Robby Stein to talk about Instagram beyond Systrom at Disrupt Berlin

Robby Stein to talk about Instagram beyond Systrom at Disrupt Berlin

Last month, Instagram co-founders CEO Kevin Systrom and CTO Mike Krieger announced that they would be leaving Instagram and Facebook. All eyes are now on Instagram to figure out what’s going to happen to the photo and video app. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Instagram Product Director Robby Stein is joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.

Instagram is Facebook’s next big bet. Facebook’s growth has slowed down, which puts even more pressure on Instagram. Compared to Facebook, Instagram is still a relatively young platform. More and more people are joining Instagram and stories are boosting engagement.

Facebook currently has 2.23 billion monthly users while Instagram has 1 billion users. Many people have an active account on both platforms. But does Instagram have what it takes to reach Facebook’s scale?

When it comes to product, Instagram has relentlessly released new features over the past few years. Stories have become a creative playground, stars can share longer videos on IGTV and you can now start group video chats from the app.

It’s impressive to see that such a big platform keeps releasing radical changes that will affect over a billion users. Instagram has been moving incredibly fast. And it’s been key when it comes to fostering growth.

Stein will tell us more about Instagram’s product design strategy and what’s coming up. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of an insider to analyze product decisions and discuss them.

Before joining Instagram, he was the co-founder and CEO of Stamped, which was acquired by Yahoo back in 2012. Stein started his career at Google. In a short period of time, he managed to work for Google, Facebook and Yahoo, and he also founded his own startup. Quite an impressive resume.

And if you want to hear what it feels like to work for Instagram at a pivotal moment, you should come to Disrupt Berlin. The conference will take place on November 29-30 and you can buy your ticket right now.

In addition to fireside chats and panels, like this one, new startups will participate in the Startup Battlefield Europe to win the highly coveted Battlefield cup.

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Robby Stein

Product Director, Instagram

Robby Stein is Product Director at Instagram, where he leads the consumer product team for sharing, which includes Stories, Feed, Live and Direct Messaging. Previously he was the Co-Founder and CEO of Stamped, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2012. At Yahoo, Robby led mobile video products focused around recommended content. He started his career at Google, where he worked to bring new features to market for Gmail and Ad Exchange. He has been recognized on the Forbes 30 under 30 and graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Blockchain partners with Ledger for its hardware wallet

Blockchain partners with Ledger for its hardware wallet
Blockchain startup Blockchain shared its roadmap for the coming months. The company is launching a hardware wallet in partnership with Ledger. Blockchain is also launching a new trading platform called Swap — this platform will find the best trading prices across a variety of exchanges and liquidity pools so that you can exchange tokens at a fair price straight from your Blockchain account.
Blockchain is one of the most successful cryptocurrency wallets out there. The company has built a solid user base with a software wallet for Bitcoin, and now also Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash.
Compared to traditional exchanges, you remain in control of your private keys. Blockchain can’t access your tokens, hackers can’t empty your wallet if Blockchain gets hacked. Blockchain currently manages 30 million wallets, which represent over $200 billion in transaction volume in the last two years.
But a software wallet isn’t as secure as a hardware wallet. There have been countless of phishing attempts and scams to take over your private keys. That’s why Blockchain is going to release its own hardware wallet, sort of.
The company is partnering with French startup Ledger to release the Blockchain Lockbox. It looks exactly like the Ledger Nano S, but with a Blockchain logo. It’ll feature a customer Blockchain firmware and integrate with Blockchain’s wallets.
Just like Ledger’s own app, you’ll be able to check your balance without connecting your hardware wallet to a computer. But as soon as you want to process a transaction, you’ll need to plug your Ledger wallet to confirm the transaction on the device itself.
It’ll be interesting to see how your Blockchain wallet and the one tied to your Blockchain Lockbox work together. The Lockbox could act as a sort of longterm vault while you could keep some coins on your standard Blockchain wallet for frequent transactions.
As for Swap, Blockchain is building its own trading product. It’s not going to be a separate exchange as the company plans to integrate with multiple sources. Eventually, Blockchain hopes to add support for decentralized exchange protocols so that you can exchange tokens without going through an exchange.
The Blockchain Lockbox will cost $99 and start shipping in November. I hope there will be other versions that support Bluetooth and mobile phones in the future as Blockchain is quite popular on mobile.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Inspired by spiders and wasps, these tiny drones pull 40x their own weight

Inspired by spiders and wasps, these tiny drones pull 40x their own weight
If we want drones to do our dirty work for us, they’re going to need to get pretty good at hauling stuff around. But due to the pesky yet unavoidable restraints of physics, it’s hard for them to muster the forces necessary to do so while airborne — so these drones brace themselves against the ground to get the requisite torque.
The drones, created by engineers at Stanford and Switzerland’s EPFL, were inspired by wasps and spiders that need to drag prey from place to place but can’t actually lift it, so they drag it instead. Grippy feet and strong threads or jaws let them pull objects many times their weight along the ground, just as you might slide a dresser along rather than pick it up and put it down again. So I guess it could have also just been inspired by that.

Swarms of tiny, cute robots will one day bring you your phone, like this

Whatever the inspiration, these “FlyCroTugs” (a combination of flying, micro and tug presumably) act like ordinary tiny drones while in the air, able to move freely about and land wherever they need to. But they’re equipped with three critical components: an anchor to attach to objects, a winch to pull on that anchor and sticky feet to provide sure grip while doing so.
“By combining the aerodynamic forces of our vehicle and the interactive forces generated by the attachment mechanisms, we were able to come up with something that is very mobile, very strong and very small,” said Stanford grad student Matthew Estrada, lead author of the paper published in Science Robotics.

The idea is that one or several of these ~100-gram drones could attach their anchors to something they need to move, be it a lever or a piece of trash. Then they take off and land nearby, spooling out thread as they do so. Once they’re back on terra firma they activate their winches, pulling the object along the ground — or up over obstacles that would have been impossible to navigate with tiny wheels or feet.
Using this technique — assuming they can get a solid grip on whatever surface they land on — the drones are capable of moving objects 40 times their weight — for a 100-gram drone like that shown, that would be about 4 kilograms, or nearly 9 pounds. Not quickly, but that may not always be a necessity. What if a handful of these things flew around the house when you were gone, picking up bits of trash or moving mail into piles? They would have hours to do it.
As you can see in the video below, they can even team up to do things like open doors.

“People tend to think of drones as machines that fly and observe the world,” said co-author of the paper, EPFL’s Dario Floreano, in a news release. “But flying insects do many other things, such as walking, climbing, grasping and building. Social insects can even work together and combine their strength. Through our research, we show that small drones are capable of anchoring themselves to surfaces around them and cooperating with fellow drones. This enables them to perform tasks typically assigned to humanoid robots or much larger machines.”
Unless you’re prepared to wait for humanoid robots to take on tasks like this (and it may be a decade or two), you may have to settle for drone swarms in the meantime.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch