SpaceX and Blue Origin are in the race to make the best use of rockets which are a part of NASA’s suborbital reusable launch of vehicle flight contract. Yes, you heard it right! Not so long ago the idea of a man going to the moon or outer space was considered a fantasy! With the latest happenings and technology enhancements, people could now think of travelling and catching up flights to visit Mars and explore the outer space. One of the greatest news for the space travellers enthusiasts flourished, this week. Blue Origin, the reusable rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos announced that it will begin selling tickets for suborbital commercial space flights next year. According to reports, Blue Origin began to test its space vehicle successfully eight times, with the latest being on April 29, 2018. With Elon Musk revolutionizing the transport system on earth and space as well, this tech billionaire is also geared up! Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. Elon Musk led SpaceX is hitting all the headlines on future space travel, while, Jeff Bezos owned Blue Origin is catching up fast. At the AWS public sector summit, the Senior Vice President of Blue Origin, Rob Meyerson said Setting up colonies on the Moon and other planets are our primary target and we will need large payloads for surface landing. We are building the appropriate technology for that. However, Elon Musk led SpaceX has postponed its plans to send space tourists this year to circle the Moon due to technical and production challenges. SpaceX plans to start building mining, power and life support infrastructure to prepare for the first settlers that could arrive as soon as 2024. A Blue Origin Executive said the suborbital space tours will make a good market for us and our customers are very excited. Once we become the most-skilled reusable rocket company in the low-orbit, we can plan to go further, deeper into space.
There are speculations that the prices would be lower than the prices of Elon Musk SpaceX’s for carrying people to the moon in 2022. The cost of the SpaceX flight is around $ 35 million. Two people have apparently booked it, Musk didn’t say much about the two unidentified passengers. SpaceX is planning to make an uncrewed flight of its Dragon spacecraft to the space station this year and its first crewed flights are expected to happen in mid 2018. However, there are no further updates on this!
Currently, Blue Origin’s focus is on its New Shepard which is a fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle, consisting of a pressurised capsule atop a booster that can be reused for at least 25 times. The vehicle is named after the first American who went in space, Alan Shepard. It can carry six astronauts to spend approximately three minutes in a high quality, microgravity environment at an apogee of over 100 km. April 30 marked the company’s first test flight of the New Shepard in 2018 and second flight of the New Shepard 2.0 spacecraft. Meyerson said Right now, we are living in a world where we need to throw away rockets within a year to ocean floors and millions of dollars go down the drain. With ‘New Shepard’, we can reuse the vehicle multiple times to significantly lower the travel cost.
Speaking about the remarkable developments, Meyerson added space travel is a marathon, not a sprint. We are on the right track to write another chapter in the history of space travel.
However, Blue Origin isn’t the first company to go live with the tickets. Earlier, Virgin Galactic, a space flight company has booked hundreds of reservations for tickets at $ 250,000 each, while flight dates are yet to be confirmed! The story is different with Blue Origin, the company announced a policy of not taking reservations until its New Shepherd suborbital vehicle is ready for flights.
So, when are you grabbing your seat to the journey to space? Will it be SpaceX or will it be Blue Origin? Share your views in the comments section below!
Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?
Clubhouse is a new type of social networking platform which is an audio only platform. This means every conversation takes place through audio where users speak to let their thoughts known. Users can create and host rooms where speakers will talk about a particular topic. Originating in the Silicon Valley, Clubhouse attracted some major names onto its platform like Elon Musk, Evan Williams, Reddit co founder Alexis Ohanian, former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, AngelList co founder Naval Ravikant, Ashton Kuthcer, Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Kevin Hart and many others are some of the influential personalities who are on Clubhouse. There is however a catch as Clubhouse is currently limited to iOS.
Leher is an Indian made alternative to Clubhouse and is a similar audio sharing and listening startup. Leher also has video support unlike Clubhouse and is also available for both Android and iOS. However, Leher does not have the biggest names in the world on its platform but it does have significant micro influencers and is growing at a rapid pace. Within 180 days of its beta version launch, the company claimed to have its users spend about 44 minutes every day and 250,000 minutes per month for live video sessions.
We at Startup Stories are curious to see which among Leher or Clubhouse would our readers choose to take part in a virtual discussion. Please let us know your answer in the poll below.
Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?
If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something. There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you. Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes. The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.
These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing. Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more. Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost. Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.
Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements. Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up. If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”
Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition. This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing. Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing. Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”
There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms. Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.
Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present. Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics. We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)” Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort. The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions. Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools. Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.
With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset. The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.
Facebook Launches BARS For Creating Raps To Counter TikTok’s Growing Popularity
Facebook is leaving no stone unturned to tackle the surging popularity of the Chinese video making app TikTok. As part of its redoubled efforts Facebook is launching a new app named BARS which could be used to create and share raps. The core idea behind the app is rappers could focus on creating content without having to worry about investing heavily in production and equipment.
Facebook said, “Audio production tools can be complicated, expensive and difficult to use. With BARS, you can select one of our professionally-created beats, write lyrics and record yourself dropping bars (sic.)” The company also added, “BARS auto-suggests rhymes as you’re writing to keep your flow going. You can also jump into Challenge mode and freestyle with auto-suggested word cues. Choose from a variety of audio and visual filters to take your creations to the next level (sic.)”
The app is now available in the Apple App Store in the United States of America. The invites for using BARS would be sent out in batches beginning in the USA and then expanded worldwide.
This would be the second app which Facebook is launching to counter TikTok’s growing popularity. Instagram Reels was the latest offering from the photo sharing platform Instagram (owned by Facebook) and was launched as a replacement for the video sharing application TikTok. TikTok was enjoying an unrivalled popularity in India as it became a means to keep boredom at bay during the nationwide lockdown which was imposed in light of the COVID-19 virus. However, the Indian government announced that it would ban 59 Chinese applications in which TikTok was one, along with WeChat, Helo, Cam Scanner and many others. This left a sudden void in video making applications, and Instagram realised the need for urgency to capitalize on this void. Therefore, Instagram immediately pushed their latest feature Instagram Reels which lets its users create 15 second videos with music from Instagram’s database. These videos look very similar to the ones made on TikTok and has gained a lot of popularity in India where Tik Tok continues to be banned.
ALSO READ: 4 Things To Know About Instagram Reels
Google also took advantage of the Indian Government’s ban of the viral application TikTok. Google introduced a new feature on YouTube called YouTube Shorts. The feature for all intents and purposes mimics the same features TikTok used to provide. The new feature mimics many of TikTok’s most popular features, allowing users to make and post 15 second videos with built in creative tools encouraging them to add licensed music and more.
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