That’s true of its approach to horror, with intense, bloody scenes that prompted plenty of screaming and pausing from your hosts at the Original Content podcast. It’s also true of its thematic material — right around the time one of the characters accuses another of being communist, you’ll slap yourself on the forehead and say, “Oh, it’s about capitalism.”
The new Netflix film takes place in a mysterious prison, with two prisoners on each level (they’re randomly rotated each month). Once each day, a platform laden with delicious food is lowered through the prison. If you’re on one of the top levels, you feast. If you’re further down, things are considerably more grim, and can become downright gruesome as the month wears on.
“The Platform” is a hard movie to sit through, and it has other faults, like an irritatingly mystical ending. But it’s certainly memorable, and even admirable in its dedication to fully exploring both the logistical and moral dimensions of its premise.
You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)
And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down: 0:00 Intro 0:27 “The Platform” review 17:29 “The Platform” spoilers
[Editor’s note: Want to get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that startups can use by email? Subscribe here.]
There are a few online productivity stocks booming, and a few popular remote-first product companies still announcing funding rounds amid a huge new wave of unicorn layoffs. But what about the previously white-hot software-as-a-service category overall?
Pullbacks in spending are expected in general, obviously, which means higher churn and slower growth for major SaaS companies. An informal peer survey put together by Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta indicates that many leading execs in the space expect churn to head to double digits in the near future, Alex Wilhelm learned while researching the topic this week for Extra Crunch.
But, the effects of so much of the world going remote could end up still being a bigger lift for many companies large and small. George Kurtz, CEO of publicly traded cybersecurity company Crowdstrike, expects global growth as mainstream businesses everywhere get serious about remote for the first time.
Meanwhile, fresh index data from Profitwell seems to already show a bit of a rebound in subscriptions following weeks of drops,which Alex digs into separately. It’s probably too soon to be hopeful, but anecdotally Extra Crunch’s own growth has gotten back to its previously strong footing in the last few weeks (thanks for the support, everyone).
He also caught up with Mary D’Onofrio, an investor with Bessemer Venture Partners about how to value a startup during a downturn. She also pointed out that many of the losses you’re seeing are relative. “We’re just reverting back to historical cloud software multiples. Historically if you look at the emerging cloud index basket, it’s traded at seven times forward [revenue]. Right now we’re trading at eight times forward [revenue].”At least for many companies in the space, things are still not so bad.
The venture capital crunch continues
We’ve been writing a daily-ish series of articles about the state of startup investing in the face of COVID-19. First up, Danny Crichton breaks down “the denominator effect” on TechCrunch, where a limited partner is required through their own funding agreements to allocate a mix of equities beyond startups and rebalance based on the circumstances. When the other portions lose too much (such as, say, public stocks), LPs then have to pull back on the amount of money they can have in venture capital firms… thereby leaving those firms short of money for startups. Where is this going? “If the markets happen to rapidly recover, they might quickly reopen their investments in VC and other alternative assets,” Danny writes. “But if the markets stay sour for longer, then expect further downward gravitational pull on the VC asset class as portfolio managers reset their portfolios to where they need them. It’s the tyranny of fifth grade mathematics and a complex financial system.”
How can venture firms navigate this daunting terrain? Connie Loizos checks in for TechCrunch with Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures (“now is probably one of the toughest times” to get a firm launched), Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures (find some family offices who are going to be less orthodox in general and potentially less affected) and Eva Ho of Fika Ventures (don’t get discouraged, but use the additional challenge to really reflect about this career choice).
Why is TikTok able to dominate the charts in the face of giant competitors? As millions sit at home using the app, Josh Constine dives into why it is likely to continue beating incumbent consumer products from companies like Alphabet and Facebook (or consumer startups). It’s what he calls the “content network effect,” as he detailed on TechCrunch:
Facilitating remixes offers a way to lower the bar for producing user generated content. You’d don’t have to be astoundingly creative or original to make something entertaining. Each individual’s life experiences inform their perspective that could let them interpret an idea in a new way. What began with someone ripping audio of two people chanting “don’t be Suspicious, don’t be suspicious” while sneaking through a graveyard in TV show Parks and Recreation led to people lip syncing it while trying to escape their infant’s room without waking them up, leaving the house wearing clothes they stole from their sister’s closet, trying to keep a llama as a pet, and photoshopping themselves to look taller. Unless someone’s already done the work to record an audio clip, there’s nothing to inspire and enable others to put their spin on it.
Healthtech in the time of COVID-19
While most people reading this newsletter have probably been experiencing the worldwide remote-first switch, an equally momentous set of changes are sweeping health care as medical systems try to get a grip on the pandemic. We had just published a big survey of leading digital health investors in December, but now is the time for an update. We checked in with:
Here’s CRV’s Spohn, summing the situation up nicely: “COVID-19 is driving opportunities, notably the rapid adoption of telehealth/virtual care by clinicians and patients, clinical trials in the cloud, as well as renewed focus on rapid point-of-care diagnostics. With virtual care, we’re seeing a decade of acceleration happening in a matter of weeks. Up until this point, there has been high-activation energy to conduct a first “eVisit” because the alternative (in-person care) was so well-established and largely available.”
From Danny:On Monday, prolific enterprise seed investor Jonathan Lehr of Work-Bench will be joining us for a live conference call on TechCrunch. Work-Bench has been an investor in such notable investments as Tamr, Cockroach Labs, Backtrace, Socure, and x.ai. Danny and Alex will quiz Jon on all kinds of questions around what the seed stage looks like for enterprise startups these days, and of course, will take questions from Extra Crunch members.
Disrupt will have a remote version this year, which we’re now beginning to sell as aDigital Pass. Check it out!
How are you holding up? Are you keeping up? And most importantly, are you hydrating yourself? There’s so much news lately that we’re all falling a bit behind, but, hey, that’s what Equity is for. So, Natasha, Danny, and Alex got together to go over a number of the biggest stories in the worlds of private companies.
A warning before we get into the list, however. We’re going to be covering layoffs for a while. Don’t read more into that beyond a note to this unfortunate situation. We try to talk about the most important news, not what brings delight or joy to our hearts (because if that was the case, we would be all over mega-rounds). That in mind, here’s this week’s rundown….
Cards Against Humanity: Family Edition is designed for kids ages 8 and up. The site notes that “We’ve never met your kids, but we designed the game for people ages 8 and up. We encourage parents to look through these cards before you play with your family and remove anything you don’t like, since different kids have different sensitivities.”
It’s a completely new version of the game, not just the same Cards Against Humanity you’ve been playing without the dirty cards.
It’s been in development for over a year in consultation with child development experts and psychologists. Originally it was going to be released the fall, but given the pandemic, the company decided to make it available earlier.
Image: Cards Against Humanity
The printable version is a “beta” in that while it’s been tested with kids and adults, it’s not quite done. Eventually, the hope is to release it in box form to the masses.
The printable version is available in both small and large card PDF form. The small card version takes 21 pieces of paper and the large one 47. Altogether the game has roughly 420 cards in its current form.
If you have bored kids at home, then cutting those cards out once you print them might also be a fun (and useful!) afternoon activity that will end in a new game for your whole family to play once they’re done.
Under new guidance issued by the Small Business Administration it seems non-profits and faith-based groups can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program loans designed to keep small business afloat during the COVID-19 epidemic, but most venture-backed companies are still not covered.
Late Friday night, the Treasury Department updated its rules regarding the “affiliation” of private entities to include religious organizations but keep in place the same rules that would deny most startups from receiving loans.
(b) If you are a faith-based organization, *no affiliation rules apply to you,* because the SBA just said so. Out of nowhere. At like 10pm on a Friday night.
The NVCA and other organizations had pushed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to clarify the rules regarding startups and their potential eligibility for loans last week. And House Republican leader Kevin McCarthyeven told Axios that startups would be covered under the revised regulations.
2/ There are rumors that the PPP Loan program may still fix the Affiliate Rule next week. Until fixed, it’s nearly impossible for most VC-backed startups to apply because it would require huge legal lift to amend all of the charters of these companies to change control provisions
At its essence, the issue for startups seems to be centered on the board rights that venture investors have when they take an equity stake in a company. For startups with investors on the board of directors, the decision-making powers that those investors hold means the startup is affiliated with other companies that the partner’s venture firm has invested in — which could mean that they’re considered an entity with more than 500 employees.
“[If] there’s a startup that’s going gangbusters right now, they shouldn’t apply for a PPP loan,” wrote Doug Rand, the co-founder of Seattle-based startup Boundless Immigration, and a former Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship in the Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Obama administration, in a direct message. “But most startups are getting killed because, you know, the economy is mostly dead.”
The $2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress and signed by President Trump was designed to help companies that are adversely affected by the economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak in the US and their employees — whether those businesses are directly affected because their employees can’t leave home to do their jobs or indirectly, because demand for goods and services has flatlined.
While some tech startups have seen demand for their products actually rise during these quarantined days, many companies have watched as their businesses have gone from one to zero.
The sense frustration among investors across the country is palpable. As the Birmingham-based investor, Matt Hottle, wrote, “After 4 days of trying to help 7 small businesses navigate the SBA PPP program, the program went to shit on launch. I’m contemplating how many small businesses, counting on this money, are probably locked out. I feel like I/ we failed them.”
After 4 days of trying to help 7 small businesses navigate the @SBAgov PPP program, the program went to shit on launch. I’m contemplating how many small businesses, counting on this money, are probably locked out. I feel like I/ we failed them.
And although the rules around whether or not many startups are eligible remain unclear, it’s probably wise for companies to file an application, because, as the program is currently structured, the $349 billion in loans are going to be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, as Suster flagged in his tweets on the subject.
General Catalyst is advising its companies that are also backed by SBIC investors to apply for the loans, because that trumps any other rules regarding affiliation, according to an interview with Holly Maloney Burbeck, a managing director at the firm.
And there’s already concerns that the money could run out. In a tweet, the President announced that he would request more money from Congress “if the allocated money runs out.”
I will immediately ask Congress for more money to support small businesses under the #PPPloan if the allocated money runs out. So far, way ahead of schedule. @BankofAmerica & community banks are rocking! @SBAgov@USTreasury
“Congress saw fit to allow Darden to get a forgivable small business loan—actually a taxpayer-funded grant—for like every Olive Garden in America. But Congress somehow neglected to provide comparable rescue measures for actual small businesses that have committed the sin of convincing investors that they have the potential to employ a huge number of people if they can only survive,” Rand wrote in a direct message. “The Trump administration has full authority to ride to the rescue, and they did… but only for large religious organizations.”
With a significant portion of the country under stay-at-home orders, HBO is making staying at home a little more entertaining by making a lot of its content free to stream without a subscription.
The network has made around 500 hours of programming available to stream for free, including every episode of HBO originals like Veep, The Sopranos, Succession, Ballers, Silicon Valley, and True Blood.
To watch, you’ll need the HBO Now or HBO Go app installed, or you can go to HBO’s website. The free options don’t require a sign in or an account to watch.
Here’s the full list:
1. Ballers (5 Seasons) 2. Barry (2 Seasons) 3. Silicon Valley (6 Seasons) 4. Six Feet Under (5 Seasons) 5. The Sopranos (7 Seasons) 6. Succession (2 Seasons) 7. True Blood (7 Seasons 8. Veep (7 Seasons) 9. The Wire (5 Seasons)
1. Arthur 2. Arthur 2: On the Rocks 3. Blinded by the Light 4. The Bridges of Madison County 5. Crazy, Stupid, Love 6. Empire of the Sun 7. Forget Paris 8. Happy Feet Two 9. Isn’t It Romantic? 10. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part 11. Midnight Special 12. My Dog Skip 13. Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase 14. Pan 15. Pokémon Detective Pikachu 16. Red Riding Hood 17. Smallfoot 18. Storks 19. Sucker Punch 20. Unknown
Docuseries and Documentaries
1. The Apollo 2. The Case Against Adnan Syed 3. Elvis Presley: The Searcher 4. I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter 5. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley 6. Jane Fonda in Five Acts 7. McMillion$ 8. True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality 9. United Skates 10. We Are the Dream: The Kids of the MLK Oakland Oratorical Fest
You’re missing out on popular series like Game of Thrones and Westworld with the free options, but you still can watch a ton of good stuff.
Eli Cahan is a medical student at NYU on leave to complete a master’s in health policy at Stanford as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. His research addresses the effectiveness, economics, and ethics of (digital) health innovation.
In tandem, telehealth has rapidly evolved from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” for U.S. health systems.
Telehealth: from hype to hope to here, overnight
This timing is prescient, as the technologies for telehealth have existed for several decades (at varying levels of sophistication) with modest uptake to-date. From 2005 to 2017, only one out of every 150 doctor visits and one in every 5,000-10,000 specialist visits were conducted via telemedicine.
A major catalyst to uptake was the federal government’s announcement two weeks ago that restrictions on the use of telehealth for Medicare would be temporarily lifted. That policy change included expanding coverage across specialties and settings; waiving co-payments; and loosening HIPAA privacy requirements (such as prohibiting ubiquitous teleconferencing technologies like Apple’s FaceTime).
At America’s largest health systems, adoption of telehealth has accelerated rapidly: at Massachusetts General Hospital, the weekly number of virtual appointments has multiplied 10-20 times in the past weeks, while at NYU Langone Health, staffing was increased fivefold to handle the rush of new appointments. Teladoc, the U.S.’s largest virtual-care provider, is now reporting over 100,000 appointments weekly.
The diversification of telehealth use cases
The proliferation of telehealth via pioneering health systems has spawned unique use cases rarely seen before in the landscape of U.S. healthcare.
These use cases cut across numerous settings: emergent care, intensive care, triage, and monitoring, to name a few. Outside the hospital setting, domestic initiatives such as Houston’s Project Emergency Telehealth and Navigation (ETHAN) has provided a precedent for the use of telemedicine by paramedics and EMTs in first-response. These sorts of programs have actively been pioneered by startups such as RapidSOS in response to COVID-19.
At the gateway to the hospital (the emergency room), building on work by Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, health systems including Kaiser Permanente, Intermountain Health, and Providence Health have adopted programs for tele-intake to minimize contact between providers and patients under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19.
Upon admission to the hospital, telehealth is being used for monitoring patient status while also ensuring the safety of health providers. Such technologies are proving exceptionally important given wide-scale shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
At Washington State’s Providence Regional Medical Center Everett (the site of the first COVID-19 case in America), programs for telemonitoring of ICU patients were built from the ground up in six weeks. Startups like EarlySenseare combining multimodal sensors with audiovisual capabilities to enable remote detection and evaluation of clinical deterioration on non-intensive wards.
Following discharge from the emergency room or the inpatient units of the hospital, telescreening tools like TytoCareare enabling physicians to conduct exams and deliver care remotely that previously would have required in-person contact. In the case of discharge from the emergency room—given the volatile clinical course of COVID-19—methods for streamlined and regular check-ins are critical to monitor symptoms and guide the need for more intensive treatment.
Likewise, given recovery from the disease can potentially be tumultuous (especially after ICU care), these technologies are essential for mitigating what has been deemed the “post-hospital syndrome” and ensuring long-term health after discharge from inpatient care.
Here—but there, or everywhere?
While the near-overnight expansion of telehealth in diverse forms is positive news, barriers remain to its widespread dissemination in this country. To move from the prototyping stage at the meccas of modern medicine to a widely useful tool across healthcare settings, telehealth must seek to solve what has been deemed the “last mile problem.”
The last mile refers to the non-technological, practical elements of local care delivery. As with telehealth, when these practical elements of care delivery are inadequately addressed, they inhibit providers from implementing new technologies for patients. In the case of telehealth, the last mile can be grouped into four domains: those related to (a) coverage and reimbursement (b) legal concerns (c) clinical care and (d) social challenges. The federal government’s policy change this month took major steps forward to resolve some legal concerns, including limitation of tort liability and allowing common teleconferencing platforms that may not be strictly HIPAA compliant.
However, considerable obstacles to the uptake of telehealth persist across the other three domains, especially for the 86.5% of Americans not on Medicare. To effectively combat COVID-19, telehealth must also reach these 281 million individuals in the under-resourced nooks and crannies of the U.S. As the virus becomes more pervasive across the country, rural health systems are depending heavily on these technologies to manage the imminent surge of cases.
The essentials to expanding telehealth
In terms of coverage for patients, only 36 states mandated coverage of telehealth services in insurance plans as of April 2019. For those with mandatory coverage, out-of-pocket copays typically ranged $50-80 per appointment. Alternatively, certain plans waived copays, but only following an annual fee for premium services—premiums which may well rise going forward.
All of these costs will hinder the use of telehealth in non-Medicare patients amidst the present outbreak.
While in the past two weeks, some private insurers such as United Healthcare (covering 45 million Americans), Humana (39 million), and Aetna (13 million) waived copays on telehealth services, the privates covering the remaining hundreds of millions of Americans must follow quickly. States can help accelerate this by following the lead of Massachusetts, which last month required all insurers to cover telehealth.
In terms of reimbursement to providers, only 20% of states required payment parity for telehealth to ensure—if telehealth was covered at all—it is remunerated at rates approximating in-person visits for similar diagnoses. This disparity has made adoption of telehealth undesirable and/or untenable for health systems, since the reimbursement rates for telehealth average 20-50% lower than for comparable in-person service.
The challenges to adoption of telehealth are further heightened for independent practices, who must pay subscription fees to use standard telehealth platforms, but simultaneously experience revenue decreases of some 30% upon integrating telehealth. To make adoption of telehealth financially feasible for health systems and individual practices amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, states once again should follow Massachusetts in seizing the opportunity to enforce payment parity by private insurers.
Finally, in terms of clinical care, issues abound in the minutia of how and where telehealth can be performed. In terms of how telehealth is performed: while these services should integrate with the existing workflows of clinical practice, insurance rules currently hinder this. For example, e-visits and check-ups are only permitted for “existing” patients rather than for new patients presenting with mild symptoms or fleeting concerns, who may not require a full work-up (this is the case even under the recent CMS policy).
Moreover, asynchronous methods such as “store-and-forward” consultations and remote patient monitoring—exactly the sort of efficient and highly-scalable pathways integral to the flexible provision of care to the dispersed masses—are restricted in most states.
Additionally, where telehealth can be conducted is hamstrung by “origination site” policies banning these services in patient homes but for a select few conditions (such as stroke assessment and opiate rehabilitation). Such arbitrary, excessive regulations make the widespread utilization of telehealth unrealistic. Also, state-by-state licensing requirements prevent physicians from providing care across borders (for reasons rooted in nineteenth-century concerns of medical quality gaps between states).
To promote the care of COVID-19 patients in epicenter regions, states should follow the lead of New York and Florida to suspend out-of-state licensing bans, allow license transferability, or at least expedite licensing through “licensure compacts” in allied states.
Finally, in terms of social challenges, considerable access disparities exist between demographic groups. For example, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s 2018 survey, vulnerable populations such as the elderly were 21% less likely to have internet access and almost 50% less likely to conduct videocalls; the poor were 34% less likely to communicate with doctors online; and other demographic minorities (such as Hispanic ethnicity or lower educational attainment) were also less likely to have access to and/or use telehealth technologies.
Since these populations are more likely to face the sorts of comorbid conditions and social determinants of health that heighten mortality from COVID-19—and less likely to have levels of health literacy allowing them to reduce their risk of transmitting infectious diseases like coronavirus—inequalities in telehealth access bear important implications on the country’s ability to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
One of the single best interventions to augment access for these individuals is expanding the scope of practice of non-physician health providers. These providers have their wings clipped by arcane laws fiercely defended by state medical associations that require their “supervision” by physicians for most cases of patient care. This is despite analysessincethe 1980s exhibiting the capability for non-physician healthcare providers (such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants) to provide services as high quality as those of physicians.
In geographically dispersed states such as California—where allied health providers are expected to provide half of all primary care appointments by 2030—these policies are especially vital. Bills designed to facilitate these programs like the California Assembly Bill 890 that remains stalled should be endorsed to protect patients across the state from the insidious diffusion of COVID-19.
In summary, the early responses by federal and state agencies to COVID-19 have made progress to promote the uptake of telehealth. However, as the virus expands its siege across the country, more comprehensive solutions are urgently needed to equip the creators, users, and beneficiaries of telehealth with the arsenal they desperately require to vanquish this invisible enemy. Accordingly, pen-and-paper may be the most important technologies for bolstering telehealth today. Letters to senators, in the near-term, may be the most potent ammunition we’ve got.
No matter how safe of a neighborhood you live in, it pays to have a security system in place. Security cameras and lights deter thieves, can catch mail stealers in the act, and allow you to know when your in-laws are outside so you can prepare/ignore accordingly. Woot is currently having a sale on factory refurbished Arlo products, which will get your home security system up to snuff in no time flat. This includes full security kits, light kits, and additional cameras, so you’ll be able to get the setup that works best for your home.
Pick up the latest Sonos One (2nd Generation) for a low $150, or the One SL for $129 right now. Both speakers AirPlay 2-ready, contribute multi-room audio solution for your entire house, and sound terrific. The big difference is the Sonos One can summon Alexa or Google Assistant, while the SL cannot.
We’re not in the apocalypse yet (at least, I don’t think we are), but if your power suddenly goes out and you don’t have a gas generator, perhaps you can fill up using solar energy. That’s possible thanks to RAVPower’s 24W solar charger. It carries an MSRP of $80 and usually hovers near the $50 mark, but with coupon code COME50, you’ll only need to part ways with $40. That includes free shipping, too.
There are five solar panels and three USB ports capable of 2.4A each. It can only convert up to 23.5% solar energy into power, so we’re not exactly sure how useful that is with the many fast-charging devices out today, but at least battery safety won’t be a concern: it delivers only the current you need with smart frequency technology.
PSA: You need to change your toothbrush every three months or so. It’s not just when the bristles fray, as these babies also build up bacteria, no matter how clean you keep them. So you nee to do it to keep your mouth, like, ACTUALLY clean. If you buy in bulk, you don’t need to worry about not having a new toothbrush when it’s time to change out, and that’s where these bamboo toothbrushes come in.
If you use code 50HL1RFK at checkout, you’ll be able to snag an 8-pack of bamboo toothbrushes for just six bucks. That’s less than a dollar a toothbrush! On top of that, these are made out of bamboo, which are more environmentally friendly than the average plastic toothbrush. So you can be clean and go green at the same time!
Sure, your drinks might stay nice and cool while you’re doing your nightly Netflix binge, but if you want to take your spirits with you on your next stroll or hike, one of Brumate’s containers will come in handy. Right now, Brumate is giving Kinja readders 20% off their entire line of products, including the Hopsulator Slim, using code KINJA-20. Sure, the bars might be closed right now, but that doesn’t mean a cold beer won’t be a welcome companion at your post-hike sunset viewing.
In your quest to find the perfect night’s sleep, don’t forget to upgrade your pillows. Right now, you’ve got two, super-customizable memory foam options to get your sleeping posting just right: a $24 queen-sized foam pillow and a contoured pillow for $31. Both options have a removable middle layer to change up the height and thickness of your pillow.
For the contoured pillow, use the promo code uttupillow and for the more standard version, use the promo code uttuqueen at checkout.
Nowadays, the best part of my day is my long, hot shower. Free from noise and panic of the world, it’s one of the few times in my day I’m not bombarded with frightening news. Of course, no great bath would be complete without a super luxurious towel to cap off the entire experience.
Right now, Huckberry is dropping the price on a number of Onsen towels. Onsen’s waffle weave towels are made from environmentally-friendly cotton, and will get softer over the course of your ownership.
Add a modern, futuristic twist to your decor with this rad Aukey RGB Circle Table Lamp. In addition to its uncommon, attractive shape, this particular model offers six lighting modes, four lighting effect speeds, and four brightness levels. It also comes with a remote for a convenient way to customize your experience.
Make sure to use the promo code Y26FFDIG to get the best price.
We might all be working from home, but we do also need to attend teleconferences that include video. If you want to be dolled up for your video meetings, you can stock up on some makeup with PUR this week. With the code PURB2G1, you can buy two products sitewide and get the third item for free, whether it be some of PUR’s best sellers or a couple items from the super cute Trolls World Tour collection. Who says you can’t have a little fun with your makeup?
One way that I’ve been dealing with being stuck inside constantly is by working on refreshing my wardrobe. Not only do I just want to be comfortable each day, but when I do get to see other people again, I want to look good. Thankfully, a bunch of retailers have been offering good deals on their clothing line, and Forever 21 is no exception with offering 15% of $60 or more purchases with the code INSPODAY.
Forever 21 tends to offer stylish clothing for cheap, so you can get a lot for $60, and then you’ll save even more. For example, these Stonewashed Mid-Rise Flare Jeans are only $30, which is halfway to the purchase goal. You can also use this chance to stock up on closet staples that don’t need to be expensive, like these Scoop Neck Camis. They’re already $3 a piece, but now you can buy all the colors and save even more.
Man…life during quarantine is bleak and the nights are long. Why not make it more entertaining with not one, but TWO vibrators for a cheap $40 (it’s basically two for the price of ONE). First you’ll get a g-spot rabbit vibrator for dual stimulation that’ll make you see stars, and you’ll also get a traditional vibrator with seven tingly modes of vibration because why the hell not? The best thing about these sex toys though is that you can use them with or WITHOUT a quarantine buddy. So why not treat yourself to some bomb orgasms? You deserve it. Buy it while it’s hot!
Thanks to Lelo’s “Stay At Home” sale, you can get your hands on a Sona 2 Cruise for a decent $118. If you’re not familiar with Lelo products, they’re a luxury sex toy brand that provides sleek, and hella pleasurable toys to anyone with a vagina. It’s that simple. The Lelo Sona 2 Cruise is specifically designed with sensonic wave technology to offer constant pressure on all your private parts, as well as “cruise control” to increase pressure when you apply more force, or less depending on your mood. Grab this toy and you’ll be sure to climax again, again….and again!
Do you like to shave? Would you like to continue to even with a global pandemic? Well, you’re in luck! For only $9, you can get a Billie razor subscription. It includes the razor itself, as well as two replacements. Once you get on the website, you’ll be able to set the frequency of which you want razors to be delivered to your front door based on how much you actually shave! We love customizable plans! I’d go ahead and try this subscription service. What else do you have to lose?
Banish neck and back pain forever with this discounted BesDio XLarge Heating Pad. This particular model can be worn like a cape and is just $20 when use promo code KINJA3ZR at checkout. It’ll target and soothe your shoulders, neck and back with your choice of 10 heat settings.
To be honest, ever since I started working from home three weeks ago, my neck and back have been hurting. And I doubt I’m alone. If you have a particularly robust HR or acquisitions department, maybe ask them to order this for you.
If they say no, this is a worthy splurge in these troubled times.
Batman Beyond is pretty darn good. So if you like Batman and blu-rays, grabbing Batman Beyond: The Complete Series for $43 is a no-brainer. While it’s temporarily out of stock at Amazon, you can still order the collection for the sale price, it just might be delayed a little bit. With Amazon prioritizing essential items first though, this isn’t too different from the current norm. Batman Beyond isn’t readily available on most streaming services either, so grabbing this collection is probably the easiest way to enjoy this older cartoon.
While these are Kindle titles, you don’t need a Kindle itself to read them—you can download the free Kindle app to any smartphone or tablet and get to reading right then and there. Granted, there are some clear advantages to buying a Kindle, including a weeks-long battery, a backlight that causes way less eyestrain, and more.
But, in the meantime, you can grab titles like Don Quixote and Gulliver’s Travels right now, for free. You can also pick up a bunch of Sesame Street books like Which Witch is Which for free, so you can help your little one calm down after a long day with a nice bedtime book. There are plenty more books too (like the first book of select series being free), so make sure to check the link!
Amazon has one of the most extensive catalogs with over 60 million tracks, and the mobile app supports Alexa and all the devices she loves to dwell in, so you don’t have to move an inch in bed to start that morning routine playlist.
For some, the charm of a comic book brings the superheroes more to life than even the movies can, especially if those movies are based in the DC universe. (I still don’t forgive Warner Bros. for Batman v. Superman.) Thankfully, we’re talking about Marvel today, which has several comics up for grabs in Comixology’s latest BOGO offer. It’s simple: you buy one, and another one is yours at no additional cost. Just use coupon code MARVEL2020 at checkout.
Want a slew of decent-to-good indie games you might not otherwise pay for? Twitch Prime has your back, and you can sign up for a free 30-day trial right now to download full games like Turok, Etherborn, Kathy Rain, Earthlock, and Lightmatter this month.
Not only that, but you can take home fresh loot for your daily mainstays, too, like the DOOMicorn Slayer Master Collection DLC pack which, yes, turns your Doom Guy into an ass-kicking, head-ripping, guns-blazing PINK. WINGED. UNICORN. What’s more metal than that? Oh, I don’t know, maybe a Rainbow Six Siege skin that transforms Mozzie the operator into A PIZZA SLICE.
All that and more when you sign up for Prime which also includes, mind you, free movies like the excellent The Last Black Man In San Francisco, Mid90s, and The Florida Project, among other modern day classics.
It looks like this homebound lifestyle is going to be around a lot longer than we originally anticipated, so a lot of people are gaming right now. Whether you’re new to Xbox One or you’re nearing the end of your current subscription, Amazon is offering an excellent deal to add Xbox Game Pass Ultimate time to your account. You pay the usual $45 for three months, and Amazon will throw in another three months on top of that. You’re limited to one code per account and mailing address, too, so no hoarding—that’s what tissue is for.
Game Pass Ultimate is an insanely good deal. Not only do you get Xbox Live Gold access—which entitles you to multiplayer and free games each month—but you’ll also get instant access to the hundreds of games currently on offer via GamePass, including some heavy-hitting triple-A first-party titles on launch day like Gears of War 5.
P.S.: Microsoft is also running a pretty good deal of its own, giving you your first month of Game Pass Ultimate for just $1, after which your monthly bill jumps to the usual $15. This offer is only good for new subscribers.
That may seem like a lot considering it isn’t tied to any particular and there are no crazy designs on it, but the controller chassis starts as a solid magenta at the bottom and fades into a translucent pink toward the top, a much nicer take on see-through tech than the eye-gouging horrors we’ve lived through in the past ten decades.
There aren’t a whole lot of recognizable titles here, but the artwork in some of these books is impressive, and with titles as cheap as $5, now’s a good time to stock up. I’m personally in love with Deborah Heiligman’s CoolDog, SchoolDog based on its description alone:
Tinka is a cool dog, a school dog, a breaking all the rules dog. A hall dog, a ball dog, a crash-into-the-wall dog.
My kind of dog.
You have tons of time on your hands, so why not spend that time with a bit of spring cleaning? For just $17, you can get your hands on a six-pack of foldable storage bins you can place basically anywhere in your home. Need to hide away all the mail sitting by your front door? Use a storage bin. Got a bunch of dog toys all over your floor? Use a storage bin. You get a storage bin, you get a storage bin, and YOU get a storage bin. They’re ready for you, just go ahead and buy one!
Whether you’re really worried about cell phone radiation or you just like to have all your bases covered, a little extra protection for your phone is never a bad thing. Right now, Gadget Guard is giving Kinja readers 50% off its iPhone cases with Alara radiation-protective technology, using the promo code GIZMO50.
You never know when you’ll need a power bank. Whether the lights go out or you’re going on a remote hiking trip that’ll absolutely come with some Animal Crossing breaks along the way, the RAVPower 16750mAh packs enough umph to last you to your destination. Better yet, it costs just 18 bells with our exclusive promo code KINJA0331.
Plug it in at checkout and watch your savings soar. RAVPower claims its 2A ports reduce charging times by half and that its 16750 portable charger is 20% smaller than an iPhone 8. It also comes in white, but sadly this deal only extends to the plain black model.
If you’re looking to invest in a pair of truly wireless headphones, the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53 are down to just $28 with our promo code KINJA987. In his review, Whitson Gordon says they have “no business being as good as they are for that low a price.” And he was referring to their $40 retail price.
I enjoyed my time with the TaoTronics quite a bit, and regularly found myself marveling at what you get for the price. If you value the convenience of true wireless earbuds over all else and keep your expectations in check just a little—don’t expect an AirPods-level experience—these are pretty solid earbuds for on-the-go tunes.
Getting outside for a movie night in the backyard could be the perfect way to combat cabin fever, and if you grab one within the next few days, you can take $80 off an Anker Nebula Capsule Max projector to help get the job done. Your total falls to $390 when using coupon code KINJA2423. Unfortunately its resolution tops out at 720p, but you can stretch the image up to 100 inches, it’s small enough to fit in a bag, and with Android on board, you can load up YouTube and Netflix right on the Capsule Max itself.
Have big plans to bake a sourdough this weekend? Start by investing $100 in this awesome Le Creuset Iron Handle Skillet. Highly regarded in kitchens everywhere, Le Creuset is synonymous with quality products and this 10.25″ skillet is no exception.
The big problem? Le Creuset products rarely see discounts. But we found a terrific one for this white model. This pan, no joke, hovers around $170. So this is a terrific bargain.
Le Creuset says their “improved enamel interior resists staining, dulling, and wear and tear” and doesn’t require additional seasoning, unlike other cast-iron cookware.
This particular model has enough space for two monitors and offers a slot for your smartphone or tablet to sit up front. Plus, you have a little shelf for your mouse and keyboard which is super nice.
Just note that we’ve seen DailySteals stock run out quickly after posting, so don’t hesitate if you’ve been mulling one over.
Right now, you can save 15% off Bokksu subscriptions and gift boxes with our exclusive code, KINJA15. If you’re unfamiliar, Bokksu is a snack box subscription service that delivers “Japan-exclusive snacks to your door.”
When I first encountered Bokksu, I thought to myself, “Well, I don’t need that” since I consider myself an adventurous snacker and I’m currently living in Elmhurst, Queens where there are amazing Asian snacks abound.
However, I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised. There were plenty of treats included in the box that I’ve never seen before and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. There was a varied selection of sweet and savory, so I never got tired of anything. Quite frankly, the Bokksu box I received was one of the best things to happen in recent weeks.
The best part? There’s a handy guide that gives you all the info you’d want on each treat (including allergy info) that removes a big barrier that often comes with trying new things with non-English labels.
That summer wardrobe isn’t going to build itself. Let PUMA help you out with its latest sale, where select shoes and apparel for men, women, and children get an extra 40% off using code SPRING40, and that includes free shipping for any orders over $35. There are way more shoes than anything in each category, and the styles are varied enough that—unless you’re Amish—you should be able to find something you like.
So, if you’re looking to stay comfy in these particularly trying times, this is the deal to take advantage of. Our colleague Tommy says, “Those are in limited supply, so act fast if you’re serious.”
Just make sure to use the promo code SSK at checkout. And as always JACHS NY offers free returns, so go wild.
There’s a lot of discourse surrounding the benefits of CBD and whether the Cannabid sativa extract is actually beneficial to those experiencing chronic pain and anxiety or if it’s a placebo cleverly marketed as a cure-all antidote. Whatever you believe (I, myself, have seen the positive effects of a good batch), JustCBD is offering 25% off its entire selection of CBD gummies right now using our exclusive discount code KINJA25.
Chill out, maybe watch a movie and fall asleep halfway through. Gummies at CBD start at 8mg and cap out at 25mg/piece, so there’s a wide gamut of dosages to choose from. Especially right now, we need all the help we can get for our mental and physical health. To that extent, CBD is a proven aid, and gummies are the most fun way to consume it.
Peak Design products are legendary among photographers and organization nerds. And right now, you can save up to 40% on Peak Design products, including retailer exclusives, over at Huckberry.
Expertly-designed and well-built, enthusiasts trust Peak Design products to carry and protect their valuables but prices have always been a barrier for most of us. These discounts, however, lower that barrier quite a bit.
The sitewide sale goes for one week only and ends April 6 while the Huckberry deal has no known expiration date. Supplies are limited, so act quickly before your bag gets shipped to someone else.
As an added bonus, there’s a ton of great games here including Superhot, Hollow Knight, Into the Breach, Undertale, Brothers, Tropico 4, and so much more. So do your part, send ‘em $30, stay home, and play video games.
Because that’s what heroes do.
Shep called this $19 shelf from Elevation Lab dumb. It is. But the good kind of dumb, like eating cheese despite being lactose sensitive, or telling your ex how you still value her friendship…
You know what’s not dumb? Using the promo code KINJASHELF to bring it down to just $19. In his review, Shep said:
In hindsight, the Elevation Shelf is about as simple and obvious as a product can be. And yet, there are surprisingly few low profile under-desk storage options out there, and those that do exist require drilling into your desk, which may be frowned upon your office. In fact, I’d say 99% of desk organization products are things that go on top of your desk, but for small items like your wallet and keys, utilizing the oft-wasted area under your desk is a much better use of space.
This is absolutely perfect for everyone WFH right now. But just a heads up, this sold out when we last posted about it. So get yours, or else we’ll know who the real dummy is. (It’s me, it’s always me.)
I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again: Mental health care IS health care, and therapy is a crucial part of treating your symptoms. You might be feeling down in the dumps right now, and that’s ok, you’re not alone. If you need to talk to someone but can’t leave your house, know that Talkspace is the number one online therapy service around and they’re offering $100 off your first month with the coupon code REMOTE100.
Considering it starts at $65/week, you’re basically getting a free 7-day trial and then some. As part of the service, Talkspace is currently promoting their COVID-19 stress and anxiety management program to all subscribers, including those taking advantage of this very discount. Try it out, and let me know how it is because I’m genuinely tempted to sign up myself.
Jason Shen is a three-time startup founder and the CEO of Midgame, a gaming technology company backed by Techstars and Betaworks.
It’s no secret that adaptability has become a critical trait for knowledge workers. To stay on top of a rapidly evolving world, we must assess new situations, make intelligent decisions and implement them effectively.
A 2014 research report by Barclays indicated that 60% of employers say adaptability has become more important during the last decade, and BBC called adaptability the “X factor” for career success in an era of technological change.
But even the most intrepid executive, entrepreneur or freelancer would be forgiven for struggling to adapt to a global pandemic. The impact of coronavirus has been unrelenting: hospitals at capacity, students sent home, conference cancellations, sold out inventory, markets in free fall and cities under lockdown.
Whatever you thought 2020 was going to look like, you were dead wrong. Box CEO Aaron Levie and Stanford professor Bob Sutton’s recent Twitter exchange said it all:
Not just start-ups. Every big company, every nonprofit, every government organization, and most people too
This moment requires us to learn new skills, develop new habits and let go of old ways of working. In the book “Range,” there’s a chapter about “dropping familiar tools” that details how experienced professionals will overlearn specific behavior and then fail to adapt to a new circumstance. This mentality affected everyone from firefighters to aviation crews to NASA engineers, often with deadly results, and underscores how hard it can be to adapt to change.
To help us cultivate adaptability in this unprecedented moment, I sought answers in unexpected places. Here’s what I learned.
Let go of your attachments
Adaptability is required first and foremost when circumstances change. It’s easy to get attached to certain outcomes, especially when they’ve been planned long in advance or have significant emotional weight.
Due to coronavirus, a couple I know is postponing their wedding originally set for April. Having tied the knot only a year ago myself, I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be for them. But it was the right decision; demanding that the show go on would have been dangerous for their families, friends and the public at large.
I recently spoke with my friend Belinda Ju, an executive coach with a longstanding meditation practice. Non-attachment is a core concept of Buddhism, the spiritual path she’s followed for many years, and I wanted her thoughts on how that idea might help us adapt to unforeseen circumstances.
“Attachment doesn’t work because certainty doesn’t work. You can’t predict the future,” she explained. Being attached to something means “seeing the world through a false lens. Nothing is fixed.” For Ju and her clients, non-attachment doesn’t mean giving up on goals — it means focusing on what you can control.
“You might have a fixed goal of needing to raise X million dollars to keep your team afloat,” she said. “But in the age of coronavirus, investors might be slower to respond. So what are the levers in your control? What are the options you have and the pros and cons to each one?”
Her points hit home for me. As a NYC-based startup founder, I was preparing to make several trips to the West Coast to raise the next round for my company, Midgame, a digital party host for gamers.
I like pitching in person, but that’s obviously not going to happen, so I need to embrace video calls as my new reality. By doing that, I can get to stocking up on coffee, cleaning up my work space and setting up a microphone so when I do pitch over video, I’m bringing my A game.
Another way to think about adaptability is that it’s the ability to improvise. In theater, improv performers can’t rely on prewritten lines, and have to react in real time to suggestions from the audience or the words and actions of their scene partners.
“ ‘Playing the scene you’re in’ is a principle from improv which means to be present to the situation you’re in.”
That’s what Mary Lemmer told me. As an entrepreneur and VC who spent a stint at The Second City improv theater in Chicago, Lemmer knows a thing or two about having to adapt. Today, she brings her insights to corporations through training and workshops.
She explained that as an improv performer, you may start a scene with a certain idea in mind of how it will go, but that can quickly change. “If you’re not present,” she said, “then you’re not actively listening and because there’s no script, you’ll miss details. That’s when scenes fall apart.”
When I was a PM at Etsy and we had a major launch, we’d get engineering, dev ops, product, marketing and customer support together in a room to talk through the final event sequencing. These weren’t always the most exciting meetings and it was easy to get distracted by email or chat. One time engineering announced a significant last-minute issue that almost slipped through the cracks. Luckily, someone piped up with a clarifying question and we were all able to work together to minimize the issue.
Lemmer argues that in improv, like in business, you can’t make assumptions about people or situations. “We see this a lot in board meetings. People start to assume ‘Sally’ will always be the proactive one or ‘Jim’ will always be the naysayer and tune out.”
This is kind of attitude is problematic in a stable environment, but downright dangerous in an unstable situation where new data and events can quickly open up a new set of challenges and opportunities.
Early on, some experts thought the coronavirus crisis would stabilize globally by April. In early February, S&P Global stated that in the “worst-case scenario,” the virus would be contained by late May. A month later, that prediction already looked wildly optimistic.
Build mental toughness
Experts are saying now that cases may peak in May or June, which means everyone should be hunkering down for eight or more weeks of social distancing and isolation. A COVID-19 vaccine just started human trials, but testing in large enough sample sizes to identify side effects and then ramping up large-scale production still might not be fully available for more than a year.
In other words, dealing with this virus is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. A marathon no one signed up for.
Someone who knows a lot about this topic is Jason Fitzgerald. A 2:39 marathoner, Fitzgerald now helps people run faster and healthier as an author and coach.
When we spoke over the phone, he pointed out that running, unlike say basketball or gymnastics, is a sport where “you have to voluntarily want to experience more and more discomfort.”
Fitzgerald calls this ability to endure “mental toughness,” and it’s a skill we all can build. For runners, it requires doing workouts that scare them, putting in mileage that’s higher than they have in the past and racing regularly. It’s also about accepting and even embracing the pain of running hard.
The same is true for adaptation. We can train ourselves to respond better to change (we’re all getting lots of practice right now!), but developing new habits and working in new ways is always uncomfortable. As decorated cyclist Greg LeMond once said, “it doesn’t get easier, you just get faster.”
We also have to recognize that we won’t get it right every time. “The more that we get comfortable with poor performances, the more we can learn from them,” Fitzgerald said, noting that he’s had his share of bad races, including failing to finish an ultramarathon in 2015. “Sometimes you dwell on a bad race for a couple days, but then you have to just forget about it and move on with your training.”
Many of us are reeling from more cancellations, suspensions and complete one-eighties in the last month than in the last five years. But we can’t let ourselves stay bogged down by our feelings of frustration or disappointment. We accept our new reality, learn what we can from it, and keep going.
It’s clear that the people who can let go of their past plans and embrace the new environment ahead will thrive. Already we’re seeing companies pivot from live events to online webinars, and remote-first workplaces becoming the new normal. Shares of Zoom have risen even as the stock market has taken a beating and I’m sure other winners will emerge in the coming weeks and months.
But adaptability doesn’t just matter for individuals or even companies, it matters for governments. For China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, thanks to aggressive testing and quarantining efforts, life is returning, somewhat, to normal. New cases are on the decline and there’s hope of life returning to normalcy in the near future. Countries that bungled their response to the disease progression, including Italy, Spain, the U.K. and the United States, are now facing increasingly dire consequences.
Whether you want to survive a global pandemic, reach the next phase in your career or be selected on a mission to Mars, it’s hard to overstate the importance of adaptability in getting there.
Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.
The app industry saw a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to App Annie’s “State of Mobile” annual report. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.
In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.
This week, we’re continuing our special coverage of how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting apps and the wider mobile app industry — or rather, the boost many apps are receiving as a result. In fact, the first quarter saw consumer spending hit record levels in Q1 as everyone was staying indoors. But as some apps shoot up the charts, scrutiny over their practices increases. This week saw No. 1 app Zoom defending itself against a host of complaints over security issues, for example, while social video app Houseparty defended itself against a possible smear campaign. There’s also a new app from the Pinterest CEO for tracking the spread of COVID-19.
Also this week: more leaks about the new version of iOS, Apple bought Dark Sky, Niantic pivoted, TikTok moved up the charts and more.
Coronavirus/COVID-19 special coverage
Pinterest CEO, scientists team up on COVID-19 tracking app
Through the videos, you can visit Old San Juan, see coffee farms in the central region, and visit La Placita de Güisín, a public art mosaic that commemorates the legacy of Lin-Manuel’s paternal grandfather in Vega Alta.
Most of the videos are 5 minutes or less, so you can use them as a quick break rather than a full-on event.