Tag Archives: Tech Insider

Traders are loading up on bets against Netflix ahead of earnings (NFLX)

Netflix is set to report second-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Monday, and traders aren’t taking any chances with the red-hot stock.

Short interest — a measure of bets that share prices will drop — sits close to the highest level of the year ahead of the earnings announcement, according to data compiled by IHS Markit.

The increased shorting activity is a natural reaction to a stock that’s done as well as Netflix, which has surged 30% year-to-date. As part of the elite group known as FANG — along with Facebook, Amazon and Google — the company has been a crucial component of one of the year’s most popular trades.

Traders are also forking over big amounts to hedge against losses in Netflix. They’re paying a roughly 5% premium to protect against a 10% loss in the stock, relative to bets on a 10% gain, Bloomberg data show. That hedging cost is close to the highest of the year, and almost double the measure’s one-year average.

Based on recent history, it’s a savvy move to brace for fluctuations heading into earnings, since the streaming-video service has moved an average of 11% in the day following its last 12 reports, on an absolute basis.

Netflix gained 0.6% to $162.02 at 10:25 a.m. ET on Monday.

7 17 17 netflix short interest COTD

SEE ALSO: Overconfident traders wind up on the wrong side of a $30 billion bank bloodbath

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Microsoft Office 2010
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Peter Thiel's fund owned more shares than DeepMind's cofounders when the AI lab was sold to Google (GOOG)

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel’s investment company owned more shares in artificial intelligence (AI) lab DeepMind than all three of the startup’s cofounders when it was acquired by Google for around $600 million (£463 million).

Analysis of an annual return document on UK company register Companies House showed that Thiel’s “Founders Fund” owned 4,490,487 of DeepMind’s 16,406,358 overall shares at the time of the Google acquisition in January 2014. That equates to more than 25% of DeepMind’s shares.

DeepMind cofounder and CEO Demis Hassabis owned 3,435,605 shares, while DeepMind cofounders Mustafa Suleyman and Shane Legg owned 867,672 and 736,406 respectively.

Assuming DeepMind was acquired by Google for the reported $600 million (£463 million) sum, Thiel’s fund would have gotten around $164 million (£127 million) from its shares. It’s worth noting that DeepMind’s founders may have had other options in the company beyond shares.

DeepMind is one of the UK’s most successful startups in recent years and the company has made headlines for achieving a number of AI breakthroughs in recent years including mastering the Chinese board game Go. Its mission is to “solve intelligence and use that to solve everything else.”

Speaking at Google Campus in London last month, Hassabis said that Thiel was DeepMind’s first “major” investor. He explained how Thiel wanted DeepMind to move to Silicon Valley and how he managed to convince him to invest and let DeepMind remain in London.

DeepMind Demis Hassabis“At that time he’d never invested outside of the US, maybe not even outside of the West Coast,” said Hassabis. “He felt the power of Silicon Valley was sort of mythical, that you couldn’t create a successful big technology company anywhere else. Eventually we convinced him that there were good reasons to be in London.”

Other notable shareholders in DeepMind include Elon Musk, who cofounded PayPal with Thiel in 1998, and Geoffrey Hinton, an academic that divides his time between Google and the University of Toronto. Musk had 505,051 shares through the Elon Musk Revocable Trust and Hinton had 13,126.

Prior to the Google acquisition, DeepMind was also on the radar of Facebook, according to The Information. Both Google and Facebook wanted DeepMind to relocate to Silicon Valley.

DeepMind numbers

Under Google, DeepMind has grown rapidly from less than 100 people to over 500 people. That expansion hasn’t come cheap. In 2015, DeepMind made a loss of £54.3 million, according to the company’s audited financial statements for the year end December 31, 2015. Of that figure, some £44.3 million went on “payroll costs and related charges.”

A spokesperson for DeepMind said: “Founders Fund was represented on the DeepMind board by Luke Nosek and the founders always held a board majority.”

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Microsoft Office 2010
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A stunning new smog-eating 'vertical forest tower' will feature luxury apartments and 300 species of plants

stefano boeri vertical forestA smog-eating tower will soon go up in the Netherlands city of  Utrecht.

On the outside, 10,000 trees and shrubs — nearly half the amount found in New York’s Central Park — will fill the skyscraper’s facade, roof, and balconies. Inside, it will feature 200 luxury apartment units, restaurants, a fitness center, and offices.

Called the Utrecht Vertical Forest, the 300-foot-tall tower will host around 30 different plant species. The plants will absorb 5.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year — the equivalent of about one car, according to designers from Italian architecture firm Stefano Boeri Architetti. In addition, the company said the tower will produce about 41,400 tons of oxygen annually, roughly the same as what 2.5 acres of forest generates.

holland forest

The mixed-use building is being billed as the “new healthy center of Utrecht,” since the plan calls for healthy eateries, a gym with yoga studios, bike parking, and a small public park. The Vertical Forest Hub, a new research center on urban forestation, will also have offices on the ground floor.

holland forest 2

In June, Stefano Boeri Architetti announced that it will build a “forest city,” made up of towers covered in 40,000 trees and nearly one million plants, in Liuzhou, China by 2020. The skyscrapers’ designs be will similar to that of a two-tower complex that Boeri designed in Nanjing. Another tower in Lausanne, Switzerland will follow a similar plan and is expected to open by early 2018.

Like these projects, the Utrecht Vertical Forest aims to make its city a little more green (even if its effect on pollution is minimal).

The tower “attempts to create, in Utrecht’s city center, an innovative experience of cohabitation between city and nature,” the architects wrote.

Construction, which is expected to last three years, will begin in 2019. 

SEE ALSO: China is building a smog-eating ‘forest city’ filled with tree-covered skyscrapers

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NOW WATCH: We drove a brand-new Tesla Model X from San Francisco to New York — here’s what happened

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.Net Core 2.0 to extend coding optimizations to Linux

The next version of Microsoft’s open source, cross-platform version of the .Net software platform, .Net Core 2.0, will bring profile-guided optimization (PGO) to Linux x64. PGO is native compilation technology used by the C++ compiler to generate faster-running code. 

PGO features a two-step process, including a training run that records information about execution and a build step that uses the results of the training run to generate better optimized code, Microsoft’s Bertrand Le Roy and Daniel Podder explained in a blog post. The .Net Core 2.0 upgrade will add PGO optimizations to .Net Core on both the Windows x86 and Linux x64 platforms. PGO began working with Windows x64 in the .Net Core 1.1 release and it has been used in the Windows-based .Net Framework for years.

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Gigantic launches on Windows 10 and Xbox One


We at Motiga and Perfect World Entertainment couldn’t be more excited to get our unique hero-shooter into the hands of gamers across the globe. The development team has been working for years to create a visually stunning and strategic experience featuring massive Guardians, creatures to summon, and a diverse roster of heroes.

One of the best aspects of gaming is that it offers experiences for all types of gamers. With Gigantic, we’re proud to offer 19 heroes (with many more on the way) that each have their own playstyles, diverse skill sets, and varied skill trees to fine-tune your gameplay for each match. Even in the heat of battle, hero skills can be upgraded depending on the friendly or enemy team composition, the state of map control, or if you feel like making some wacky plays.

We know that choosing a hero can be difficult, especially when they have captivating aesthetics, but we put together a few tips over at Xbox Wire that will hopefully point you in the right direction. We can’t wait to see you on the airship!

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Dropbox CTO Aditya Agarwal is leaving

 Aditya Agarwal, who came to Dropbox via its acquisition of Cove way back in 2012 and was given the CTO role last year, will be leaving the company. Agarwal held the CTO role for about 9 months and was previously the VP of engineering. Agarwal is leaving the company as it begins to aggressively tout its success as a business. Read More

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We spotted Tesla's Model 3 in the wild a week before its official launch (TSLA)


Tesla’s new, mass-market priced sedan has been seen in the wild.

We spotted the blue Model 3 driving north in the east San Francisco Bay Area between San Jose and Fremont on Friday morning. The car exited Interstate 680 in South Fremont, taking the exit that leads to Tesla’s factory. 

Although the car had Tesla’s “T” badge on its back, it didn’t appear to have any other badges that indicated what model it was. But by the car’s size and design, it was clearly the Model 3. 

By the license plate number, it appears to be the same Model 3 Electrek spotted in April. That means the vehicle was more than likely what Tesla calls a “release candidate,” or a pre-production version of the finished car. 

Tesla has said that it would begin making deliveries of the car this month and would hand over cars to the first 30 customers on July 28. Earlier this month, Tesla rolled the first production Model 3 out of its factory.

Tesla has a lot riding on the Model 3. The company is hoping the vehicle, which will have a starting price of $35,000 will be the first electric car to appeal to a mass audience. In anticipation of the car’s launch, investors have bid up Tesla’s stock; it’s up more than 50% in the last year.

The early outlook for the car is good; Tesla has received some 400,000 pre-orders for it.IMG_7734

The Model 3 has a very smooth and restrained design, which is the handiwork of Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen. The sedan has a more subtle rear haunch than the Model S and a continuous glass roof that starts at the windshield and run through the rear spoiler. 

Tesla has said the car can drive 215 miles on a single charge.

But the company faces growing competition. Last year, GM released the Chevy Bolt, a similarly priced electric car that gets 238 miles on a single charge. Meanwhile, Volvo announced earlier this month that all of its cars will either be electrics or hybrids by 2019.IMG_3869

SEE ALSO: Tesla will start delivering the Model 3 in July — here’s everything you need to know about the car

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NOW WATCH: The inventor of Roomba has created a weed-slashing robot for your garden

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The first trailer for this season's 'The Walking Dead' dropped — and it looks amazing

AMC showed the first trailer for season 8 of “The Walking Dead” at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con. There’s a lot happening in the trailer, and it looks like Rick and everyone else will be taking the war to Negan and his gang.

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10 iconic products that brands brought back from the dead

crystal pepsi

This week, Pepsi announced that it was bringing back Crystal Pepsi, a popular drink from the 1990s, for one last time. But it’s hardly the first brand to bring back a product from the dead.

Appealing to nostalgia — that yearning for yesteryear — has emerged as a strategic and highly effective marketing technique in recent years, with marketers of all stripes rolling out comebacks for classic and retro products.

Here are some of the most welcome branded product comebacks in recent history:

1. Crystal Pepsi

Crystal Pepsi ruled the shelves in the U.S. in the early ‘90s, but by 1994, the proliferation of countless copycats, including Coca-Cola’s Tab Clear, had saturated the colorless soda category.

Pepsi officially renewed the short-lived soda last summer, inspired by “overwhelming fan demand.” The brand had also offered Crystal Pepsi through a sweepstakes it held in 2015, but the 2016 initiative represented a broader retail push, for a limited time.

This summer, the soda will be returning to shelves “for one final time,” according to Pepsi, becoming available widely on August 14.

2. Coca-Cola Surge

Coca-Cola originally introduced Surge in 1996, but took it off the market in 2003. After a successful year-long pilot program on Amazon, the company re-introduced the product — created in the 1990s to compete with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew – across select stores in 2015.

The comeback was in response to a huge fan movement online called the Surge Movement, which lobbied for the company to bring back their favorite drink. The brand eventually listened, using the relaunch as an opportunity to not just appeal to past consumers, but also recruit new fans through the soda’s engaged and passionate Facebook group community.

“Surge superfans have amazing stories to tell and have been so instrumental in bringing back Surge,” said Kimberly Paige, vice president, Sprite and Flavors, Coca-Cola North America. “But younger, variety-seeking consumers are also intrigued by this brand because to them it’s new and different.”

3. MillerCoors Zima

Zima was also a part of the “clear craze” of the 1990s, in the ranks of Crystal Pepsi and Tab Clear – except with an alcoholic kick. The clear malt liquor from MillerCoors hit the market in 1993, enjoyed a swift rise and then faded into eventual oblivion, being pulled off from shelves in 2008. It returned to stores this July 4 weekend for a limited time.

Zima’s return comes on the heels of a resurgence in the alcoholic soda category in recent years,  with brands including Mike’s Hard Lemonade and AB InBev’s Best Damn Cherry Cola leading the charge.

The comeback is an obvious nostalgia play for the brand, with the ad campaign touting its return full of ’90s references — everything from Jnco jeans to frosted tips.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The man behind 'Mario Kart' addresses the game's divisive blue shell: 'Sometimes life isn't fair'

Let’s just be upfront: The blue shell in “Mario Kart” is a frustrating, obnoxious item that we all wish would go away. It’s the number one cause of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in any given race.

Mario Kart 8 (Blue Shell)

There you are, ahead of the pack by a mile, when suddenly a blue shell comes flying out of nowhere. It crashes down on you, explodes, and drains your coins as kart after kart races past you. With the finish line in sight, you’re now in twelfth place. The dreaded blue shell strikes again, and all you’ve got is your frustration.

The man behind the most recent games in the series, “Mario Kart 7” and “Mario Kart 8” (as well as “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe”), understands your frustration. He’s just not going to take out the blue shell because you’re upset. 

“You know, sometimes life isn’t fair. Sometimes in life you have something where you feel that’s not right, and that’s frustrating,” Kosuke Yabuki told Eurogamer in a recent interview. He’s kidding, of course. (But also he’s clearly not and the blue shell isn’t fair.)

Mario Kart 8 (Blue Shell)

Jokes aside, there’s precedent for removing the shell: As “Mario Kart” games have evolved over the years, new items have been added while older ones were taken away. The blue shell was not part of the original “Mario Kart” on the Super Nintendo, for instance. Yabuki said that Nintendo continues to experiment with dropping the blue shell: 

“We have tried — or we are trying — to see what the game’s like without the blue shell. When we’ve experimented without the blue shell, actually it feels like something’s missing.”

Maybe fairness is what’s missing? Sorry, sorry, that’s unnecessary. Anyway, read the full conversation here at Eurogamer.

SEE ALSO: It looks like Nintendo’s making a miniature, inexpensive version of the original Nintendo 64 console

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