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New research shows European startups are spending drastically less on a US launch, for the same gains - techcrunch

New research shows European startups are spending drastically less on a US launch, for the same gains

It used to be the case that in order to scale glocally, European companies needed to spend big on launching in the US to achieve the kind of growth they wanted. That usually meant re-locating large swathes of the team to the San Francisco / Bay Area, or New York. New research suggests that is […]
techcrunch - 33 minutes ago
‘AI-powered’ fitness app Freeletics scores $25M Series B - techcrunch

‘AI-powered’ fitness app Freeletics scores $25M Series B

Freeletics, the “AI-powered” fitness coaching app, has closed $25 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is U.S.-based JAZZ Venture Partners and Causeway Media Partners, with support from KKCG. The fresh injection of capital follows $45 million in Series A funding in late 2018. It will be used by the company to develop new […]
techcrunch - 1 hour ago
Apple partner Servify raises $23 million to expand its devices after-sales and management platform overseas - techcrunch

Apple partner Servify raises $23 million to expand its devices after-sales and management platform overseas

Servify, a Mumbai-headquartered startup that operates a device lifecycle management platform and works deeply with brands including Apple and Samsung in a number of geographies, has raised $23 million in a new financing round. The Series C financing round for the five-year-old startup was led by existing investor Iron Pillar, and other existing investors including […]
techcrunch - 1 hour ago
VW’s Traton Group strikes a deal with TuSimple to develop autonomous trucks - techcrunch

VW’s Traton Group strikes a deal with TuSimple to develop autonomous trucks

The Traton Group, Volkswagen AG’s heavy-truck business, has taken a minority stake in TuSimple as part of an agreement between the two companies to develop self-driving trucks. Neither company disclosed the financial terms of the partnership or the percentage of the minority stake. Traton did make a direct capital investment into TuSimple, according to one […]
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
Uncapped picks up another £26M to offer revenue-based finance to European entrepreneurs - techcrunch

Uncapped picks up another £26M to offer revenue-based finance to European entrepreneurs

Uncapped, the London-headquartered and Warsaw-based startup that offers “revenue-based” finance to European businesses so that founders don’t have to give up equity stipulated by venture capital, has raised £26 million in new funding. The round was led by Mouro Capital (the recently spun-out fund previously called Santander InnoVentures), with participation from existing investors Global Founders […]
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
Apple launches its online store in India - techcrunch

Apple launches its online store in India

For the first time in more than 20 years since Apple began its operations in India, the iPhone-maker has started selling its products directly to consumers in the world’s second largest smartphone market. Apple launched its online store in India on Wednesday, which in addition to offering nearly the entire line-up of its products, also […]
techcrunch - 4 hours ago
China says it won’t approve TikTok sale, calls it ‘extortion’ - techcrunch

China says it won’t approve TikTok sale, calls it ‘extortion’

The September 20 deadline for a purported TikTok sale has already passed, but the parties involved have yet to settle terms on the deal. ByteDance and TikTok’s bidders Oracle and Walmart presented conflicting messages on the future ownership of the app, confusing investors and users. Meanwhile, Beijing’s discontent with the TikTok sale is increasingly obvious. […]
techcrunch - 5 hours ago
Elon Musk reveals the Tesla Model S ‘Plaid’ slated for late 2021 - techcrunch

Elon Musk reveals the Tesla Model S ‘Plaid’ slated for late 2021

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed Tuesday the Model S Plaid, the newest variant to the company’s flagship sedan that boasts some eye-popping performance and range claims, including the ability to travel at least 520 miles on a single charge. The Model S with this more powerful “Plaid” powertrain won’t be available until late 2021.  Tesla, […]
techcrunch - 7 hours ago
Tesla claims it can drive battery costs down even lower with new material science innovations - techcrunch

Tesla claims it can drive battery costs down even lower with new material science innovations

Amid a packed afternoon of announcements from Tesla around innovations the company is pursuing to slash the cost of electric vehicle production and energy storage through better battery design, the company said it’s made new advancements in material science for anodes and cathodes — key components of the lithium-ion batteries that are the heart of […]
techcrunch - 8 hours ago
Tesla is building a cathode plant and getting into the lithium mining business - techcrunch

Tesla is building a cathode plant and getting into the lithium mining business

A little more than a year ago, during Tesla’s 2019 shareholder’s meeting, CEO Elon Musk said the company “might get into the business of mining minerals used in electric vehicle batteries.” Today, during Tesla’s so-called Battery Day event, Musk confirmed that the company is officially getting into the mining business. Tesla has secured the rights […]
techcrunch - 8 hours ago
Tesla says its battery innovations will deliver its goal of a $25,000 mass market electric car - techcrunch

Tesla says its battery innovations will deliver its goal of a $25,000 mass market electric car

Tesla held its ‘Battery Day’ event on Tuesday to discuss a variety of innovations it has developed and is pursuing in battery technology for its vehicles. At the event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and SVP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering Drew Baglino detailed new anode and cathode technology it’s working on, as well as materials […]
techcrunch - 10 hours ago
TransferWise reports accelerating revenue growth to 70% in its March, 2020 fiscal year - techcrunch

TransferWise reports accelerating revenue growth to 70% in its March, 2020 fiscal year

TransferWise, a European fintech unicorn, announced the financial results of its fiscal year ending March, 2020. The company posted strong growth, continued profit and new customer records. TransferWise was most recently valued at $5 billion during a secondary sale worth $319 million in July of this year. On the results front, we can compare the […]
techcrunch - 10 hours ago
Caura, an app to take the hassle out of car ownership, launches from Echo co-founder Sai Lakshmi - techcrunch

Caura, an app to take the hassle out of car ownership, launches from Echo co-founder Sai Lakshmi

Caura, a new U.K. startup that aims to take the hassle out of car ownership, is breaking cover today. Founded by Sai Lakshmi, who previously co-founded Echo, the medication management service acquired by LloydsPharmacy owner McKesson, Caura is an iOS app designed to manage all of the vehicle-related admin that car owners endure. Drivers are […]
techcrunch - 10 hours ago
Tesla introduces its tabless battery design on the road to 10 terawatt hours of production - techcrunch

Tesla introduces its tabless battery design on the road to 10 terawatt hours of production

For Tesla to reach the ambitious goal of 10 to 20 terawatt hours of battery production per year that the company has set, it will need to advance the battery and its production. Today, during Tesla’s self-described Battery Day event, the company laid out a series of innovations that its CEO Elon Musk said will […]
techcrunch - 10 hours ago
Daily Crunch: Microsoft launches Azure Communication Services - techcrunch

Daily Crunch: Microsoft launches Azure Communication Services

Microsoft takes on Twilio, Google launches a work-tracking tool and Mirakl raises $300 million. This is your Daily Crunch for September 22, 2020. The big story: Microsoft launches Azure Communication Services Microsoft announced today that it’s ready to compete with Twilio by launching a set of features that allow developers to add voice and video […]
techcrunch - 10 hours ago
Social networks are doing a voter registration blitz this week - techcrunch

Social networks are doing a voter registration blitz this week

With the most uncertain election in modern American history fast approaching, social networks are doing a final big push to get their users registered to vote. The efforts align with National Voter Registration Day, which punctuates ongoing efforts from companies like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat to get people to the polls, whether IRL or through […]
techcrunch - 11 hours ago
Papa raises $18 million to expand its business connecting older adults with virtual and in-person companions - techcrunch

Papa raises $18 million to expand its business connecting older adults with virtual and in-person companions

The Miami-based startup Papa has raised an additional $18 million as it looks to expand its business connecting elderly Americans and families with physical and virtual companions, which the company calls “pals.” The company’s services are already available in 17 states and Papa is going to expand to another four states in the next few […]
techcrunch - 11 hours ago
Gillmor Gang: Watch Party - techcrunch

Gillmor Gang: Watch Party

This Gillmor Gang episode is as much about what we didn’t talk about as what we did. In the run up to the recording session, we somehow suspected we’d talk about Apple’s virtual event on Tuesday. Then, 15 minutes after we finished, RBG lost her battle to keep the Supreme Court from tipping even further […]
techcrunch - 12 hours ago
CMU’s MoonRanger robot rover will be the first to search for water ice on the Moon in 2022 - techcrunch

CMU’s MoonRanger robot rover will be the first to search for water ice on the Moon in 2022

Carnegie Mellon University and spinoff space startup Astrobotic are developing a robotic rover to look for water on the Moon, and the little bot just passed the crucial preliminary design review phase, putting it one step closer to its inaugural mission planned for 2022. MoonRanger is aiming to be the first robotic detective to investigate […]
techcrunch - 12 hours ago
Chinese propaganda network on Facebook used AI-generated faces - techcrunch

Chinese propaganda network on Facebook used AI-generated faces

Facebook removed two networks of fake accounts spreading government propaganda on the platform Tuesday, one originating in China and one in the Philippines. In its latest report on this kind of coordinated campaign, the company says it took down 155 Facebook accounts, 11 pages, 9 groups and 7 Instagram accounts connected to the Chinese activity […]
techcrunch - 12 hours ago
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techcrunch
Reading Ted Chiang’s The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate

Reading Ted Chiang’s The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate

techcrunch - 8 months ago

What would we do if we could visit our own pasts or futures? Are we more likely to change our timelines, or will our timelines actually project themselves back on to us more forcefully?

This is the first discussion post of this beta-testing, informal TechCrunch book club, which is starting with the first short story in Ted Chiangs science fiction collection Exhalation. Join us as we walk through each story in succession in the coming weeks and explore a wider expanse of technology and its effect on society.

The first story in the collection is The Merchant and the Alchemists Gate, a compact, interwoven series of tales that discusses a time-shifting gate that allows people to move forward and backward in time at a specific interval. Chiang takes the familiar device of the time-travel machine and repurposes it for a deeper introspection of how humans consider their own lives and the lives they affect.

For this first week, I want to start with some reading questions (posted below) to think about before presenting deeper thoughts from me and readers. As I mentioned before, you can email me your thoughts at danny+bookclub@techcrunch.com and include them below in the comments as well. Several communities online on Reddit and Twitter have already begun conversations as well.

My friend and occasional Extra Crunch contributor Eliot Peper wrote in to describe what he considered the most foundational passage of the piece and his thoughts:

Past and future are the same, and we cannot change either, only know them more fully. My journey to the past had changed nothing, but what I had learned had changed everything, and I understood that it could not have been otherwise. If our lives are tales that Allah tells, then we are the audience as well as the players, and it is by living these tales that we receive their lessons.

This passage resonated with me deeply because it hints at one of the reasons I love reading science fiction like Chiangs: Not to catch a glimpse into the future, but to inspect the present more closely, and from fresh angleslearning lessons along the way.

We will return next week on Tuesday with more fully-formed thoughts on this short story, as well as a similar reading guide for the second short story, the eponymous Exhalation.

Some questions to ponder about The Merchant and the Alchemists Gate:

  • What is Chiang trying to convey about the meaning of destiny? Are we really the audience as well as the players?
  • Do we have agency in our own lives? Can we really affect the future with our own actions?
  • How should we observe what happens around us? Is consideration what is happening enough to bring understanding and contentment, or do we have to have a stake in every outcome for us to feel satisfied?
  • Why did Chiang choose this particular time and setting (historical Baghdad) for this short story?
  • Similarly, why did he choose to include three tales in such a short story? What did this structural device provide us as readers?
  • What does the introduction of the gate imply about how new technology is accepted? Is it believable that such a wondrous device would be accepted so readily?
  • Is the gate neutral? Could it be used for good or evil, or does it depend on the user themselves?
sauce: techcrunch
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