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As Chief Content Officer of a learning company, people frequently ask me: “Won’t all of your content eventually be free? After all, when technology enters the market, free is right behind it.” Then they’ll point to something like the music industry, where annual revenues have declined more than $20 billion from their peak over a decade […]
The post Why Free Is Not the Future of Digital Content in Education appeared first on WIRED.
Iceland is unique in many ways: It has active volcanoes, semi-tasty whale-based dishes, and a kickass travel advertising campaign. It’s also the best place in the world to do genetic research.
The post Why Iceland Is the World’s Greatest Genetic Laboratory appeared first on WIRED.
A new auction is treating seven impactful algorithms like artworks.
The post The First Auction for Algorithms Is Attracting $1,000 Bids appeared first on WIRED.
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On Tuesday, Apple acquired FoundationDB, an enterprise software company with a major open source component. On Wednesday, that open source component was no more.
FoundationDB’s GitHub page, which was a bustling open source repository mere hours ago, has now been locked up. “This organization has no public repositories,” a message now reads, indicating that FoundationDB’s new owners have made the project closed source.
Many developers were using FoundationDB’s open source software for database projects when the software was pulled. Unless those developers had made clones of the GitHub repository, the takedown could put their projects at risk. A group of Hacker News commenters dedicated a thread to discovering recent forks of the repository for anyone using it.
“Pulling an open-source project upon which people may depend is total jerk behavior,” one commenter wrote.
According to commenters on a TechCrunch article about the acquisition, neither FoundationDB nor Apple warned anyone using deployed versions of the software that they were about to close the open-source repository. With such warning, developers could have at least cloned the software on their own accounts and continued their work without major interruption.
Developers had no warning that there was anything unstable about FoundationDB’s open source status. Before the Apple acquisition, company's FAQ stated, "We have released several FoundationDB language bindings and layers as open source software and anticipate continuing to do so." The FAQ has been pulled, but you can still read it here.
With this move, Apple is indicating that everything FoundationDB has created is for its use alone, regardless of how recently it was intended for everyone’s use. It's certainly Apple's right to do so, but there's nothing nice about it.
Photo by hans van den berg
Facebook is testing what it calls "spherical video," a new breed of online video you can view from multiple angles.
The post Facebook Unveils Immersive 360-Degree Video for News Feeds appeared first on WIRED.
Guest author Scott Gerber is founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council.
Gaining new customers is always a priority. But that doesn't mean keeping your existing clients happy isn't also high on the to-do list. Keeping your startup's churn rate steady—and low—is critical.
So what's going wrong when those numbers take a turn for the worse? I polled 10 entrepreneurs from YEC about the surprising things that could negatively effect a company's churn rate, so you can learn how to up your game.Slow Website Loads
How fast your website typically loads will negatively impact your churn rate if it's slow. People don't like to go to a slow site or app. If it takes longer than a second or two to load, I'm going to ditch your app for another one. It's not worth my time.
Pro tip: Speed up your Web server so that you have a lot more RAM and it can process the requests faster. Have solid state hard drives to make everything go faster. A CDN is required to handle loads in different countries, have fast connections, etc.
The goal is to have a fast website/app. This will help customers not get frustrated when using your service.
Most credit cards expire every few years, which will cause recurring transactions to fail. Using a service such as the "account updater" tool in your merchant account can go a long way towards fixing this problem. Additionally, proactively emailing customers prior to the expiration date can encourage them to manually update the card before the transaction fails.
Having easily accessible, clear guidelines and FAQs about how to use the main features will help customers understand how to properly use your product. Otherwise, customers will churn as they spend a long time trying to figure out how to use your site but are not able to experience the full value of the product.
When a product is new, customers are excited. But they can become apathetic if there is no change or improvement. People remain interested in Apple’s iPhone because new versions come out each year. Give your customers something to look forward to by sharing your development roadmap. They will feel connected to your company and excited about the future.
Customers are lazy (you know you are, too). So spend energy simplifying everything throughout the customer funnel—not only how they buy your product, but also how they communicate with your team. No matter how strong your brand is, you will lose customers if interactions are painful or slow.
It is fairly common knowledge that a startup's best weapon is focus, but focus is also your best weapon against churn.
The most common answer to high churn is to keep adding new features. However, the real solution is to cut out features and make your product or service more focused. Do one thing incredibly well and you'll stand out from the pack. In addition, focusing on one thing makes it much easier for customers to "get it" it before they churn.
Most people are so focused on trying to get new clients they forget to promote their brand with the clients they already have. If your clients are consistently getting messages from competitors, they could be lured away. Maintaining communication and promoting your brand to current clients can help ensure they aren't poached by the competition.
It's important that in your client relationship they occasionally hear your voice instead of only reading your emails. Changing providers/vendors is a pain, so give them one more reason not to: Because they don't want to break up with you!
To most customers, the user interface is the product. A poorly designed website, or structure that is not coherent and easy to understand, will create additional hassles for your users. Those hassles will turn into frustrations, and those frustrations into cancellations.
Communication is important, but most customers aren't going to submit a ticket about their ignorance over your product when a plethora of competitors also exist in the market. Every founder needs to take a course in UX Design to better understand the fundamentals of customer interaction with their products.
Your efforts to come across as personal and approachable—to let your customers know you care about them and that their business is important to you—will be one of the hidden factors that can impact your churn rate. If a customer feels zero loyalty to you and a competitor offers a similar service with a lower price, they'll have no motivation to continue giving you business.
You know that you work hard to continually improve your business, but unless you communicate this in a way that lets them know you care, they'll never know. Even just a simple email reaching out to them and giving them suggestions based on their account will let them know you've been working hard for them, and they'll have more reason to prefer you to an unknown competitor.
Lead photo by Neil Bird
In an exclusive interview, Mark Zuckerberg tells WIRED how Facebook is much more than the blue “F” icon on the front of your smartphone.
The post Zuckerberg Wants to Move Fast and Help Everyone Make Money appeared first on WIRED.
Zya Ditty is a new mobile app that turns your typed text into autotuned vocals singing along with famous songs.
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Facebook wants its homegrown messaging app to replace email as the way we communicate with the companies we buy from.
Throughout her closing argument, Kleiner's lead defense attorney sought to show that Pao blamed others for her own failings but was simply not cut out to be a venture capitalist.
The post Kleiner Lawyer Says Pao Twisted Facts to Get a Big Payout appeared first on WIRED.
If you're looking for the beginnings of an Atlantic hurricane this season, point your eyes and satellites at Africa.
The post To See the Birth of an Atlantic Hurricane, Look to Africa appeared first on WIRED.
With 80-year-old glare-cutting science and 60-year-old hipster-cool chic, these iconic sunglasses have ridden the waves of fashion in timeless style.
The post Decades on, Ray-Ban Wayfarers Remain the Pinnacle of Cool appeared first on WIRED.
Ready to go on mystery-solving adventures with Veronica Mars? Pack your binge-watching bags, we're going to Neptune (California)!
When Michael Simmons and Kent Sutherland started building a calendar app for the Mac, their goal was simple: fix everything bad about iCal.
The post Fantastical 2 Is a Crazy-Powerful Calendar App for Your Mac appeared first on WIRED.
In the world of VR hobbyists, the only real hardware is a pidgin of devkits and kludgy peripherals. That may be changing soon.
The post New Headset Could Seamlessly Mash Up VR and Hand-Tracking appeared first on WIRED.
The app aims to bring glimpses of history to your smartphone screen.
The post Clever App Reveals a Snapshot of Your Location—In the Past appeared first on WIRED.