market fit. In my opinion, that’s because both the multi-party value-chain and the difficulty in defining metrics make it hard to confidently evaluate the ecosystem.

With the complexity of the healthcare supply chain … it’s easy for incentives to be misaligned.

The healthcare value chain consists of many distinct parties, nearly all of which have different (and often conflicting) incentives. One consequence of this structure is that consumers are on the outside looking in, too often feeling like products and services are “prescribed” to them rather than delivered through consultative, collaborative care. This is in conflict with a feeling of entitlement that arises for many based on the regular flow of income toward insurance premiums. On the other hand, doctors and nurses also feel hamstrung by regulatory and reimbursement requirements, and thus unable to deliver best-in-class care.

With the complexity of the healthcare supply chain, which consists of so many intermediaries and payment methods between the end user and supplier of service, it’s easy for incentives to be misaligned. For operators and investors alike, it’s easy for seemingly positive early traction to be misleading of truly durable product-market fit.

This is one of the many reasons that I’m a huge proponent of patient-centric healthcare innovation. I believe that the biggest winners in this category will be those that drive new and better end-user experiences, often (but not always) outside of the traditional care distribution and reimbursement universe.

So where do we put future dollars?

While the number of startups emerging and amount of venture investment are at an all-time high, most of the trends and technologies catalyzing the health industry to change are either widely accessible (mobile, fitness trackers, bots, BI) or hard to predict (CRISPR).

Meaning, in digital health today, there are two avenues to put money to work: either (i) an investor/operator dedicates themselves to hanging out in CRISPR labs from Berkeley to Berlin; or, (ii) differentiation will come through a real focus on end-user needs or “patient-centric” health. Today, I focus on the latter (and I call some of my smart CRISPR friends when I want to discuss the former).

One of the most appealing attributes of patient-centric solutions is that they enable fast feedback loops and the ability to A/B test different approaches to messaging and audience targeting. Thus, they are more likely to not just find a controllable path to scale, but to address a true end-user need rather than being distracted by early revenue that may appear to indicate “traction” but is actually serving an intermediary’s need over the end user’s.

When evaluating opportunities, I like to see them excel in one of the following areas:

Targeted user groups:

In my mind, the best products often find their early adopters by tapping into the intrinsic motivations of particular personality types. In the case of healthcare innovation, an example might be the “worried well.” Many great businesses will target this audience first and will then move mass market, or target specific populations, such as those with expensive chronic conditions (e.g. diabetes, asthma and heart disease), or demographic-specific conditions (e.g. pregnancy, fertility and Alzheimer’s).

Technology will play an increasingly large role in fixing what ails our healthcare system.

We have already seen new forms of primary care like Parsley Health targeting wellness-oriented populations through a holistic, team-based approach (with doctors trained at the nation’s top traditional medical institutions). Population-specific approaches abound as well, such as Omada for diabetes or ConsejoSano for Hispanic populations. Within our portfolio, we are excited by Nanit’s use of hardware coupled with computer vision software to help parents and caregivers — a highly incentivized audience if there ever was one — to better monitor their baby’s sleep. Not dissimilarly, Nima is offering food allergy sufferers a handheld device capable of detecting dangerous gluten allergens in their food.

In each of these cases, the companies are tapping into the specific and unique fears, motivations and priorities of each population in the way that more general and traditional healthcare solutions routinely fail to do.

Distribution channels that deliver against end-user metrics:

The best distribution channels are usually measured for their ROI effectiveness. One of the most appealing go-to-market channels in my mind is self-insured employers, who have large budgets, diverse populations and the flexibility to move quickly. More importantly, however, they have some of the greatest economic incentives for adopting cost-saving, outcome-improving solutions.

Take Disney, which spends an estimated $700 million per year to cover 180,000 global employees and their families. They have a pure economic incentive to keep this massive and diverse population healthy. As a result, Disney is among the most innovative when it comes to utilizing both new technology-driven programs to address population-specific needs and preventative care that may help reduce avoidable expenses for conditions like back injuries, cesarean procedures and even the onset of diabetes.

Often, the most powerful channels are those that naturally target very specific end-user psychographics. In the case of digital health, this may be companies like Lantern, which can work through mental health facilities, or Maven, working through college health centers.

Each of the two criteria above (targeted populations, focused distribution) are powerful on their own; where it can get really interesting is when you put them together.

Power Supply is the one that I know best, having led their seed round. Power Supply delivers personalized meal plans to a population they have defined as “life optimizers,” people who eat within a certain dietary parameters (eg: vegan or paleo) as an anchor to a specific health-oriented lifestyle. The company therefore chose a distribution model based around offline centers of influence that were also the hangouts of its early target customers.

Initially, they offered meal plans through Crossfit boxes or yoga centers, a highly economic supply chain model that allowed them to support the coach or trainer influencers as well as to collect and act on real-time customer preference feedback via personalized menus, content and population data.  

With this scalable means of engaging consumers, they can now apply that foundation of supply/demand information to more specific health-oriented use cases, such as pre-diabetic patients or patients with kidney disease (serviced through online, corporates or healthcare channels) in a way that’s essentially patient-centric preventative care through food.

In pursuit of patient-centric digital health pioneers

I am confident that technology will play an increasingly large role in fixing what ails our healthcare system. Moreover, I believe strongly that the greatest impact will come through patient-centric thinking and a focus on preventing, rather than simply treating, disease wherever possible. I believe we are just beginning to scratch the surface.

Disclosure: Upfront has invested in Nima, Nanit and Power Supply.

Featured Image: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/consumer-oriented-investors-may-have-an-edge-investing-in-digital-health/?ncid=rss

Uber CEO offers compensation for drivers impacted by immigration ban, will talk to Trump

Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick added his voice today to a growing chorus of tech executives troubled by President Donald Trump’s recent immigration order banning the entry of US residents from seven countries.

Echoing the sentiments of Google’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Kalanick wrote a letter to Uber staff, also posting to his Facebook wall. According to the executive, the ride sharing company has reached out to the dozen or so employees directly impacted by the action.

But, as Kalanick adds, the immediate impact will be far broader for the company, hitting thousands of Uber drivers who often travel back to their countries of origin to visit family.

“We are working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families and putting food on the table,” Kalanick wrote in the memo. “We will have more details on this in the coming days.”

An Uber spokesperson has since confirmed with TechCrunch that the process to determine which drivers will be directly impacted is already underway, though the company will not give a specific timeframe for issuing the compensation.

Kalanick also took the opportunity to address his decision to join Trump’s economic advisory group last month, alongside such tech executives as Elon Musk and Ginni Rometty. The CEO explains that he hoped the gig would offer a chance to help give “citizens a voice,” adding,

[T]his ban will impact many innocent people—an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.

This afternoon I sent the email below to Uber employees:

Team,

Yesterday President Trump signed an executive order suspending entry of citizens from seven countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—to the United States for at least the next 90 days.

Our People Ops team has already reached out to the dozen or so employees who we know are affected: for example, those who live and work in the U.S., are legal residents but not naturalized citizens will not be able to get back into the country if they are traveling outside of the U.S. now or anytime in the next 90 days. Anyone who believes that this order could impact them should contact [email protected] immediately.

This order has far broader implications as it also affects thousands of drivers who use Uber and come from the listed countries, many of whom take long breaks to go back home to see their extended family. These drivers currently outside of the U.S. will not be able to get back into the country for 90 days. That means they will not be able to earn a living and support their families—and of course they will be separated from their loved ones during that time.

We are working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families and putting food on the table. We will have more details on this in the coming days.

While every government has their own immigration controls, allowing people from all around the world to come here and make America their home has largely been the U.S.’s policy since its founding. That means this ban will impact many innocent people—an issue that I will raise this coming Friday when I go to Washington for President Trump’s first business advisory group meeting.

Ever since Uber’s founding we’ve had to work with governments and politicians of all political persuasions across hundreds of cities and dozens of countries. Though we share common ground with many of them, we have had areas of disagreement with each of them. In some cases we’ve had to stand and fight to make progress, other times we’ve been able to effect change from within through persuasion and argument.

But whatever the city or country—from the U.S. and Mexico to China and Malaysia—we’ve taken the view that in order to serve cities you need to give their citizens a voice, a seat at the table. We partner around the world optimistically in the belief that by speaking up and engaging we can make a difference. Our experience is that not doing so shortchanges cities and the people who live in them. This is why I agreed in early December to join President Trump’s economic advisory group along with Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla), Mary Barra (Chairwoman/CEO of General Motors), Indra Nooyi (Chairwoman/CEO of Pepsi), Ginni Rometty (Chairwoman/CEO of IBM), Bob Iger (Chairman/CEO of Disney), Jack Welch (former Chairman of GE) and a dozen other business leaders.

I understand that many people internally and externally may not agree with that decision, and that’s OK. It’s the magic of living in America that people are free to disagree. But whatever your view please know that I’ve always believed in principled confrontation and just change; and have never shied away (maybe to my detriment) from fighting for what’s right.

Thanks,

Travis

Additional reporting by Kate Conger.

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/uber-ceo-offers-compensation-for-drivers-impacted-by-immigration-ban-will-talk-to-trump/?ncid=rss

Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to employees about the immigration ban

While Tim Cook has yet to publicly address the immigration ban that’s beginning to rile a restive tech industry into speaking out against newly elected President Donald J. Trump, he did send an email to staff explaining Apple’s position.

Buzzfeed first published the memo. Here is a full copy obtained by TechCrunch.

Team,

In my conversations with officials here in Washington this week, I’ve made it clear that Apple believes deeply in the importance of immigration — both to our company and to our nation’s future. Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.

I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support.

There are employees at Apple who are directly affected by yesterday’s immigration order. Our HR, Legal and Security teams are in contact with them, and Apple will do everything we can to support them. We’re providing resources on AppleWeb for anyone with questions or concerns about immigration policies. And we have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company.

As I’ve said many times, diversity makes our team stronger. And if there’s one thing I know about the people at Apple, it’s the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It’s as important now as it’s ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected and valued.

Apple is open. Open to everyone, no matter where they come from, which language they speak, who they love or how they worship. Our employees represent the finest talent in the world, and our team hails from every corner of the globe.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”

Tim

The letter was written in Washington, D.C. where Cook and Lisa Jackson, former EPA administrator under Barack Obama and head of Apple’s environmental, policy and social initiatives, were taking meetings with senior Republican and Democratic leaders.

Cook met with Orrin Hatch, the Republican Senator from Utah to discuss the economy and the tech industry’s role in it. Both Cook and Jackson also reportedly met with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump over dinner.

The Trump scion has expressed a willingness to address climate change issues in meetings with former Vice President and noted environmentalist, Al Gore, according to published reports.

While Cook has yet to make a public statement, many others in the tech community have vocally and explicitly condemned the new immigration policy set forth in a series of executive orders from the new Trump administration.

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/28/apple-ceo-tim-cook-sent-an-email-to-employees-about-the-immigration-ban/?ncid=rss