Dirtyfling.com : #Domain was lost via the UDRP process after creative trademark lawyering

 DomainGang.com: The domain Dirtyfling.com appears to be two generic words, “dirty” and “fling,” but a company called Brentwood Holding Group Inc asserted it infringes on its marks: Complainant claims rights in the FLINGSTER and DIRTYROULETTE trademarks through its ownership of the United States registered trademarks described…
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Getting a equity raise before a round vs after a round

Hey /startups community,

I had a question around equity (from an employee perspective) what are the pros and cons to getting equity before and fundraising round vs getting equity after a fundraising round.

I can see arguments to both sides but I’m curious what you all think and am excited to read your insights.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

CSC removes reference to “retiring” new gTLD domain after retiring new gTLD domain

 DomainIncite.com: The corporate registrar and new gTLD management consultant CSC Global has ditched a new gTLD domain in favor of a .com, but edited its announcement after the poor optics became clear. In a brief blog post this week, the company wrote: We’re retiring cscdigitalbrand.services to give you a more user-friendly interface at cscdbs.c…
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4 Ways The Future Of Work Will Change After COVID-19

#4. Communication habits will continue to trend in the direction of fast and immediate conversation.

To say the coronavirus has had an impact on the way the world “works” would be an understatement.

In a matter of weeks, we’ve gone from a society that sees remote work as a luxury, or even a “freelancer lifestyle,” to realizing the vast majority of jobs today can be done from home. Companies that hadn’t moved the majority of their assets to the cloud are now doing so at a rampant rate. Video calls have gone from being a sub-optimal alternative to a core function of the way we communicate. The list goes on and on — and the impact is here to stay.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve noticed several shifts in our company, Skylum, as more than 100 of us around the world have adjusted to the new rules of society.

Many have never worked from home before, which comes with a unique learning curve. Many have never had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other employees who work out of offices on different continents — which is now easier since everyone is “remote.” Many have also never viewed their job descriptions through the lens of being quarantined, where tasks left unfinished become more obvious to the rest of the group (in an office setting it’s easier to appear “busy”).

There have been both pros and cons in adjusting to the way the coronavirus is impacting our world. But one thing is for certain: the future of work will never be the same.

Here are four ways professional work is set to change moving forward.

1. When we go back to the office, we will now understand how things can work when people are purely focused on productivity and communication.

It’s very hard for people to shift from regular working hours and working within an office environment, to working at home.

The way you communicate with colleagues is different. The way you organize your day is different. Quite often, people tend to know everything that’s happening within their team, and a little bit of what’s happening in cross-functional teams just by being in the same physical environment. But when you work remotely, you’re isolated from that information.

Team alignment is going to become an even more pressing focus for companies moving forward. In an office setting, this happens passively. You’re aligned (or at least, you think you are) simply because you’re all “together.” But as soon as you add the remote element into the mix, you realize how much more intentional you need to be in order to keep everyone up to speed.

Tools, best practices, and team habits that nurture team alignment are going to be front and center in the years to come.

2. Companies will work hard to become more efficient using software tools that cater to both remote and in-office employees.

Working in an office will no longer be a requirement.

Of course, people like myself may prefer working in a physical office. Companies will still incentivize employees to do so, and certain employees will still prefer a physical office to working from home. But all in all, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us that remote work isn’t only possible, but actually tremendously beneficial in some cases. Having more of your workforce remote means less overhead and office space. Remote means more flexibility for team members all across the organization. Remote means creating an even playing field for employees in different locations, and even countries. Most of all, remote means evaluating productivity more objectively — you either completed the task, or you didn’t. There are no bonus points for “looking busy.”

Tools that can assist companies in seamlessly integrating in-office teams with remote teams are going to become red hot in the near future. Many already are. Overnight, tools like Zoom and Slack seemed closer to social networks than enterprise communication tools.

3. Companies will seek to provide new, emotionally-supportive benefits to employees.

Feeling isolated is one of the biggest challenges of working remotely.

In the past, this issue wasn’t really addressed for companies that allowed employees to work remotely, either part of the time or all the time. Most likely, it’s because not enough people (decision-makers, especially) had ever experienced being on the other side of the fence, feeling that same isolation themselves and wanting to solve for it.

Now that we’ve all experienced working from home, and we’ve all felt feelings of isolation, distance, a reliance on video calls for social interaction, etc., more and more decision-makers now seem in favor of solving this problem. This is going to spark companies to come up with unique, innovative ways of engaging their distributed workforce, ensuring that no employee feels detached from the rest of the team.

4. Communication habits will continue to trend in the direction of fast and immediate conversation.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen our entire company use email less often as a medium for communication.

The reason being, email takes a ton of time. When someone sees an email, they tend to think of it as a To-Do and wait to get to it until later — whereas a Slack message, or an invite to a video call, prompts much faster, more efficient conversation.

This is a trend that has been increasing for a while now, but with millions of workers trying to do their jobs from home, we are going to see adoption for faster, more efficient tools at a record pace. For context, it took Slack almost 5 years (2015 to 2020) to go from 1 million to 10 million users. And in a matter of weeks in March 2020, Slack added 2.5 million users — and is still growing rapidly.

The world is undoubtedly changing before our very eyes. And these are just a few examples of how the future of work will never be the same again.


4 Ways The Future Of Work Will Change After COVID-19 was originally published in Entrepreneur's Handbook on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

Startup domain expires after $30 Million FUndraise

 DomainMagazine.com: Plum District was a hyper-local daily deals site created ‘by Moms, for Moms’. It was founded in 2009 by Megan Gardner with an aim of making every mom a ‘momtrepreneur’. It raised a whopping $ 30 million in funding, with about $ 10 million in its Series A funding, and the remaining $ 20 million in December 2011. […]
Domaining.com

After Making Millions for Others Veteran Domain Broker Arif Sengoren Opens His Own Shop

 DNJournal: The secret is out! After a decade brokering for Nokta, then Uniregistry, Arif Sengoren has gone out on his own with the launch of SecretBrokerage.com.
Domaining.com

How to navigate the process of finding a tech co founder after the initial zoom call?

So I am looking for a tech co founder to go 50/50 on a tech beauty startup. I have asked people in my network and have a couple of referrals, and also I've been approaching people on CoFounders Lab.

Other than the obvious list of skills I'm looking for, I'd really like someone to be psyched about the problem we'd be solving too. So far, I've had one call with a referral who is a contractor but was interested in the opportunity to co-found something. Obviously as its COVID, I can't really be meeting people, I can only zoom call them.

I'd say my first question is – would you ever consider co founding something with someone you've only zoom called? Obviously its not ideal but otherwise I can't really move forward with an MVP. I watched a YT vid with Michael Siebel who says that as long as you ditch the co founder within the first year (if the partnership isn't working out) you have not lost a lot.

Secondly, I had my first call with a referral yesterday. When I asked if he was originally looking to co found something he said he was interested, yeah. It seemed a bit lacklustre. I myself have been wanting to co found something for a super long time because I love the startup world and the problem I'm solving, I'm sure I could express it enthusiastically. Is it correct for me to assume it should be the same for him?

After the Zoom call, we decided to speak again in 7 days and he can think about some possible ideas/solutions. I guess I'm wondering – can anyone list out the next steps following the initial zoom call. Including at what point we should exchange some kind of contract? He seemed ready to accept the opportunity but it all seemed a bit lacklustre. I'm pretty confident in the research I've done for the product, but this part of the process I'm finding tough to navigate.

Thanks!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Ameelio wants to take on for-profit, prison-calling rackets after starting with free letters to inmates

Among the many problems with the prison system are enormous fees for things like video calls, which a handful of companies provide at grossly inflated rates. Ameelio hopes to step in and provide free communication options to inmates; its first product, sending paper letters, is being welcomed with open arms by those with incarcerated loved ones.

Born from the minds of Yale Law students, Ameelio is their attempt to make a difference in the short term while pushing for reform in the long term, said co-founder and CEO Uzoma Orchingwa.

“I was studying mass incarceration, and the policy solutions I was writing about were going to take a long time to happen,” Orchingwa said. “It’s going to be a long battle before we can make even little inroads. So I was thinking, what can I do in the interim while I work on the longer-term project of prison reform?”

He saw reports that inmates with regular communication with loved ones have better outcomes when released, but also that in many prisons, that communication was increasingly expensive and restricted. Some prisons have banned in-person meetings altogether — not surprising during a pandemic — leaving video calling at extortionate rates the only option for speaking face to face with a loved one.

Sometimes costing a dollar a minute, these fees add up quickly and, naturally, this impacts already vulnerable populations the most. Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, for whom this was an issue of particular interest during her term, called the prison communication system “the clearest, most glaring type of market failure I’ve ever seen as a regulator.”

It’s worth noting that these private, expensive calling services weren’t always the norm, but were born fairly recently as the private prison industry has expanded and multiplied the ways it makes money off inmates. Some states ban the practice, but others have established relationships with the companies that provide these services — and a healthy kickback to the state and prison, of course.

This billion-dollar industry is dominated by two companies: Securus and Global Tel Link. The service they provide is fairly rudimentary compared with those we on the outside take for granted. Video and audio calls are scheduled, recorded, skimmed for keywords and kept available to authorities for a few months in case they’re needed.

At a time when video calls are being provided for free to billions around the world who have also been temporarily restricted from meeting in person, charging at all for it seems wrong — and charging a dollar a minute seems monstrous.

Ameelio’s crew of do-gooder law students and developers doesn’t think they can budge the private prison system overnight, so they’re starting with a different product, but one that also presents difficulties to families trying to communicate with inmates: letters.

Written mail is a common way to keep in contact with someone in prison, but there are a few obstacles that may prevent the less savvy from doing so. Ameelio facilitates this by providing an up-to-date list of correct addresses and conventions for writing to any of the thousands of criminal justice facilities around the country, as well as the correct way to look up and identify the inmate you’re trying to contact — rarely as simple as just putting their name at the top.

“The way prison addresses work, the inmate address is different from the physical address. So we scraped addresses and built a database for that, and built a way to find the different idiosyncrasies, like how many lines are necessary, what to put on each line, etc.,” said co-founder Gabe Saruhashi.

Once that’s sorted, you write your letter, attach a photo if you want, and it’s printed and sent (via direct-mail-as-a-service startup Lob). It’s easy to see how removing the friction and cost of printing, addressing and so on would lead to more frequent communication.

Since starting a couple months ago and spreading word of the service on Facebook groups and other informal means, they’ve already sent more than 4,000 letters. But while it’s nice for people to be able to send letters, Ameelio plans to cater to larger organizations that use mail at larger scales.

“The communications challenges that families have are the same challenges that criminal justice organizations and lawyers have when communicating with their clients,” explained Orchingwa. They have to manage the addresses, letter-writing and sending, and a network of people to check on recipients and other follow-up actions. “We’re talking to them, and a lot were very interested in the service we’re offering, so we’re going to roll out a version for organizations. We’re creating a business model in which these organizations, and some of them are well funded, can pay us back but also pay it forward and help keep it free for others.”

How an organization might use and track letter-writing campaigns

Sending letters is just the opening play for Ameelio, though, but it’s also a way to make the contacts they need and research the market. Outcry against the private calling systems has been constant, but the heterogeneous nature of prisons run under state policies means “we don’t have one system, we have 51 separate systems,” as Orchingwa put it. That and the fact that it makes a fair amount of money.

“There’s a lot of movement around getting Securus and Global Tel out,” he said. “But it would shift from families to the state paying, so they need to make back the money they were making from kickbacks.”

Some states have banned paid calls or never allowed them, but others are only changing their policies now in response to external pressure. It’s with these that Ameelio hopes to succeed first.

“We can start in states where there’s no strong relationship to these companies,” said Orchingwa. “You’re going to have state and county officials being asked by their constituents, ‘why are we using them when there’s a free alternative?’ ”

You may wonder whether it’s possible for a fresh young startup to build a video calling platform ready for deployment in such a short time. The team was quick to explain that the actual video call part of the product is something that, like sending letters, can be accomplished through a third party.

“The barrier right now is not at all the video infrastructure — enterprise and APIs will provide that. We already have an MVP of how that will look,” said Saruhashi. Even the hardware is pretty standard — just regular Android tablets stuck to the wall.

“The hard part is the dashboard for the [Department of Corrections],” Saruhashi continued. “They need a way to manage connections that are coming in, schedule conversations, get logs and review them when they’re done.”

But they’re also well into the development of that part, which ultimately is also only a medium-grade engineering challenge, already solved in many other contexts.

Currently the team is evaluating participation in a number of accelerators, and is already part of Mozilla’s Spring MVP Lab, the precursor to a larger incubator effort announced earlier today. “We love them,” said Mozilla’s Bart Decrem.

Right now the company is definitely early stage, with more plans than accomplishments, and they’re well aware that this is just the start — just as establishing better communications options is just the start for more comprehensive reform of the prison and justice system.

Startups – TechCrunch

Startup validation before or after the MVP

I am currently working on an MVP for a rather big project that I have in mind. I am trying to trim it down as much as I can, but it still is rather big, and I need a couple more months to finish it. It is something extremely useful in my opinion, but I don't know how to validate my idea.

The problem is that it's not a niche at all, and it is not a Saas. Let's say a social media. And a general one. Not Facebook or something like that, you don't have friends or connections, but similar in terms of size(size when it appeared, not now) and functionality (profile, posts, comments etc.). There is a twist in it, that makes the idea unique, and this twist is what I should validate.

This being said, I don't know how to validate it. If it was a saas, I could just ask a couple of business owners in that niche what they think about it, and the validation is done. But for this one, the only two approaches I can think of are:

– make a survey and ask people to answer it

– make a landing page and ask people what they think about it

I kinda hate any of these approaches because I am very scared someone might just take my idea, build it in 2 weeks and take my place. I know, I know, it's stupid to think like this, but I have an unusual confidence in this and I don't want to take this risk. Having an MVP would give me a third option: present the product.

So, my question is: Am I stupid for not validating it immediately and risk that someone might steal it, or continue my work, finish the mvp, and risk that nobody wants it (loose time and possibly money) ?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

ElectricCar.com sale : Opportunity knocked after electric car distributor let it go

 DomainGang.com: The domain name ElectricCar.com was sold by Sedo‘s brokerage service for $ 180,000 dollars, according to an announcement by Dave Evanson, chief domain broker. The sale is quite sizable, and the two word .com domain was sold by domain investor Dhara Patel, who operates QualityNames.com as his portfolio lander. Patel did not discl…
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