Lime is debuting its line of shareable vehicles in Seattle this week

Lime is debuting its line of shareable vehicles in Seattle this week

Excerpts from the article by Kate Clark on TechCrunch

Lime, the well-funded startup known for its fleet of brightly colored dockless bicycles and electric scooters, has a new way for its customers to get around: cars.

Beginning this week, Lime users in Seattle will be able to reserve a “LimePod,” a Lime-branded 2018 Fiat 500, within the Lime mobile app. There will be 50 cars available to start as part of the company’s initial rollout. Lime plans to increase that number at the end of the month.

“LimePods, Lime’s car-sharing product line, a convenient, affordable, weather-resistant mobility solution for communities,” a spokesperson for Lime said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “The ease of use of finding, unlocking, and paying for cars will be consistent with how riders use Lime scooters and e-bikes today.”

Rides in the LimePod will cost $1 to unlock the car and 40 cents per minute of use. The company plans to unleash additional shareable cars in California early next year. Its scooters and e-bikes, for reference, are $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute and regular pedal bikes are $1 to unlock and 5 cents per minute.

Founded in 2017 by Berkeley graduates Toby Sun and Brad Bao, the startup has raised a total of $467 million to date from GV, Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, Section 32, GGV Capital and more. Reports indicate that Lime is on the fundraising circuit now, targeting a $3 billion valuation, or nearly 3x its latest valuation.

The company is expanding rapidly, most recently releasing a fleet of e-scooters and bikes in Australia, as well as making notable hires on what seems like a weekly basis. In the last month, Lime has tapped Joe Kraus, a general partner at Alphabet’s venture arm GV and an existing member of the startup’s board of directors, as its first chief operating officer. Before that, it brought on Uber’s former chief business officer David Richter as its first-ever chief business officer and interim chief financial officer.

In July, the company hired Peter Dempster from ReachNow to lead the LimePod initiative out of Seattle.

Netflix is testing cheaper mobile-only subscription tiers

Netflix is testing cheaper mobile-only subscription tiers

Excerpts from the article by Julia Alexander on The Verge

The number of people who use mobile devices as a primary option to stream Netflix is growing worldwide, which makes it no surprise that the company is reportedly testing a new payment plan specifically targeting mobile users.

A report from Malaysian newspaper The Star says that Netflix is exploring a mobile-only subscription plan that would cut the membership cost by approximately 50 percent. Phones and tablets account for 35 percent of global Netflix signups, according to a report from Recode earlier this year. The growth of mobile Netflix users, especially in countries where mobile usage outpaces time spent watching traditional TV or time on a computer, is constant.

Cameron Johnson, Netflix’s director of product innovation, said in July that 60 percent of members around the world now open Netflix’s mobile app at least once a month to watch a TV show or movie. Part of Netflix’s product plan includes creating better tools for mobile users who can now download TV shows for offline viewing. The company is leaning into customers who want to spend more time on their phones and tablets, and it’s seemingly introducing a cheaper tier specifically for those customers.

“A MOBILE-ONLY SUBSCRIPTION PLAN COULD CUT THE MEMBERSHIP COST BY APPROXIMATELY 50 PERCENT”

Right now, it appears Netflix is testing these new tiers in international markets. That makes sense considering mobile usage as a primary option for browsing and consuming entertainment is increasingly popular in Asian and East Asian countries. Mobile-first continents, like Asia and Africa, are seeing the biggest increase in consistent mobile users, according to a study from earlier this year. While mobile usage continues to expand and grow in the United States — 77 percent of Americans use smartphone devices, according to a Pew report from this year — it’s still not as big of a market.

Netflix also wants to expand its reach in international markets since that’s where the biggest concentration of growth is. Nearly 79 million of Netflix’s total of 137 million subscribers are international, according to a recent earnings report. Offering cheaper plans targeted at primary mobile users is a way to increase that growth.

The Verge has reached out to Netflix to see if there are plans to bring mobile-specific subscription tiers to the United States.

The CIO’s Role in the Supporting a New Revenue Recognition Standard

The CIO’s Role in the Supporting a New Revenue Recognition Standard

Excerpts from the article by Mark Davis and David Pierce on Information Week

On January 1, 2019, private companies with calendar-year annual reporting periods will need to comply with Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB) Accounting Standard Codification (ASC) 606: Revenue from Contracts with Customers (ASC 606 or the New Revenue Standard). The New Revenue Standard replaces the existing revenue recognition guidance (including industry-specific guidance) with a single revenue recognition model intended to reduce complexity and increase financial statement comparability across companies and industries.

While many view the adoption of ASC 606 to be primarily an accounting exercise, the adoption of the new standard has far-reaching impacts within an organization beyond just the accounting function. All functions within an entity, including the chief information officer, should be involved in order to successfully implement the standard.

Why should CIOs care? Because CIOs and their IT departments serve a critical, strategic role in the compliance process. Publicly traded companies with calendar-year ends became subject to the standard in January 2018. In many of those implementations, CIOs and their teams had to significantly retool how their companies collect and process financial data.

Private company CIOs are likely to face similar challenges. Many may need to design new IT systems and data management protocols or implement new financial systems to aggregate, analyze, and extrapolate financial data. This is not only to comply with the new standard, but also to address risk of possible financial impacts and friction with external relationships, such as with vendors, lenders, and investors.

To advance the process of implementation, CIOs may benefit from considering the following:

Five considerations

1. It’s not just about the tool. Some organizations may focus their early efforts on choosing a revenue recognition engine, an important consideration, but not the only one. Companies also need to establish a master data management framework for a broad range of data types. Clarity in product hierarchies and definitions will be important to establish standalone selling prices required by the standard. Data quality issues are ever-present, and incomplete or inaccurate data often results from insufficient controls on existing systems. Staffing the implementation team with IT personnel is also important.

2. Finance and IT aren’t the only players. The New Revenue Standard will impact other parts of the organization, from sales to legal to human resources. For example, sales compensation may need to change. CIOs have a unique opportunity to unite disparate parts of the organization, both to establish IT’s relationship with other teams involved in the implementation and to help those parties understand their own roles.

3. Data and analytics loom large. Two types of issues that can arise around data and analytics are first, integration and preparation of data for the revenue engine itself; the strict interface protocols of revenue recognition engines require that data be loaded in a specific format, and second, the significant reporting and reconciliation requirements under ASC 606. It’s imperative that upstream transactional data, such as from billing systems, makes it into and through the engine.

4. Other upstream system issues warrant attention. Ordering and billing systems may not adequately capture data for compliance with ASC 606. For example, some information required for revenue recognition might be in a quote while other information might be on the order. It’s critical that independent data sets be accurately linked.

5. Opportunities accompany the challenges. Sometimes organizations are not eager to spend money on compliance, but there are potential ways to ease the pain. Automation can streamline existing processes or generate data that can improve pricing, increase profitability, and create new value-added services.

Read the full article on Information Week

‘It’s a relationship’: Why Quartz is leaning on community for its first membership product

‘It’s a relationship’: Why Quartz is leaning on community for its first membership product

Excerpts from the article by Max Willens on DigiDay

Publishers looking for consumer revenue are realizing that unlimited access to content, or an ad-light experience, often isn’t good enough. That’s why Quartz is hoping to build a community around a new membership program that includes events, exclusive content and regular conference calls with Quartz staffers.

On Tuesday, the recently-acquired business news publisher announced the launch of a paid membership tier, which costs $14.99 per month or $99 per year; the price for the annual tier will increase to $150 per year in 2019. Separately, Quartz also launched a new, free app that adds a layer of community interaction to news, with Quartz staffers as well as a stable of business luminaries, including Sir Richard Branson, able to provide comments and commentary on stories shared within the app.

The membership is built around a mixture of content and community features including weekly, in-depth reports on hot-button business ideas called field guides, the ability for members to suggest questions for Q&As and regular conference calls between members and Quartz journalists. The publisher will also begin hosting exclusive member events starting in 2019.

Quartz’s membership joins an increasingly crowded field of consumer offerings being brought to market by digital publishers, ranging from exclusive products like The Information, which can cost up to $749 for an individual subscription to incremental add-ons from legacy digital players like Yahoo, which announced it would be launching a paid version of Yahoo Finance in 2019.

Most of the most expensive publisher offerings focus on skills. “The clearer it is that your membership solves a real problem for readers, the more you’re going to edge toward that higher price point,” said Rob Ristagno, the founder of Sterling Woods Group. “You’ve got to make them more skilled at their job, or you’ve got to make them more successful at something they’re enthusiastic about.”

The Quartz offering splits the difference, delivering in-depth looks at important business topics aimed at readers unfamiliar with them, while adding community dimension as well.

“We chose the word ‘membership’ deliberately,” said Zach Seward, Quartz’s chief product officer. “In addition to the content you get, it’s a relationship with Quartz.”

Quartz was already on the growing list of publishers trying to increase consumer revenue. It produced and sold a hard cover book at the end of 2017, and at the end of August, it launched Quartz Private Key, a newsletter about cryptocurrency and blockchain, which has amassed “hundreds” of subscribers and has surpassed the publisher’s early revenue targets.

Read the full article on DigiDay

Disney unveils the name of its Netflix competitor

Disney unveils the name of its Netflix competitor, plus new Marvel and Star Wars shows

Excerpts from the article by Matt Binder on Mashable

Disney’s Netflix competitor finally has a name.

The long-awaited Disney video-streaming service will be known simply as Disney+. Company CEO Bob Iger unveiled the name during a Thursday earnings call. Iger also announced that the service will launch in the U.S. in late 2019.

Disney has been planning its video-streaming service since at least 2017 when the company said it was going to end its multi-year contract with Netflix and pull all of its content off the service. The reason for doing so was simple. Disney wants to move all of its properties — including Disney classics, Pixar movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars films — to its very own streaming platform.

In a press release following the Disney+ announcement, the company also released more information about some of the new content planned for the service.

Diego Luna will reprise his Star Wars role as Cassian Andor in a spinoff series that takes place before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This will be the second Star Wars TV series on the Disney+ service following the announcement of Jon Favrou’s The Mandalorian series last month.

As for the Marvel, Disney confirmed a Loki series that was rumored last month. Tom Hiddleston will be returning to the MCU to play Loki on the Disney+ show. However, there’s no word yet on a Scarlet Witch series that was also previously discussed.

Other Disney properties mentioned in the press release that will receive new stories in the form of movies or TV shows include Disney Channel’s High School Musical and Pixar’s Monsters Inc.

We don’t yet know how much the Disney+ streaming service will cost, but you can now go to Disney+’s official website to sign up for future updates.