Twitter’s big improvements are ‘already priced in’ (TWTR)

Jack Dorsey

  • Twitter shares may be topping out, according to Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter. 
  • The stock has soared this year, and all of Twitter’s strategy and product improvements are priced in, he says. 
  • Plus, there isn’t a new catalyst that will drive further gains for the moment. 
  • Watch Twitter trade in real time here. 

Twitter has quietly been one of the best performing US stocks this year. It’s up more than 80% this year, but has flown under the radar because of the big gains from tech giants Netflix and Amazon

As Twitter has returned to executing its strength of being a hub for quick, real-time conversation, the improvements it’s needed to make are largely baked into its stock. 

“With the stock up almost 50% since late April, we think most of these factors are priced in,” Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter wrote in a note out to clients. 

One of the improvements Twitter has made is understanding where in the internet landscape it’s competitive. Facebook is dominant as a social-media platform for all types of interaction, but Twitter can be good at engaging users for quicker more current conversations.

“The company is executing better and is clearly more focused on its role as a place for real-time conversation and less on trying to be all things to all people,” Schachter wrote. 

Ans a Goldman Sachs note out in earlier in July pointed out Twitter’s ongoing focus on product improvement. “Twitter continues to focus on the relevance of its product for its core user base, particularly on video,” analyst Heath Terry wrote. 

Even though Schachter raised his price target from $36 a share to $42, he still downgraded the stock from “buy” to “neutral,” adding that a “key challenge for Twitter (and a key reason for our downgrade) is Twitter’s inability to grow MAU meaningfully.”


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The woman with the power to tear Google apart said a breakup might not be the best idea

Margrethe Vestager1

  • There’s lots of speculation that the EU might break Google up because it’s too powerful.
  • The EU’s top competition official, Margrethe Vestager, has shown an appetite for taking on Silicon Valley’s tech firms with multiple investigations and fines.
  • But on Wednesday, she said a breakup wouldn’t be a “silver bullet” for more competition.
  • Vestager is four years into her five-year term and she won’t necessarily have enough time to chop up Google.

There’s lots of speculation that Google will eventually be broken up, and that if a split happens, it will be European regulators who are responsible.

The woman most likely to pick up the axe is Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner, who has overseen multiple anti-trust investigations and just handed Google a $5 billion penalty for abusing its dominance of Andriod.

Asked in a press conference whether a Google break-up would be good for competition, Vestager replied: “I don’t know. I don’t know if it would serve the purpose of more competition to have Google broken up.

“I think what will serve competition is for more players to have a real go to be able to reach consumers. So we can use our choice to find out what suits us the best.”

But later Vestager pointed out that she might not be competition commissioner long enough to break up Google. Her mandate lasts for five years and she is already four years in. She has indicated that she would like a second term.

She said: “It would definitely not be for this mandate. Even if I was lucky enough to get the next one, maybe not for that one either. The thing is, I think we should have competition and I don’t think there are any silver bullets in breaking up a company to do that.

“And here we have a decision which is very clear, which will allow mobile device producers to have a choice. That will allow us as consumers to have a choice as well. That’s what competition is about. And I think that is much more important than a discussion of whether or not breaking up a company would do that.”

Google shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Vestager immediately added her support for a new law proposed by the EU that would regulate how Google, Apple, and other big tech firms deal with smaller businesses. It would give small businesses transparency around areas like how search results are ranked, and why big firms delist some services.

She also said back in March that the breakup of Google was a question that should still be “open and on the agenda.”

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14 superhero movies whose successes and failures have shaped the genre since 2008, from the grit of ‘The Dark Knight’ to the dominance of the MCU

the dark knight

Audiences are spoiled with superhero movies today. 

Between this year and last, we’ve been treated to six movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not to mention everything else in between. Whether it be DC and Warner Bros.’ answer to the MCU in the divisive DC Extended Universe, or Fox’s “X-Men” franchise, superhero fans — for better or worse — have no shortage of movies to consume.

It was a different landscape 10 years ago. 

In 2008, superhero movies were still popular, but they were at a dramatically different place tonally and culturally. “Cinematic universes” weren’t the talk of Tinseltown. In fact, the MCU had only just begun with “Iron Man” and the less impressive “The Incredible Hulk” later that summer. And “The Dark Knight” was a blockbuster phenomenon.

Looking back at that year today, it’s apparent that it was a turning point for the superhero genre. “The Dark Knight,” widely regarded as the best film in the genre but also regularly recognized as more of a crime thriller that happens to star a comic-book character, inspired countless less-successful copycats. Characters like Spider-Man and Superman would get the “dark and gritty and grounded” treatment in an effort to replicate the success of “The Dark Knight.”

But “The Dark Knight,” in hindsight, seems like an outlier. It’s hard to imagine the movie working by today’s superhero movie standards, which is why the movies it inspired were destined for failure. That’s thanks to the MCU, which was laying the groundwork for what the superhero genre — and much of the rest of Hollywood — would become at a time when studios thought “The Dark Knight” was the way of the future.

With that in mind, the genre has faced a sort of “whiplash” effect throughout the last 10 years, and below I’ll go through the evolution of the genre over that course of time — from the failure of “The Amazing Spider-Man” movies to the ascension of the MCU, and why no other studio can seem to replicate it.

Below is the evolution of the superhero genre since 2008, the notable movies that helped shape it during the last 10 years, and what the future may hold:

2008: “Iron Man”

“The Dark Knight” would become the cultural sensation of 2008, but it was released in July. “Iron Man” preceded it by a couple months in May, and little did we know at the time that it would set the precedent for the superhero genre 10 years later. “Iron Man” was the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It got things off to an impressive start, but the franchise wouldn’t find its footing again until “The Avengers” four years later. 

“Iron Man” is a remarkable achievement for a number of reasons, even excluding the fact that it kickstarted the MCU. Before this Jon Favreau-directed movie, Iron Man wasn’t a household name. But as soon as Robert Downey Jr. stepped into the gold and red armor, Iron Man was suddenly A-list. The movie grossed nearly $600 million worldwide and has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, which was the highest rated MCU movie until “Black Panther” this year.

There’s an argument to be made that if not for the promise of “Iron Man” that the MCU could have derailed, just as its competition, the DC Extended Universe, has. The movies that followed it in the franchise weren’t as well-received, but “Iron Man” kept the ship afloat until “The Avengers” in 2012. 

2008: “The Dark Knight”

Looking back, “The Dark Knight” is one of a kind. It was unique in 2008, but against the current status quo of superhero movies, nothing has matched it (the closest is “Logan,” but more on that later). 

In an age of cinematic universes, “The Dark Knight” succeeded in a time when superhero stories still had a definitive end. Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy had wrapped up a year prior with “Spider-Man 3,” and “The Dark Knight” was the middle part of a planned trilogy from Christopher Nolan. Today we have franchises within franchises — there have been three Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America movies, but they are all within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They may be trilogies in the traditional sense, but they are also cogs in a larger machine. Whatever happens in “Captain America: Civil War” or “Thor: Ragnarok,” even if they have their own distinct tone, carries over into the rest of the franchise. 

That wasn’t the case with “The Dark Knight.” Audiences flocked to the theater despite Batman being on his own (the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the Joker may have helped). There is no Superman, or Wonder Woman, or Flash. This was a Batman story, told the Christopher Nolan way, and it still made over $1 billion worldwide.

The MCU has managed to let filmmakers imbue the movies with their own style recently, but “The Dark Knight” trilogy feels like the last time a superhero series wasn’t heavily influenced by outside forces, whether studio involvement or the pressure to tie into a larger universe. It ended on its own terms.

And even though it was the second part of a trilogy, “The Dark Knight” has become a classic in its own right. It’s known more for the backlash the Oscars received for not nominating it for best picture, and the expansion of the number of nominees the following year, and less for being a superhero movie. Whatever accolades movies like “Logan” or “Black Panther” may receive, it’s hard to match the significance of “The Dark Knight.”

2009: “Watchmen”

A year after “The Dark Knight,” another “dark and gritty” superhero movie was released that can also be perceived as not a superhero movie, but a political thriller that happens to star costumed vigilantes. 

While “Watchmen” was obviously in development before “The Dark Knight” struck success, Warner Bros. was probably hoping it would have another cultural phenomenon on its hands. But “Watchmen” had more going against it than for it. It featured no recognizable characters like Batman, was rated R, and was based on a highly acclaimed graphic novel. But the thinking was maybe if it didn’t make a lot of money (it didn’t), then it would at least be praised by critics (it wasn’t).

Director Zack Snyder was a hot item at the time, having directed 2004’s “Dawn of the Dead” and 2007’s “300.” And while “Watchmen” didn’t become the groundbreaking piece of art that the graphic novel is regarded as, Warner Bros. would later go all-in on Snyder’s abilities to carry its own cinematic universe — to mixed results (more on that later). 

If “Watchmen” proved anything, it’s that audiences didn’t see “The Dark Knight” just because it was a “dark” superhero movie. It had cultural importance, and was just as much of an “event” as it was a movie. “Watchmen” the graphic novel had that importance among comic-book readers, but to casual moviegoers, who cared? 

“Watchmen” also proved that some ideas are better for the small screen: As movies have leaned more and more on franchise tentpoles, television is in a “golden age” for the opposite reasons. As Ben Fritz writes in his book “The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies,” “shifting economic and technological factors have fueled an explosion of originality and risk taking that makes the ‘idiot box’ home to arguably the best content Hollywood has ever produced.”

Even though it’s based on pre-existing material, the risk and creativity involved in something like “Watchmen” makes it perfect for television. “Lost” and “The Leftovers” creator Damon Lindelof is currently developing a “Watchmen” pilot for HBO.

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One of China’s biggest startups is a $3 billion education company — here’s why education is such a big business in China

China university graduate

  • One of the hottest sectors in the Chinese technology industry is education tech. Online English-tutoring is expected to grow to an $8 billion business by next year.
  • Education technology is such a big business in China because families are willing to invest more than a third of their income into their children’s education, according to Dr. Zhang Weining, an associate professor at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.
  • Chinese society places an extremely high value on education and, more specifically, quality English language instruction, Zhang said. However, quality English teachers are in short supply in China.
  • VIPKID, a Chinese education tech company valued at $3 billion, has capitalized on this trend by connecting fluent English-speaking teachers with Chinese students through their online platform.

Earlier this year, Chinese education startup VIPKID raised $500 million at a valuation of over $3 billion. It’s an eye-popping valuation for any startup, but particularly so for one in the education technology sector. 

Such a valuation for an education startup is practically unheard of in the US. But not in China.

The online English-tutoring market is expected to hit $8 billion by next year, according to iResearch, a research group focusing on the Chinese internet.

The big numbers speak to a feature of Chinese culture, according Dr. Zhang Weining, an associate professor at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. 

“Education is the top priority for every family in China. That comes from tradition,” Zhang told Business Insider, who added that Chinese families are typically willing to invest a third or even half of their income into their children’s education. 

“Families will buy a very, very expensive instrument for a kid to learn music while living in a very, very small apartment and eating very, very simple food,” Weining said. “They do this because the kid is the hope of the entire family. It’s a lot of pressure on the kids, but it means kids get a higher budget for education.”

As the country’s middle class continues to grow and become increasingly affluent, it’s no surprise that businesses around education would grow with it. 

English speaking ability is a major focus of Chinese education, as it is seen as important in the job market and for future business opportunities. But quality English teachers are difficult to find in China, particularly outside big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and lessons in brick-and-mortar schools can be expensive.

VIPKID has capitalized on the trend by connecting fluent English-speaking teachers with young Chinese students for one-on-one 25-minute virtual English tutoring lessons.

As of last year, the company had 296,363 students and 38,724 teachers, up from 3,305 students and 404 educators in 2015, according to Bloomberg. And the Beijing-based company’s revenue has jumped from $300 million in 2016 to $760 million last year.

Zhang, who taught VIPKID’s 34-year-old CEO and founder Cindy Mi at CKGSB, applauded Mi’s efforts to use technology to expand access to education in China.

“She’s bringing these high-quality resources to another place, through the internet, to solve the problem of education,” Weining said of Mi. “Previously, Chinese students couldn’t learn from American teachers. Just because of the location. But the internet can solve this problem.

VIPKID is far from the only company in China capitalizing on the education market. In April, one of VIPKID’s competitors, iTutorGroup, began raising $300 million at a valuation of $2 billion. Other major competitors in the space include DadaABC and 51Talk, the latter of which is publicly traded.

Meanwhile, New Oriental Education & Technology Group, a public company founded in 1993, has seen its market value triple in three years to nearly $14 billion. 

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Google has been fined a record $5 billion by the EU (GOOG)

Margrethe Vestager Sundar Pichai EU Google [USAGE FOR ANDROID FINE ONLY]

  • Google has been fined a record $5 billion by the European competition watchdog for abusing the dominance of its mobile operating system Android.
  • Google is accused of forcing smartphone makers like Samsung and Huawei to preinstall its own services, such as Google Search and Google Maps, on Android.
  • The timing couldn’t be worse for Google given the growing global appetite to break up big tech — and the company may be forced to unbundle Android from its search business.

Google has been fined a record €4.3 billion ($5 billion, £3.8 billion) by Europe’s competition watchdog for abusing its dominant Android mobile operating system to cement the popularity of Google apps and services.

It’s the biggest antitrust fine ever given by Europe’s competition regulator against a single firm, and cements competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s reputation as Silicon Valley’s policewoman.

Vestager said on Wednesday: “Today, the commission… rules Google has engaged in illegal practices to cement its dominant market position in internet search. It must put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments.”


The European Commission found Google had used Android, the most popular mobile software globally, to reinforce its own dominance in search.

The commission said Google forced Android phone makers to pre-install Google Chrome and Google Search on their devices in order to access Google’s app store, Google Play. According to the commission, forcing manufacturers to pre-install apps like Search meant Google could protect its core search business from competition. Google’s search business accounts for the majority of its revenue.

Vestager said Google also made payments to phone makers to ensure they exclusively pre-intalled its search app on their devices. And finally, she said Google had stopped manufacturers selling phones running “forked” versions of Android.

google android figure employee

Google has previously argued that Android has helped create rather than hinder choice. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is the third major investigation into Google by Europe’s competition watchdog, and it has lasted more than three years. The firm was hit with a €2.4 billion (£2.1 billion/$2.7 billion) fine last year for promoting its own shopping service in search. Google is appealing the fine. And there is a third investigation underway over whether Google’s AdSense technology protects its dominant position in online advertising.

It’s also the latest in a long line of penalties and probes into Silicon Valley firms by Margrethe Vestager, who has imposed the record fines against Google, a fine against Facebook over its WhatsApp acquisition, and an investigation into Apple over its purchase of music app Shazam.

This is a developing story… 

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Millions are battling mental illness — these entrepreneurs are trying to tackle it via technology

April Koh of Spring Health and Alison Darcy of Woebot

  • Nearly one in five adults lives with a diagnosed mental illness, and estimates suggest that only half of these people receive treatment. 
  • Entrepreneurs Alison Darcy and April Koh have both started companies to address mental health issues. 
  • Darcy’s startup, Woebot, is an on-the-go therapy chatbot and app that uses the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat depression.
  • Koh’s startup, Spring Health, sells a digital mental health benefit to employers.
  • Both Koh and Darcy are making waves in the mental health space, and they were featured on Business Insider’s 30 health-tech leaders under 40 to watch. 

In the age of social media and the internet, instant digital connectivity can paradoxically make us feel very isolated

“People are a lot lonelier than we realize,” said Alison Darcy, founder and CEO of Woebot, a virtual therapist who will talk you through a panic attack at 3 a.m.  

Woebot is just one of the new companies looking to address mental illness. Another is Spring Health, a startup founded by April Koh which sells a digital platform to companies to get their employees better access to mental health treatment. Both Darcy and Koh are featured on Business Insider’s 30 health-tech leaders under 40 list

Over 44.7 million adults in the US live with a diagnosed mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That’s nearly one in every five adults, yet there is still a significant stigma attached to discussing mental health issues.

Estimates by the National Institute of Mental Health suggest that only half of people with mental illnesses receive treatment. 

But new startups are pioneering a dramatic shift in how mental illness is diagnosed and treated. 

“The fact is that a large number of people in the United States will never get in touch with a clinician,” Darcy said. “Around the world, it’s much worse than that. More than half of the population in the world does not have base access to basic healthcare. So we just have to do better.” 

Darcy was previously a clinical research psychologist at Stanford, creating and developing treatments in a traditional, academic way. She left to build Woebot, which can deliver cognitive behavioral therapy that users can access on their phones or on Facebook messenger. 

The app checks-in with patients every day, asks how they’re doing, and gives insights like “oh, you seem to be anxious every Sunday evening, what’s going on on Mondays?” 

The non-intimidating, conversational format doesn’t deviate from the fact that it’s backed by a lot of algorithms, and can give users in-the-moment resources and advice. 

In a world in which social media can breed unhappiness and loneliness, “everyone tells you everyone else is happier, and everything you do essentially amplifies,” said Darcy. “That’s not exactly a recipe for inner peace.” 

Woebot, Darcy said, is not a replacement for traditional therapy, but part of an ecosystem where people have more choice to decide how they want to go about their mental health journey and when they should seek more intensive care through real-life therapy. 

Koh’s Spring Health, meanwhile, takes a different tack. The company is trying to integrate mental healthcare into traditional benefits offered by employers and companies.

Spring Health is a digital mental health clinic that can preliminarily screen for mental health issues through an online questionaire. It then suggests personalized treatment options, and can connect users virtually with mental health professionals in their insurance network, based on their responses. This increases the ease of access for employees and their family members, and shortens the time between diagnosis and treatment planning.

Spring Health also uses clinically-validated machine learning to determine the best treatment plan for the patient. Koh saw her best friend cycle through seven different antidepressants before finding one that fit her, and she wants to use tech to shorten the trial and error process. 

Mental health, untreated, can be a costly endeavor for employers. Serious mental illness costs America $193 billion in lost earnings per year, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry. 

Spring Health, in turn, is trying to make it make the mental healthcare experience better and more widely available. 

“The industry is incredibly opaque so you’ll Google around for a therapist or psychiatrist and you’ll see a static list of providers with phone numbers, and they may or may not take your phone call,” said Koh. 

Koh believes millennials are becoming more open to talking about mental health issues, which will open the door to better solutions. 

“Stigma is being greatly reduced, so employers feel much more comfortable around bringing in tools and solutions that could help their employees become more mentally resilient,” she said. 

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10 things in tech you need to know today (AMZN)

Diamond and Silk Donald Trump

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.

1. Walmart and Microsoft, Amazon’s two most powerful rivals, decided to team up on cloud technology. Microsoft will provide cloud services to make online shopping faster and easier for Walmart customers.

2. Google has removed the CEO of its Nest unit, which makes internet-connected thermostats and other devices, and will fold the business into another team within the companyAccording to CNET, which first reported the news, the change came after Google received complaints about Marwan Fawaz’s leadership

3. Walmart is considering launching its own streaming service. According to The Information, the service would only cost $8 per month, which is cheaper than Netflix and Amazon.

4. A top voting machine vendor admitted to selling election equipment that included a serious vulnerability between 2000 and 2006. The vulnerability could have allowed malicious actors to remotely access and manipulate the systems that tabulate votes and program some voting machines.

5. A Facebook executive testified in front of the House Judiciary committee on Tuesday, fielding questions about how the platform polices content. During the hearing, the executive apologized to Diamond and Silk, pro-Trump vloggers who claim that Facebook is biased against conservatives.

6. Disgraced political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica tried to sell itself to 18,000 buyers, but received just four paltry offers for its business, some for as little as £1. Cambridge Analytica went into administration in May and is now facing liquidation.

7. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly had a call with the EU’s competition commission ahead of a big antitrust fine for the company. According to Bloomberg, the eleventh-hour call was intended to determine the state of play.

8. Twitter has paused its work on fixing its ‘blue tick’ verification process, because it’s focused on combating misinformation. The company’s new head of product, Kayvon Beykpour, said fixing the system “isn’t a top priority for us right now.”

9. Slack has acquired Missions, an enterprise software startup. Missions lets non-IT employees create new features inside Slack.

10. Google is running a private cable underneath the Atlantic Ocean to speed up its infrastructure. The cable will boost the span and reach of Google Cloud and should be up and running by 2020.

Have an Amazon Alexa device? Now you can hear 10 Things in Tech each morning. Just search for “Business Insider” in your Alexa’s flash briefing settings.

One last thing: Business Insider wants your nominations for the coolest people in the British tech industry. Please get in touch if you know someone who should be included in our UK Tech 100.

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TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot went undercover as an errand-runner and had to clean someone’s dirty apartment

TaskRabbit Stacy Brown-Philpot

  • TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot is an icon in Silicon Valley as a former Googler, as well as a board member at Nordstrom and HP.
  • She’s been with TaskRabbit since 2013. She came on as COO, and was promoted to CEO in 2016. TaskRabbit was purchased by Ikea in late 2017.
  • To better understand her company, which allows people to hire others to do a variety of tasks and errands, she did the responsible thing and went undercover.
  • She recently shared a funny story of showing up to clean a stranger’s house.

The execs at so-called “gig economy” companies — those companies making apps that let one person hire another to, say, drive you around, or put you up for the night — sometimes go undercover as workers on their own platforms. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi briefly drove an Uber; Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky used to be a host himself.

And Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO of TaskRabbit, says she was once hired as a “tasker” too. She took a job to clean someone’s apartment and found it to be “stressful,” she said on stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado on Tuesday.

Not only did she have to clean the apartment in two hours — including a surprisingly dirty oven that she didn’t know about until she opened it — but the task was for someone who was moving out “and had to get their deposit back.”

So she felt pressure because the customer had “money on the line.”

She never told the customer that she was the undercover CEO. But she did rise to the challenge.

“He got his deposit back,” she proudly said.

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Andreessen Horowitz’s newest general partner left a lasting impression on Chance the Rapper after she helped him enter the Chinese market


  •  Connie Chan, a Silicon Valley venture capital focused on consumer tech and China, was promoted to general partner at her firm Andreessen Horowitz on Tuesday.
  • But Chan, it turns out, has another area of expertise as a go-between for the global rap community.
  • She even helped Chance the Rapper enter the Chinese market, according to Andreessen Horowitz cofounder Ben Horowitz.

Venture capitalist Connie Chan is known in Silicon Valley for her expertise on the Chinese tech market. But it turns out she also knows a thing or two about the international rap scene. 

That factoid was revealed Tuesday by her boss, Andreessen Horowitz cofounder Ben Horowitz, in a blog post announcing her promotion to general partner of the firm. Chan, who focuses on consumer startups, joined the firm in 2011 as an analyst before getting an unprecedented promotion to a top spot this week. 

“Through the course of her work, everyone whom we ever connected with Connie — from Ben Keighran, founder/CEO of Caffeine, to Chance the Rapper — came back with the same feedback: ‘Connie is the best.’ Yes, we know,” Horowitz wrote

Chance the Rapper isn’t a tech founder. But Chan did give him some critical business advice as a favor, Horowitz explained to Business Insider:

“I am friends with Chance’s father Ken [Williams-Bennett]. They had a plan for Chance to enter the Chinese market, but it wasn’t great,” Horowitz said in an email, explaining that since Chance is an independent artist, he didn’t have a label to support the effort.

I asked Connie to help out and she made the whole thing a giant success. She has some great photos,” he continued.  

Chance isn’t the only rapper with close ties to the VC firm. The rapper Divine even dedicated a song to its firm’s cofounder, aptly entitled “Venture Capitalist (Like Ben Horowitz).” 

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San Francisco’s ‘poop problem’ and homelessness crisis is so dire that the city’s new mayor said she saw ‘more feces’ on the city’s streets than she’s ever seen

san francisco mayor london breed

  • In a recent interview with NBC Bay Area, San Francisco’s new mayor London Breed said she saw “more feces” on the sidewalks of the city during a recent stroll than she had ever seen.
  • Breed’s findings are a part of a broader issue affecting the city by the Bay in which a lack of affordable housing has spawned a homelessness crisis, leading to copious amounts of drug needles, garbage and feces being found in the streets.
  • Breed was sworn in as mayor last Wednesday and among her endeavors is to increase the construction of affordable housing in San Francisco and implement supervised and safe injection sites, where individuals can use their own drugs indoors instead of in public spaces.


San Francisco’s new mayor London Breed has lived in the city by the Bay for most of her life — and in all that time, she told a local NBC affiliate that she’s never seen as much human feces piled on the sidewalks as she did during a recent stroll through the city.

“I will say there is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here,” Breed told NBC in a recent interview. “That is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs — we’re talking about from humans.”

Breed’s findings are a part of a broader issue affecting San Francisco in which 7,499 homeless individuals live on the city’s streets without access to public restrooms and other necessary resources. Due to a variety of factors, including  a lack of affordable housing and shortcomings in the mental healthcare system, the homelessness crisis in the city has resulted in drug needles, human feces and garbage riddling the streets to a degree comparable to that in some of the world’s dirtiest slums.

The destitution on the streets has made for a startling contrast to the tech industry wealth on display throughout the city, as companies like Google, Facebook and Salesforce have staffed up with highly-paid computer programmers and other employees.

Breed, a San Francisco native who grew up in the city’s public housing, was sworn in as mayor last Wednesday and among her endeavors is to increase the construction of affordable housing and implement safe, supervised injection sites for homeless individuals to use drugs instead of the very public drug activity the city sees daily.

Just last week during Breed’s tour of the city, a video captured by NBC Bay Area shows a man appearing to prepare a needle as the mayor walks past him.

But a promise that Breed gave to NBC during last week’s interview was that the city will see cleaner streets within three months of her mayoral inauguration. That means that by October, perhaps San Francisco’s “poop problem” will have lessened.

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