Business Humor

When the term “scooter rental” just doesn’t sound high-tech enough…

…that’s when you get creative:

TechCrunch’s article on scooter rental company Bird laying off 23% of their staff opens with this line:

Shared micromobility company Bird plans to layoff 23% of its staff, according to tech layoff tracker

Apparently “scooter rental” — a more accurate description of Bird’s business — wasn’t “TechCrunchy” enough, so they went with the phrase “shared micromobility company,” a case of title inflation that will someday join the ranks of “sanitation engineer.”

Business Humor

Don’t understand NFTs? This “Kids in the Hall” skit from 1994 explains the scam.

The folks at Digg are right — the Laundromat Business Opportunities skit by Canadian comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall predicted NFTs back in 1994!

Just watch:

The business proposition happens in a laundromat. Here’s the part of the skit that pretty much sums up the idea behind NFTs:

Suit (Bruce McCulloch): “Yes!” This is how I think we should proceed — next time you come to do your laundry, you give us a call.

Mark (Mark McKinney): Heyyy! Are you trying to buy my dirty underwear?

Suit: [uncomfortable pause] N-no. I’m not trying to buy your underwear. I’m trying to lease your underwear.

Mark: I knew it!

Suit: No no, sir. It’s not what you think.

Mark: There was a guy in here, a couple of weeks ago. He tried to buy my dirty underwear, only he wasn’t slick like you.

Suit: That was my ex-partner, sir. W-we’re not trying to buy or rent your underwear, we’re just trying to lease your underwear. We just want the title of ownership.

Mark: What?

Suit: Yes, you get to retain possession of your underwear. It’s totally a paper transaction.

Mark: Huh. Is there uh money involved with this?

Suit: Of course, sir, there’s money involved. I’m a business man. There’s fifteen dollars [waves a stack of one-dollar bills so it looks like a bundle of money].

Mark: So, you’ll give me fifteen dollars for the title of ownership to my underwear, and I get to keep it?

Suit: Of course you do, sir.

Mark: But how do you make money doing that?

Suit: We’re idea people. We profit from the idea that we own the deed to your underwear.

And that’s NFTs in nutshell, once you strip away the technology veneer and blockchain bafflegab.

Business Current Events

Don’t let the “broligarch” buy Twitter

According to the subscription-only tech journal The Information, “Twitter’s board of directors views Elon Musk’s takeover offer as unwelcome, said a person familiar with the situation, suggesting it will fight the bid.”

I certainly hope they do. His move threatens to turn Twitter into early 2010s-era Reddit, when it was a cesspool of bigotry, disinformation, and that MAGA/QAnon test run called Gamergate.

Some thoughts:

  1. His “free speech absolutist” stance is wrong. TechDirt’s recent article, Why Moderating Content Actually Does More To Support The Principles Of Free Speech, outlines why moderation actually enhances a community’s ability to have conversation, right from the first paragraph, which includes “Some of that involves legal requirements, some of it involves trying to keep a community focused, some of it involves dealing with spam, and some of it involves just crazy difficult decisions about what kind of community you want.”
  2. What he truly cares about is his own free speech. Yours doesn’t matter. For example:
  3. What does Musk use his freedom of speech for? Well, there’s the whole “pedo guy” thing, which didn’t add anything useful to a situation where people were racing against the clock in a search-and-rescue operation.
  4. The only time he’s ever faced governmental consequences for things he’s posted on Twitter was when he was he was manipulating the market for his own gain. That tweet from August 2018 — “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” was him simultaneously playing to the retail investor crowd and the still-living-in-mom’s-basement crowd (and possibly the crowd where those two Venn circles overlap). As Quartz put it in their article, Elon Musk’s Twitter bid isn’t about free speech, “if Musk has gripes about free speech, they’re with the SEC and not the company he’s trying to acquire.”
  5. The loudest people celebrating Musk’s potential disruption of Twitter are human trash fires, incredible dumbasses, and often an unholy combination of the two: Jack Posobiec. Lauren Boebert. Jim Jordan. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Monica Crowley. Vladimir Putin’s newest bestest buddy, Tucker Carlson.

I’ll end with an observation from my friend, LinkedIn Learning’s Morten Rand-Hendriksen, whom I know from my Microsoft days:

“Elon Musk taking #Twitter private could mean an end to content moderation and a return of the platform as fertile ground for extremism, white supremacy, harrassment, and disinformation. Or it could mean nothing. Either way, if this deal goes through, it’ll change the social media landscape in a very big way.”

A very big way, certainly. But a good one? I doubt it.

Business Florida Tampa Bay

Tampa’s Peerfit acquired by FitOn

It’s another Tampa Bay success story: Tampa-based Peerfit, who refer to themselves as a corporate wellness platform, have been acquired by FitOn, the mobile health and fitness app known for its exercise classes led by celebrities.

Peerfit have been growing in leaps and bounds, amassing customers and funding, including a $10 million round in January 2020 that was led by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and NoCal-based Virgo Investment Group. Peerfit connects employers to fitness and wellness services, acting as a provider for companies that provide wellness benefits — they’re currently used by 13,000 employers. CEO Ed Buckley will remain in charge of Peerfit, and their team (about 50 people, according to Tampa Bay Business Journal) all plan to stay on.

FitOn’s story is one of a good product that had great timing. Launched in 2019, the app provides at-home workouts led by celebrities including Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union-Wade, Lindsay Vonn and Julianne Hough. When the pandemic forced gyms to close, their user base grew to over 10 million, and 80% of their users livestreamed workouts in 2020.

Is this a good thing for Peerfit? For the Tampa Bay scene?

My opinion is yes, and for now, I’ll keep my answers to bullet points:

  • It’s good for Peerfit, part 1: When you create a business with “startup” ambitions (as opposed to having the goal of creating a so-called “lifestyle business”, a model that is unfairly mocked and deserves more respect), your goal is to exit. In general, there are three kinds of exits:
    1. You fail. This could be closing up shop, or getting acquired at a “clearance” price.
    2. You IPO. Typically, to do this, you first have to become a unicorn — a private company with a valuation of over $1 billion. Shareholders are generally ecstatic, and employees generally do really well. This is the least likely scenario; there are just over 1,000 of them in the world.
    3. You get acquired. Shareholders are generally pleased, and employees generally do pretty nicely. This is the most likely scenario, as 97% of exits are an M&A-type transaction. It’s also usually the best outcome for a small- to medium-sized startup, which is where Peerfit fits.
  • It’s good for Peerfit, part 2: FitOn and Peerfit are complementary: one’s provides wherever-you-happen-to-be workouts, and the other provides fitness benefits to companies. FitOn provides capital, reach, and an app in the top 20 in the App Store, and with a 4.9 rating (from almost 230K ratings!). Peerfit can take the FitOn app to corporate customers.
  • It’s good for the Tampa Bay tech scene: It takes more than evangelizing the benefits of choosing Tampa Bay as a place where you’ll live, work, and play to build our tech scene. That’s just telling. Telling helps, but we also need to show, and success stories such as Peerfit are exactly what we need.

Find out more

For more on the acquisition, see:

Business Video

The “How to Business” YouTube channel

How to Business is a new YouTube channel created by Tampa Bay-area techie Frederick Weiss of Thunder Nerds fame that features quick video interviews (typically around 10 minutes in length) that show techies how to tackle business tasks that they may need to take on.

While there’s no shortage of resources that teach you how to use a particular technology, there is a need for how-tos aimed at techies who need to know how to do things related to money, business processes, sales, and other topics outside our main areas of expertise. That’s what How to Business is for!

Here’s How to Business’ promo video:

Here’s the first interview, How to Make Websites Accessible. It features Todd Libby, accessibility engineer at WebstaurantStore and host of the Front End Nerdery podcast.

The next interview, How to Qualify Sales Opportunities, features John Roth, SVP of the Sales Specialists Team at Sangoma.

The most recent interview, How to Implement Authentication and Authorization with Auth0, features Yours Truly, where I’m operating in my capacity as a Senior Developer Advocate at Auth0, and I talk about not rolling your own authentication and authorization but going with an experienced provider instead:

Keep an eye on the How to Business channel — Frederick’s been recording interviews, and it’s looks like they’ll be interesting and useful!

Business Programming Tampa Bay

Tampa #1 on Forbes’ list of emerging tech cities (and other Tampa tech news)

Tampa is the city on Forbes’ list of emerging tech cites in the U.S.

“Tampa is quickly turning into Florida’s tech capital,” says the August 24th article in Forbes titled Emerging Tech Cities In The U.S.. “It has been exploding in the tech industry for several years now. There are over 50 software and IT companies in Tampa.”

In order, the cities in Forbes’ list of emerging tech cities are:

  1. Tampa (“Tampa is responsible for over 25% of Florida’s tech jobs, and there has been a massive surge in tech jobs in recent years.”)
  2. Miami (“In 2020, two of tech’s biggest names (and wallets) relocated to Miami to make it their permanent home. Founders Fund partner Keith Rabois and Blumberg Capital founder David Blumberg moved to Miami.”)
  3. New York City (“It’s not entirely a shocker considering how New York City is one of the centers for everything. Even that underplays the truly momentous amount of technological innovation that’s come out of that city in recent years.”)
  4. Austin (“It’s another city that’s been blowing up for the past few years as a result of an influx of tech talent.”)
  5. San Francisco (“You simply cannot comment on the current tech scene without considering its most famous, iconic setting.”)

12 Things You May Be Doing Wrong in Your Job Search (Tuesday @ 10:00 a.m., online)

When a job search starts to get frustrating, it may be that you’re making a few missteps. Find out if that’s the case at this Computer Coach workshop, 12 Things You May Be Doing Wrong in Your Job Search. Their workshops are always free, and Computer Coach are always helpful! (They’ve even helped me out.)

Tampa veterans use technology, connections to help Afghans evacuate

Quiet Professionals (whose name is derived from the sobriquet for the Green Berets) is a defense contractor based in Tampa’s Rocky Point, and they’re doing their part in Afghanistan with their OSINT (open source intelligence) dashboard to help people in Afghanistan find help and escape. You can find more in these stories:

You can also find out more on the Project Afghan Relief Fund site, and even directly help with a donation. I did, and you can too.

Tampa Bay coffee shops put tech to work to compete with national chains

Here’s a Tampa Bay Business Journals story on how three of our own local coffee chains — Blind Tiger, Buddy Brew, and Kahwa, all of whose brews I enjoy regularly — are competing against the megacoffeecorps with technology.

Give them some business! You won’t just be getting great coffee; you’ll also be investing in a local business, and helping the local area more interesting and less sterile.

Do you have mobile dev skills? These local companies are hiring.

A little while back, I posted an article titled So many Tampa Bay mobile dev job openings, so few applicants. The situation hasn’t changed much — there are still lots of local places who are looking for mobile developers:

Want to learn Android development or sharpen you Android dev skills? Join the GDG Suncoast Meetup and keep an eye open for their Android Study Jams, which happens every Wednesday.

I’m also looking at rebooting my Programmers of Portables meetup soon — watch this space!

Business Hardware Mobile

Samsung ups the version-number and number-of-cameras-on-a-phone ante, reminds me of Macromedia and Gillette

Leaked Samsung Galaxy S20 photo showing the back of the new phone

XDA Developers has released what is purportedly a leaked photo of one of the next Samsung Galaxy phones, shown above. The series is expected to go under the name “S20”, with the phone above being the Galaxy S20+.

The version number of the Galaxy phones have generally followed the iPhone’s, which is probably why they’re leaping from 10 to 20 (in case you’d forgotten, the current flagship iPhone is the 11).

While Samsung’s leap in version numbers is a big one, the concept of a version number leap is nothing new. Those of us who were working in the industry in the ’90s may remember Macromedia Freehand’s leap from version 5 to 7, completely bypassing 6, back in 1996. This was a response to Adobe Illustrator 6:

Jumping version numbers is easy compared to actual hardware changes, but Samsung are doing it anyway, with a fourth camera to counter the iPhone 11’s three. It reminds me of this Onion article which became real:

I’ll close this article with the early contender for the title of “Sticker of the Year”: