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Hi, I hope you’re having a great Thursday so far. For me, it’s the little things that get me excited, and today is Delta Air Lines’ announcement that SkyMiles frequent flyers, including yours truly, will get free Wi-Fi starting February 1st. Let’s get into the news. — Christine
TechCrunch Top 3
- Yet more layoffs: Yesterday was Salesforce; today it’s Amazon. Although these cuts have been predicted in recent months, the number of people being let go was today’s surprise. I imagine it’s not painful for the staff to know. Paul takes you inside the cutscenes.
- Hidden secrets hurt someone: Hidden secrets are not fun. Just ask CircleCI customers who have been prompted to change their passwords and private keys after breaching the company’s system. Carly reports.
- Take a bite of this apple: Looks like you all decided to read more in 2023. Among Apple’s much-clicked announcements today was the company’s new AI-powered book narration for select titles on Apple Books. Ivan reports. If fitness is more your goal this year, Apple Fitness+ adds new features like kickboxing workouts and sleep meditation. Aisha writes.
Startups and VCs
Continuing with what appears to be a trend of layoffs, Natasha M‘s story is crucial for getting perspectives from startups to see how ex-employees who were laid off handled things and how their next job might develop. He also asked, “Where do tech workers go from here?” asks the question. I won’t spoil it for you, but it seems to be going on for a while.
Now for four more:
- The next text could be from Fido: My dog has trouble telling me when to go outside, so I’m looking at FluentPet’s talk button system, which has programmable buttons that speak voice commands and send you a message when pressed. Sarah there are more.
- VR isn’t just for young people: Rendever, a big startup in the virtual reality space, acquires Alcove from AARP, ‘showing that VR has come of age’ Ingrid reports.
- Neighbors don’t shake hands; neighbors should hug!: Well, maybe not hugs, but if you live in an apartment complex and want to meet others who live nearby, you might want to check out my story on OneRoof raising some funds to help apartment residents feel comfortable with their neighbors.
- Here’s a metaverse optimist: Conversational AI startup MeetKai expands its offerings with new room scanning technology and a metaverse builder focused on capturing objects and spaces, Kyle writes.
Teach yourself growth marketing: how to build a landing page
In the first article in a five-part series on the basics of growth marketing, Jonathan Martinez explains how to create an essential part of every startup’s sales funnel: the landing page.
This overview covers key steps for writing clear headlines, offering social proof that builds trust with visitors, and crafting calls-to-action that drive results.
Next week, Martinez, who has helped scale startups like Uber, Postmates and Chime, will share his tips for launching a paid shopping channel.
Three more from the TC+ team:
TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can register here. Use code “DC” for 15% off annual subscription!
Big Tech Inc.
If you couldn’t tell from your Twitter feed, CES is happening. Brian Here’s how you can get all.the.juicy details for CES and the rest of the conference. Kyle has also helped you by rounding up a list of the best AI-powered products seen at the conference.
It was one of the stories that caught our attention today KyleRing’s story brings back the Peephole Cam. As it turns out, Ring was a bit premature by closing the product in 2021. Now it’s back in all its glory and can be yours starting at $129.
A few favorites from today’s CES stories:
Our team wrote 51 Big Tech stories today, so I’m giving you one extra story in addition to the usual five:
- Back in the saddle again: Who had Stitch Fix’s ex-CEO take back the reins on the 2023 BINGO card? no one? Connie is filling in some details on Lake Katrina, which is back for an interim job, this time adding to a CNBC report covering the period of layoffs of 20% of the company’s 1,700 employees.
- You should fight for your right to private communication: And WhatsApp has your back 100%. Aisha reports that the messaging giant has launched proxy support for users globally to ensure access even if their connection is blocked or disconnected.
- Art is in the eyes of humans powered by artificial intelligence: Kyle reports on Picsart’s SketchAI, an AI-powered app that turns drawings and outlines into digital art.
- And the crown of the stream goes…: Lauren He writes about Roku, which ends 2022 with a new milestone – more than 70 million active accounts. The broadcaster claims it is still No. 1 among TV streaming platforms in terms of hours broadcast in the US, Canada and Mexico.
- Another byte is cryptocurrency dust: Jacqueline reports that the New York Attorney General has sued Alex Mashinsky, the former CEO of Celsius, for defrauding cryptocurrency investors. The cryptocurrency debt filed for bankruptcy over the summer.
- Privacy ping: Whom Natasha L notes that Apple received a rare fine. France’s data protection watchdog has fined the consumer tech giant nearly $8.5 million for Apple’s “failure to obtain local mobile users’ consent before placing (and/or reading) advertising identifiers on their devices, in violation of local data protection law.”