Tag Archives: Technology

Perks Competing Against Perks

When it comes to Silicon Valley companies and perks and benefits offered, people don’t mess around. Nearly every company here these days will offer you your standard medical, vision, and dental benefits, and while that is fantastic for everywhere else around the world, it barely cuts it here. Instead, you have to go beyond that with catered breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day during the work week, onsite massages, Uber/Lyft credits, 4 months+ maternity and paternity leave, gym memberships, etc. The most extravagant perk I’ve heard about in recent months – coverage for women to freeze their eggs. That is a HUGE deal. Now, another company is getting into the mix with a unique set of perks that I’m hearing about for the first time.

The CEO of Boxed, Chieh Huang, is coming forward by announcing that employees will have their weddings paid for up to $20,000 and paying college tuition for his employees’ children. Now, amounts for the tuition weren’t disclosed and I’m still scratching my head at what that amount will be, but it’s still a very generous offering.

The idea behind the generous perks came to Huang when he visited employees in the Boxed warehouses. Some were struggling to make ends meets and to provide for their children’s future, hence the tuition program. The wedding idea came from talking to an employee named Marcel who was taking a second job because he was paying for his mother’s health care and planning a wedding. The payments are meaningful for both Huang and the employees, as you can see in a video of the moment. When asked by NBC News, Marcel explained how important it is, “You’re helping us breathe a little, looking towards the future.”

[Source]

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Blog Roundup

  • How 6 Asian Women Have Grown to Embrace Their Beauty in a World Influenced by Western Ideals [Bustle]
  • Molly Young: How I Shop [Fashionista]

  • The Ken Doll rebooted [GQ]

  • Square unveils customizable prepaid debit cards [The Verge] These are really cute!
  • How to take good photos of fireworks this coming 4th of July [GOOD]
  • Women in tech speak frankly on culture of harassment [New York Times]
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AutoDraw

Boy, do I have a new time waster for you. I just discovered AutoDraw this evening and this was clearly made for the person who can’t art at all. The tool lets you draw what you want, but then using artificial intelligence, predicts what you might be drawing and allows you to upgrade with a better version of your drawing. The final result ends up looking something along the lines of clip art, but at least you won’t have any squiggly lines. Enjoy!

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Blog Roundup

  • How a 6-year old became one of Japan’s Instagram icons [Vice]
  • A woman’s journey to having a career in beauty after growing up on welfare [Allure]
  • A history of those Real World vs. Road Rules challenges [Buzzfeed]
  • Hear women discuss the sexism they face in Silicon Valley – a video [Wired]
  • Why you feel exhausted [Man Repeller]
  • This quiz will tell you your favorite rom-com [Livingly] I got How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and it’s true I’ve seen that movie a million times.
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The Digital Bystander

Thanks so much Herman for sharing this. This is actually something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I recently had a conversation with friends about bullying and how I’m convinced that it’s actually 10x worse now because of the digital age than it was when I was a kid growing up. There is so much fascination that surrounds controversy. You want to be a part of it and if you’re not there, you hope someone got a video of it so that you can view it later. What the digital bystander reminds me of is that television series that used to air on ABC about really terrible moments happening in “real life” situations and a hidden camera seeing if anyone is willing to stand up and say something. ie) the one example I can think of is a parent berating his child in a very public restaurant and then you can see which people there are willing to step in and who sits idly by. In the digital world, everyone is idle.

I’m a user of Instagram Stories and I’ve used Instagram Live, but I would lying to you if I said that things like Instagram Live and Facebook Live didn’t scare me because of the nature of potentially dangerous content as you can see from this video. I like Facebook as a product and I sincerely hope that they can combat this, but we may have to lower our expectations in people.

[Source]

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Blog Roundup

  • This photo of Myspace Tom is iconic. [The Verge]
  • What causes workplace depression [Science Nordic]
  • The stereotypes we create when we discuss gender [Psychology Today]
  • Chrissy Teigen opens up about her postpartum depression and this is so important. [Glamour]
  • Netflix is experimenting with “Choose Your Adventure” for their original shows [The Fader]

  • Jerrod Carmichael talks about his comedy show airing on HBO tonight. Anyone else watching?! [The Hundreds]
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Instagram Allows Multiple Photo and Video Posting

Announced this morning, Instagram is now allowing all users within the next few weeks to begin posting up to 10 photos and videos that can be viewed in a swipeable carousel. To clarify, some companies and businesses that have ads on Instagram have been allowed to do this for some time, but now all users will be able to. The idea behind this is that now users will be able to share their entire experiences instead of having to always choose the best photo from an event to post. It reminds me in a lot of ways of Facebook’s photo albums.

I love Instagram as a product; I don’t think that’s a secret at all. I’m also very impressed that the company seems to be releasing new products and features almost every couple of months unlike a lot of other tech companies in this area. It keeps things really exciting and I think they’re off to a pretty good trajectory given that they have 600 million monthly users. I’m not quite sure if I’ll be using this feature yet though because I’m worried that it could affect how many likes I could get when I like seeing how many likes I get for an individual photo. My other concern too is that if people feel they can post an album of 10 photos/videos, will this diminish the quality of the photos selected, given that Instagram has already set the bar pretty high in making it known that you can post one really good photo. Whatever the case, I’m interested in seeing how other bloggers and influencers will use this product over the next few months and if it’s something that I’ll take a stab at!

[Source]

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Hater

In 2017, there’s a dating app for every kind of person. For a long time, I thought the most creative was “Farmers Only,” but as dating apps grew in popularity, there was no limit or bounds for the specific type of person you might be looking for. With that said, the more specific you are looking for, the less options you end up having. One dating app that came onto the scene this week was “Hater” – for those who have a mutual hate for something. It doesn’t seem like the most warm and fuzzy foot to jump off on, but if it works for people, then why not? According to Vice, if you hate Taylor Swift, camping, or Donald Trump (which I imagine to be a larger population here) then you’re in luck! There’s other people just like you and they might even be compatible with you too.

The app will officially launch February 8th (just in time for Valentine’s Day!) and upon signing up, you’ll get to swipe on all the things you hate. After that, you’ll begin getting matched up with others that have a mutual hate just like you. Currently the app has 2,000 topics you can swipe on, but it’s not clear if you have to do all 2,000 as soon as you sign up. How time consuming! Eventually the people behind the app hope that they can generate more topics for people to hate so that it can build itself out through their users.

For more information, check out Vice – happy swiping!

 

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Top Smartphone Apps of 2016

When Veronica and I grabbed lunch together the other day, we started to think about how much a difference four years can make. We graduated in 2012 and in 2016, so much in our lives have changed. I’m now living in California while she is in Seattle and hello! Married! However, in the larger scheme of things not only has our world changed – but the country’s and how we do things in our day to day lives. We were talking about the different tech companies in the Bay Area and all of a sudden we are both like, “How did we function without Uber in our lives?!” “What did we do while we were in college?” For one thing, I was still using a Blackberry! Those things are practically extinct now. It’s fitting that this report was published above about the top apps being used on smartphones. Google and Facebook continue to dominate as always.

[Source]

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Tour Google’s Latest Pop Up in NYC

Google is and always will be just a fascinating company to me. Some of the things they work on and the different teams that they house sometimes overwhelm me because not only is it just a lot in volume and size, but Google has their hands on everything – apps, phones, home, maps, etc. Pretty soon, sometimes I worry that we won’t really need anything else because Google will just replace everything and make it better. I didn’t know that they opened a pop up recently in Soho until I read about it on Doobybrain, but definitely thought it was interesting enough to share. If you get a chance to view it in real life, you should!

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Airbnb Launches Trips

Airbnb made a major announcement today at the company’s annual conference, Airbnb Open, in Los Angeles. In addition to already allowing their users to book rooms and homes from other hosts, Airbnb is highlighting a new feature that lets guests plan their trip as an entire experience. It’s interesting because the way in which they described it really resonated with me. I don’t often plan many trips unless they have a purpose – party, event, visiting, etc. and when I begin to think about a trip that I could take for myself that is fun, it sort of stresses me out! Where would I go? What would I do that allows me to have the entire experience and isn’t completely touristy and you know, *basic?* Their new feature was designed exactly for people that have the same travel anxieties as I do. With Airbnb trips, which will launch in 50+ cities next year, you can filter through activities that you want to include on your trip either as a one-time thing or several activities that can last a few days – also called “immersions.” Basically, you’d be allowed to pick and choose from different experiences to create a travel schedule for yourself.

“If you want to have an amazing trip, you end up basically on a research project,” says CEO Brian Chesky, who announced the news onstage today at the company’s annual Airbnb Open conference in Los Angeles. Still, he adds, “you’re in line, you’re lonely, you’re outside, and you’re doing things locals never do.” Airbnb Trips is a way around that, Chesky says. “if you have a passion, an interest, or a hobby, you can share your community with other sin the world.” Airbnb is starting with 12 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Paris. The goal is to launch Trips in more than 50 cities by next year.

[Source]

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Style Girlfriend

First off, it’s not even an app! I’m actually very intrigued by Style Girlfriend because I can’t even tell you how many of my guy friends ask me for style advice on a regular basis. Actually the last interaction that comes to mind is Tommy on a shopping trip and sending me photos of every shirt in a store.

“What do you think about this one?”

“Do we like this one?”

“How’s this?”

I think my response was… “Isn’t Leslie [your girlfried] right next to you?!

From now on, when my friends ask me for style advice, I might just direct them straight to Style Girlfriend. However, what kind of good friend would I be if I didn’t check this out for myself to make sure that this was legit? It’s likely that the next time someone has a question, we’ll ask together and make sure that whoever is typing on the other end has an answer that matches mine. For now, we think this is a pretty good idea!

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Pace Gallery – Menlo Park

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This past spring, a few friends and I decided to check out the Pace Gallery in Menlo Park and we’re now sharing a couple of photos from the exhibit. For a couple months before that, I had seen tons of photos from people that were visiting and I just couldn’t wait any longer to see it in person. Let me just say that Menlo Park is not an exciting city. It’s the home to Facebook, sure, but it’s mostly just families residing here and stuff, but this is THE coolest thing in this city and it makes a ton of people flock to it so that they can all get cool Instagram photos.

I swear to you – when I arrived – everyone was dressed like a fashion blogger and that’s not something you usually see in Menlo Park. All that aside, the gallery is pretty cool. It was fun to stop by and it felt like it was right in my neighborhood since I didn’t have to drive all the way up to the city for it. It probably takes about an hour to go through it all, which is a comfortable amount of time. There’s also a separate building for a kids’ exhibit, but most of the adults enjoy going there too.

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300 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

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Instagram Adds Zoom

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I remember when I first used Instagram, I always used to wonder why you couldn’t zoom in on the photos. You could do it on Facebook… and Facebook owned Instagram so… what’s up with that? Over time, I sort of just forgot about it and accepted the fact that zooming in on photos was just something that I was never going to be able to do on Instagram. Luckily for us though, the developers didn’t forget that it was a pain point for some users so that when they actually created the feature, users like me, would realize once again just how much we needed/wanted it.

I’ve used it a couple of times now within the last few days and while it’s nice to know that I have the option, it hasn’t made that much of a difference for me! Readers, what do we think? Is it really that big of a deal?

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Airbnb’s New Tokyo Office

Tech company, Airbnb, has opened up a new office in Tokyo and as you can already imagine, it’s stunning. Personally, I’ve never had a chance to visit their office in San Francisco, but have always heard that it is one of the best offices out of all the startup and tech companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco so it’s no surprise that Tokyo wouldn’t follow suit. At nearly 2,000 the square feet, this office was designed to blend both “local and global cultures” which you can see throughout these photos.

Per employee feedback, the theme of nature is heavily incorporated throughout the new design, with the end result serving as a breath of fresh air from the city’s chaotic Shinjuku district outside. Staff members can dine in the light-filled café and reception area, follow wooden paths to the various meeting rooms, and remove their shoes and relax on the tatami mats peppered throughout the office.

[Source]

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