Tag: Just

You Can Still Call It “Just Mayo” (Although It Doesn’t Have Eggs)

Still Just Mayo.

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images for NYCWFF

It tastes like mayo, it smells like mayo, and it looks like mayo. Now the question of what Just Mayo can be called has been put to rest: It is, and will continue to be, Just Mayo. Got that?

The name of Hampton Creek's popular condiment, which is sold in Safeway, Costco, Whole Foods, The Dollar Tree, and other major supermarkets worldwide, had been a point of contention since August, when the FDA pointed out in a warning letter that by legal definition “mayonnaise” or “mayo” is supposed to contain eggs. (Yes, the FDA has an official definition for mayonnaise, plus other types of food, as a means of preventing false advertising.) But Hampton Creek, a venture-backed San Francisco startup, substitutes plant protein–based compounds for eggs in its food products, which also include cookies and cookie dough.

After months of discussion, the dispute was resolved Wednesday night when the FDA told Hampton Creek it could keep the “Just Mayo” moniker, CEO Josh Tetrick told BuzzFeed News. FDA spokesperson Lauren Kotwicki confirmed the news and told BuzzFeed News by email, “The company committed to making labeling changes to ensure its products are labeled in a manner that is truthful and not misleading.”

The compromise between Hampton Creek and the FDA is a small yet meaningful truce in a world in which venture-backed startups seeking to overhaul entrenched industries clash with regulators.

Under the FDA's guidance, Hampton Creek has had to change its labeling to clarify what, exactly, its sandwich spread is (and is not). It added a definition of the “just” in “Just Mayo” (“guided by reason, justice, and fairness”), a summary of the company's philosophy, the words “SPREAD & DRESSING,” and a box around the nutrition facts to better highlight the ingredients. It also shrunk the egg logo and increased the size of the words “egg-free” and “soy-free.”

Of the FDA, Tetrick told BuzzFeed News, “They really wanted to be part of creating a better food system and it's important they were part of that. It's important we heard what they had to say.”

The new label.

Hampton Creek

Also in August, the FDA criticized Hampton Creek's claim that Just Mayo is cholesterol-free and its marketing message “Your Heart Matters. When your heart is healthy, well, we’re happy. You’ll never find cholesterol in our products.” Those claims together, the FDA said at the time, implied that the product can reduce the risk of heart disease. But Just Mayo in fact contained an amount of fat that would require disclosure, and that label was missing, the FDA said.

For now, Hampton Creek will remove the “cholesterol-free” wording from Just Mayo's label with the intention of putting it back on later, Tetrick said. The creamy condiment was, and remains, cholesterol-free.

The mayonnaise identity crisis came to the FDA's attention following a lawsuit last year filed by Unilever, the food conglomerate that owns mayonnaise brand Hellmann’s. (The lawsuit was later dropped.) Hampton Creek, which was founded in 2011 and has raised $ 120 million, has also faced criticism from anonymous ex-employees who told Business Insider that the products were less than scientifically sound, and concerted attacks by the government-backed American Egg Board, as reported by The Guardian.

BuzzFeed – Tech

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India’s Biggest Ride-Hail Player Just Launched Its Own Payments App

olamoney.com

Ask the CEOs and founders of the world’s biggest ride-hail companies what their companies will look like five years from now and they're likely to describe a broad, on-demand logistics service. Companies like Uber and Ola are already moving fast toward this future using their transportation platforms to undergird services like UberEats and Ola’s grocery delivery offering Ola Store. But now Ola is taking a step in an entirely new direction: payments.

Late Thursday, India’s biggest ride-hail company debuted a new stand-alone app for Ola Money — its refillable digital wallet. It’s a move Ola has been contemplating since Ola Money became the payment method of choice for more than half of all Ola rides and began gaining traction among local retailers. The new stand-alone app supports these transactions and also allows people to recharge their mobile phone plans and transfer money to other people.

“We realized payments and Ola Money is the key thing that ties all the different services that we’re offering together, from transportation to delivery,” Rushil Goel, head of Ola Money, told BuzzFeed News. “We realized a few months ago given our position [in transportation] and given that our customers are using it a lot for that we [can make] the payment service a focus in itself. It’s a pretty interesting piece that comes out of the fact that we have a strong position in transportation.”

Goel conceded that the digital wallet space in India is fairly crowded, but he said Ola is confident Ola's vast user base will be enough to differentiate Ola Money. “There are a lot of wallets and digital payment options now available in India, but we are tied to such a high-frequency use case,” he said. “People are keeping a lot more money with us — much more than any of the other [digital payment options]. If you look at the numbers, we’re pretty much one of the largest wallets in the country right now.”

While this is something of an exploratory effort for Ola, Goel said he foresees a time when the company is more of a broad consumer brand than just a transportation service. “At a broad level it becomes a consumer brand because in some sense it enables more and more use cases for the customer,” he said. “The core business will still be around on-demand services whether it's cars, food, or groceries. But the payment piece of it becomes a very strong offshoot, and enables even more use cases.”

A stand-alone digital wallet is also a service that isn’t necessarily market-specific; it can be easily lifted out of India and transferred to other countries like China and Singapore — where Ola now has strategic partners in Chinese ride-hail company Didi-Kuadi and Singapore-based GrabTaxi. But for the time being, said Goel, Ola is focused strictly on “going deep” in India.

BuzzFeed – Tech

Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” Just Hit One Billion YouTube Views

An appreciation.

Via youtube.com

Wiz Khalifa's “See You Again” is many things: a smash hit, a brilliant piece of corporate synergy, true art, a touching tribute to a fallen friend. And as of today, it's something else: A record-setting YouTube hit.

The song had already set a single-song streaming record on Spotify (recently usurped by Justin Bieber's “What Do You Mean) and became one of the most successful rap songs of all time, per the Billboard charts. Now, it's joined an elite club: On Friday, “See You Again” passed the billion-view mark on YouTube.

The success of the heartfelt tribute to Paul Walker shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. It’s a brilliant song.

The success of the heartfelt tribute to Paul Walker shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It's a brilliant song.

Via youtube.com

It’s only the tenth video to reach 1 billion views.

It's only the tenth video to reach 1 billion views.

YouTube


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BuzzFeed – Tech

LinkedIn Just Sent An Email To Let People Know It Was Sued For Sending Too Many Emails

The professional social network will pay $ 13 million into a settlement fund.

Spencer Bergen / BuzzFeed

LinkedIn — professional social network and useless email generator — just settled a class-action lawsuit…for sending too many emails.

In May, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner told BuzzFeed News that “there are certain members to whom we're sending too much email,” in a live interview with San Francisco Bureau Chief Mat Honan. Now the company will be taken to task for it.

Late Friday, the company contacted those on the service who “may have used LinkedIn's Add Connections feature between September 17, 2011, and October 31, 2014,” to notify them that a class-action lawsuit had been filed against the company.

Essentially, LinkedIn's “Add Connections” feature was a quick way to connect with the people in a contact list — a one-click method to notify everyone that you had joined the service. However, LinkedIn used access to users' contact lists to send two “reminder” emails, which a court found had been sent without the users' consent. Those additional emails are the focus of the lawsuit, and why LinkedIn will now pay out.

LinkedIn acknowledged no wrongdoing but opted to settle the lawsuit. It will pay $ 13 million into a fund for payments to plaintiffs.

You are receiving this e-mail because you may have used LinkedIn's Add Connections feature between September 17, 2011 and October 31, 2014.
A federal court authorized this Notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.

Why did I get this notice? This Notice relates to a proposed settlement (“Settlement”) of a class action lawsuit (“Action”) against LinkedIn Corporation (“LinkedIn”) based on LinkedIn's alleged improper use of a service called “Add Connections” to grow its member base.

What is the Action about? The Action challenges LinkedIn's use of a service called Add Connections to grow its member base. Add Connections allows LinkedIn members to import contacts from their external email accounts and email connection invitations to one or more of those contacts inviting them to connect on LinkedIn. If a connection invitation is not accepted within a certain period of time, up to two “reminder emails” are sent reminding the recipient that the connection invitation is pending. The Court found that members consented to importing their contacts and sending the connection invitation, but did not find that members consented to LinkedIn sending the two reminder emails. The Plaintiffs contend that LinkedIn members did not consent to the use of their names and likenesses in those reminder emails. LinkedIn denies these allegations and any and all wrongdoing or liability. No court or other entity has made a judgment or other determination of any liability.

What relief does the Settlement provide? LinkedIn has revised disclosures, clarifying that up to two reminders are sent for each connection invitation so members can make fully-informed decisions before sending a connection invitation. In addition, by the end of 2015, LinkedIn will implement new functionality allowing members to stop reminders from being sent by canceling the connection invitation. LinkedIn has also agreed to pay $ 13 million into a fund that can be used, in part, to make payments to members of the Settlement Class who file approved claims. Attorneys representing the Settlement Class will petition the Court for payment of the following from the fund: (1) reasonable attorneys' fees, expenses, and costs up to a maximum of $ 3,250,000, and (2) service awards for the Plaintiffs up to a maximum of $ 1,500 each. The payment amount for members of the Settlement Class who file approved claims will be calculated on a pro rata basis, which means that it will depend on the total number of approved claims. If the number of approved claims results in a payment amount of less than $ 10, LinkedIn will pay an additional amount up to $ 750,000 into the fund. If the pro rata amount is so small that it cannot be distributed in a way that is economically feasible, payments will be made, instead, to Cy Pres Recipients selected by the Parties and approved by the Court. No one knows in advance whether or in what amount payments will be made to claimants.

BuzzFeed – Tech

Google Just Announced A New Announcement

The company will likely announce new Nexus handsets and release the next version of Android on Sept. 29.

Google

Google just set a date for some sort of announcement: Sept. 29. But it's not saying what it's for. (Hint: It's Android and Nexus.)

You will almost certainly be able to say “hey, what's up, hello” to a new Nexus device (or two). There may be a new Chromecast as well.

Judging from the “s'mores” reference, it's also going to include the release of the latest version of Android, which Google code-named “Marshmallow.” The Android M developer's preview of the operating system debuted at this year's I/O conference back in May.

BuzzFeed – Tech

This Company Just Started Offering Free, Customized Tutoring Online

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

For years, the ed-tech start up Knewton has been content to stay behind the scenes, lending its adaptive-learning technology to big-name education publishers like Pearson and Houghton Mifflin. But Knewton is stepping out of the shadows with a plan to take its technology to the masses.

Today, the company is launching Knewton.com, a free online tutoring platform that creates personalized lessons for learners out of completely “open” content — videos, readings, and test questions that are uploaded onto the platform by users. Though it is starting with kindergarten through high school, the plan, the company said, is to eventually move into college-level subjects and beyond.

Jose Ferreira, the company's CEO, calls Knewton.com a “robot tutor in the sky.”

Knewton, founded in 2008, has made its business out of providing technology to many of the world's largest education companies, allowing them to build curriculum that adapts to individual students. Knewton software collects millions of data points about what students know and how they learn, then translates them into customized lessons, questions and quizzes.

The new platform launching today brings the same technology to teachers, parents and students, formulating custom lessons for students by stitching together the best videos and quizzes from a library of user-created content. Working within a topic like “exponential equations” or “cellular respiration,” each student will see a different lesson, with different quiz questions and videos, stitched together based on the student's strengths and weaknesses.

In a classroom, Knewton.com might function as a replacement for a worksheet on a topic like the Pythagorean theorem — rather than giving every student the same questions, teachers can have students working at their ability, with some reviewing the basics of the concept and others solving advanced problems.

For the first time, rather than using a textbook company's curriculum, Knewton has put its software to work on “open educational” resources like Youtube videos and teacher-written lessons. The idea is to use Knewton's technology to pick the best of those resources, then serve them up to thousands of students. Knewton's algorithms test the effectiveness of every piece of content that's uploaded to the platform. Materials that work well will be “floated to the top,” with the potential to be shown to thousands of students; if it proves ineffective, it will be sifted out in favor of better curriculum.

“There's so much good stuff out there, and only a small percentage of it is on the web,” said David Liu, Knewton's chief operating officer. “So much is trapped on teachers' desktops, so we're really trying to open up great content that would normally only be seen by maybe 30 students.”

Knewton said there are no plans to charge users for the platform; its moneymaking business, Liu said, is its back-end work with curriculum companies like Pearson. But the company still has a lot to gain from offering the service.

Knewton's business is built on understanding how students learn. As the platform grows, Knewton will learn more about what makes good content, how students move through subjects, and what teachers want out of tutoring resources. That knowledge will be a boon to Knewton's moneymaking business, too, allowing it to provide better technology to the companies it works with.

Knewton will also amass detailed “learner profiles” of students — profiles that can, ideally, follow students into classrooms and outside of them. These, too, will enhance the quality of the company's technology.

It also won't hurt that the service will give Knewton a foothold in many schools where it doesn't currently have a presence, showing teachers and school districts the value of buying curriculum that uses Knewton technology.

Knewton last raised money in 2013, when it brought in $ 51 million in Series E round. In 2011, when it raised $ 33 million, it was reportedly valued at well over $ 150 million.

For now, the content on Knewton.com is focused around K-12. In this early stage, Knewton is making a big bet on elementary school teachers, relying largely on them to upload the content — and to populate the platform with their students.

There's already a huge demand for content and lesson-sharing among teachers, said Liu, though much of it is decentralized. Knewton hopes to create a place not just to upload that content, but a way to judge whether it works, and for what types of students.

“Every other site is putting out what experts think is best,” Liu said. “We're doing something very different. We're finding the content that is shown to be the most effective, at that point in time, for that student.”

Many ed-tech companies have had huge success by going directly to teachers to distribute their free products — like Remind, an app that allows teachers to communicate with parents and students that neared the top of the Apple app store last year, or ClassDojo, a behavior-tracking app that has become enormously popular among teachers.

But working directly with teachers to spread its product will be new territory for Knewton, which has so far dealt only with large companies like Pearson. That could prove a challenge for the company. Though it has pre-loaded the site with a stock of educational content, Knewton.com will only thrive if it has users to populate the site and students to learn from.

BuzzFeed – Business

Chick-Fil-A Just Handed Out 6,500 Free Sandwiches In New York City

There’s no strategy like free food.

Venessa Wong / BuzzFeed News

NEW YORK — Over the last two years, the chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A has started expanding beyond its usual suburban environs to urban markets, and on Oct. 3, it will open the doors to its largest restaurant yet in the country's largest city, New York.

It will be Chick-fil-A's first location in Manhattan (aside from the NYU cafeteria), which means that even in this city of roughly 8.5 million people, there are plenty yet who have no clue what Chick-fil-A is, despite the fact that the Atlanta-based chain is arguably one of the most successful companies in fast food at the moment.

Chick-fil-A is betting large on the giant, new restaurant, which will be three stories, have 10 registers, and two kitchens. It will have roughly twice the capacity of a typical Chick-fil-A, said Ryan Holmes, a Chick-fil-A urban strategy consultant. In other words, it's expecting tons of business. “Our urban strategy is a lot about New York,” he said.

Chick-fil-A is already planning a second store in Manhattan, and there's room for 15 to 20 locations in the borough, said Holmes, with additional room in the city's outer boroughs like Brooklyn.

To drum up interest in what remains unchartered territory for the brand, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the company handed out roughly 6,500 free chicken sandwiches outside of Madison Square Garden, which is blocks away from the upcoming store. By 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, roughly 70 people had lined up ahead of the truck's opening, and they continued to pour in.

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A aggressively promoted the giveaway. It hired eight people to spread the word by bike, and five pedicabs to chauffeur people to the truck, which was blasting dance music for passersby.

Chick-fil-A aggressively promoted the giveaway. It hired eight people to spread the word by bike, and five pedicabs to chauffeur people to the truck, which was blasting dance music for passersby.

Chick-fil-A


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BuzzFeed – Business

Restoration Hardware CEO: We’re A “Lovestyle,” Not Just A Lifestyle

Gary Friedman, Restoration Hardware’s chairman and CEO, filmed an unusual video for Wall Street yesterday.

Restoration Hardware isn't just a chain that sells $ 5,400 couches and $ 2,500 dining tables.

It's an innovator like Apple, Tesla and Google, a brand “worthy of loving” — a place that gives people “goosebumps,” according to Gary Friedman, the chief executive officer, chairman and face of the brand.

In an unusual style for a third-quarter earnings report, Friedman and his chief financial officer released a video for analysts and investors yesterday ahead of its earnings call.

For seven minutes, light piano music plays while Friedman — tanned, fingertips touching — talks to the camera from a cream-colored armchair about the power of brands.

“People can fall in love with a brand, just like they can a person, or a passion,” Friedman explains. “And it's not always rational, nor is their behavior. People camping out for days in a line to be the first to buy a new phone, when they could have easily ordered one online is not rational, but they do it. It's a customer saying: 'I believe what you believe.'”

Black and white pictures of a young Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein float across the screen, as he continues: “They, too, see themselves as the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently, because they too believe that the ones who are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do. That's why they stand in line for days. It's about much more than a product.”

He then explained why this was relevant to Wall Street.

“Why am I on a conference call with investors and analysts talking about love and buying with our eyes?” he said. “I'm talking about these things because we believe RH is in the early stages of becoming a brand worthy of loving. We believe what we are doing is moving beyond an intellectual connection to an emotional one. We are beginning to express those things we deeply believe in a way you can see it. it's becoming tangible. There's physical evidence and we have given ourselves and others goosebumps.”

And the company doesn't plan to change its style to cater to analysts, even though it's been public since the end of 2012.

“I know some of you would like us to stop innovating and start duplicating so you can build a simple model,” he said. “It's not going to happen. We refuse to follow in the footsteps of others. We refuse to be confined by conventional wisdom or be victims of other people's thinking.”

Restoration Hardware, he said, recently closed a successful store to build something better in its place, and that's an example of the company's thinking: “This is not going to be a retail model you can fit into a simple spreadsheet. We are not going to keep doing the same thing over and over again because we would get bored, and so would our guests. You can't build a simple model of true innovators like Apple, Tesla, Google or Facebook, and you won't be able to build one for our age, because we won't sit still. We will be forever unsatisfied and forever on the move.”

“This is not a lifestyle,” he said. “It is a lovestyle.”

Restoration Hardware, a luxury home goods company which pulled in $ 1.6 billion in sales last year, doesn't call itself a retailer. It self-describes as “a curator of design, taste and style in the luxury lifestyle market.” Its stores are “galleries,” its enormous catalog a “source book.”

Restoration Hardware

Friedman is a colorful character — a Bloomberg Businessweek profile notes he wears a brown woven bracelet with the word “Believe,” starts most mornings with raw coconut water, and requires green or white flowers in his home and cream-colored books for his library. He joined Restoration Hardware from Williams-Sonoma in 2001, transforming it from a chain close to bankruptcy into a haven for furniture so pricey you can buy it on a monthly financing plan. The executive was forced to briefly resign in 2012 after a board inquiry into his personal relationship with a young woman employee, an investigation spurrred by the woman's ex-boyfriend. But Friedman, considered the curator of the brand, and the face of its catalogs, was was reinstated last year.

On the conference call after the video, one analyst said the presentation was “original and interesting,” and another told management, “Love this format.” The stock has shot up 10% today to $ 94.87 a share after the report, which showed comparable brand sales rising 22% after a 38% surge last year, and a 56% rise in adjusted net profit to $ 20.3 million.

Restoration Hardware is known for the aesthetic of its vast, beautiful stores, which serve to showcase its luxury goods and a certain kind of unfettered lifestyle; they're often created in historic buildings and feature stunning accents that aren't for sale. Cash registers are hidden from view. Friedman, in yesterday's video, urged analysts and investors to visit the company's newest stores in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

“If you want to buy our stock, or follow our company, then put down your spreadsheet and fly to Los Angeles and Atlanta,” he said. “You have to see it to believe it. Then and only then, you should decide to buy with your eyes…you too might see what we see, believe what we believe, and also fall in love.”

“The heart is said to be 10,000 times more powerful than the mind,” he told the camera. “You can't give yourself goosebumps, because it needs to come from the heart. we need to connect to something we deeply believe in to become emotional, to get goosebumps, butterflies or tears. It has to be authentic.”


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BuzzFeed – Business

Did Uber Just File A Trademark For A Mobile Game Called “UberDrive”?

According to the filing, UberDrive is a “computer game software for mobile devices…”

The trademark filing for UberDrive filed on Dec. 2.

tess2.uspto.gov

Is Uber building some kind of mobile app or game?

According to search findings in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database, Uber Technologies has filed for a trademark for a mobile application called UberDrive. UberDrive, according to the filing, will be a “computer game software for mobile devices” that provides “entertainment services.”

Sally M. Abel, the attorney of record for this particular filing, also filed the trademark filing for what appears to be a new logo for Uber on the same day — Dec. 2. The description for Uber is, as expected, “a mobile application software for connecting drivers and passengers” or a “mobile application software for automated scheduling and dispatch of motor vehicles.”

Uber spokesperson Kristin Carvell called to say she was looking into the filing in response to BuzzFeed News' request but later emailed and said Uber had no comment on the matter.

Uber recently raised a $ 1.2 billion funding round valued at $ 41 billion. In the blog post announcing the funding, CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick makes no mention of expanding beyond the original function of Uber (connecting passengers to drivers), though he did write that the new round would help the company make more investments specifically in the Asia Pacific.

Again, here's the filing for UberDrive:

Again, here's the filing for UberDrive:

And here's the trademark filing for Uber, filed on the same day by the same attorney of record, Sally M. Abel:

And here's the trademark filing for Uber, filed on the same day by the same attorney of record, Sally M. Abel:

tess2.uspto.gov


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BuzzFeed – Tech

A Top Twitter Executive Just Had A Massive Direct Message Fail

It looks like Twitter’s finance chief Anthony Noto thought he was messaging another Twitter executive about buying a company. Anthony Weiner, a prominent victim of the DM Fail, was quick to step in and offer support.

Brian Ach / Getty Images

It seems Twitter's new chief financial officer hasn't gotten the hang of Twitter just yet.

Twitter CFO Anthony Noto committed a classic Twitter error by accidentally tweeting out a suggestion that Twitter should buy a company, in what looks like a classic case of DM Fail. Noto is one of Twitter's newest prize hires, and as a Goldman Sachs banker, helped take the company public.

Noto is, of course, not the first high-profile user to accidentally tweet out what would otherwise be a direct message. And not long after he made the faux pas, one of the best-known casualties of the DM fail stepped in to joke about it.


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BuzzFeed – Business