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Jeff Bezos Loses World’s Richest Man Title And Gains It Back

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On October 24th 2019, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos temporarily lost the title of being the world’s richest person.  This happened after Amazon announced its shares fell by 7 % in after hours trading. This resulted in Bezos, who owns a 12 % stake in the Company, losing almost $ 7 billion in a few hours.  However, Bezos managed to claim back the title within 24 hours of losing it. 

After the loss, Bezos was replaced by Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the richest person in the world.  Gates previously held the title for 24 years until 2018, when he was replaced by Bezos.

Even though Amazon’s shares fell further on Friday, the fall was not as steep as Thursday’s.  On Friday, Amazon’s share fell by 1 %. This put Bezos’ net worth at $ 109.9 billion and resulted in him surpassing Gates’ net worth.  Bill Gates is, once again, the world’s second richest person, behind Bezos by $ 4.1 billion.  Gates has a net worth of $ 105.8 billion.

Jeff Bezos, whose net worth heavily relies on Amazon’s performance, has been at the top of the world’s richest people list since 2018.  Jeff Bezos ended Bill Gates’ 24 year old run as the world’s richest man in 2018 with his net worth of $ 160 billion. However, Bezos lost a significant amount during his divorce proceedings with wife Mackenzie Bezos.  Jeff Bezos agreed to give Mackenzie Bezos a 4 % stake in Amazon, which is worth more than $ 37 billion. The divorcee also made Mackenzie Bezos the third richest woman in the world. 

However, it is speculated Jeff Bezos may lose the spot as the world’s richest person soon as Amazon is investing heavily in infrastructure supporting one day shipping, on which the Company reportedly spent almost $ 800 million.

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 ROLI – A Startup Pushing The Boundaries Of Making Music

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Music is a very important part of people’s lives.  Different individuals have different tastes and different genres which they like.  However, everyone will agree music, as an art, uplifts emotions as well as the quality of life.  Music is constantly evolving by adapting to technologies prevalent in the current times, with a variety of new musical instruments like the hang drum, cajon and electric guitars, to name a few, coming out.

There is a startup reinventing and redefining the boundaries of what a piano can do—ROLI.  This startup combines the science of computers and music to come up with products which integrate technology and sound.

Beginnings

ROLI was founded in 2009 by pianist Roland Lamb while he was a graduate student at London’s famous Royal College of Art.  He was heavily influenced by saxophonists and guitarists as they modulate the sound any way they want by increasing or decreasing the pitch and tonality of a sound.  Roland Lamb decided the piano could not replicate the range of sounds a guitar could and started working on his first product called the ROLI Seaboard.

The Seaboard is a digital instrument.  Its design is based on the piano and is made up of an intuitive silicone structure.  It is meant to be played like a normal keyboard or piano, but with the addition of gestures meant to modulate the sound output.  Sliding a finger between the keys of the Seaboard changes the pitch, similar to a stringed instrument like an electric guitar.  Volume and vibrato notes can be modulated by using a controller which is integrated into the Seaboard. Utilities like these are what sets it apart from the traditional piano and similar instruments.  

Growth

Since the release of the first Seaboard in 2013, ROLI has launched Blocks and an app named Noise.  While the Seaboard is modelled based on the piano, launching it was a hassle as there was no other product out in the market which was similar to the Seaboard.  So, ROLI went ahead and created a community of their product users. This was the reason why it was modelled around the piano as it offered a familiarity for users to draw upon their past experiences of using the instrument.  ROLI relied on well known musicians to use their products to help with their growth. Artists and acclaimed music composers like Hans Zimmer, A.R. Rahman, Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder use ROLI products.

Musician Pharrell Williams invested in the startup and took up an executive position as the Chief Creative Officer at ROLI.

ROLI gained popularity over the years as more and more artists adopted its usage in creating music.  This unique startup, which has both music composers and software engineers working and collaborating side by side, aims to push the boundaries of creating music as far as it can.

Watch the Game of Thrones theme being performed on a Seaboard:

Read about how Gotham Greens is redefining farming: Gotham Greens; A Startup Using Urban Farming To Supply Fresh Produce

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5 Corporations With Bug Bounty Programs

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Corporations, both large and small, are now increasingly sinking resources into perfecting their online and offline security for their data.  In this age, where data is the new gold, organisations are taking care not to let the data be leaked because a breach of data will signal their inability to protect themselves from security threats.

A bug is an error, flaw or fault in a computer program or system which causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways.  Bugs lead to a huge loss in infrastructure, finances and reputation. For example, a Mars climate orbiter, which was launched in 1998, crashed onto the martian surface due to a bug.  A sub contractor, who designed the navigation system, used the Imperial units of measurement instead of the metric system which was specified by NASA, leading to the orbiter crashing.  The famous Y2K bug led the entire world to believe entire systems would come crashing down because of the belief the time on the computers will reset to the year 1900 instead of 2000 after the year 1999.

There are many bugs like these, some harmless, some which cause considerable harm.  Bugs like these can be exploited by anyone with a malicious intent and corporations are trying to counter it by offering bounties for bugs which are reported.  A bug bounty program is a deal offered by many websites, organizations and software developers by which individuals can receive recognition and compensation for reporting bugs, especially those pertaining to exploits and vulnerabilities.

Let us have a look at five famous companies with bug bounty programs.

1. Google

It is no surprise Google is on the list because of the amount of user data and confidential information to which it has access, considering most of the world uses Google’s products or services in some way or the other.  Google currently offers six reward programs which are:

Google Vulnerability Reward Program (VRP)

Patch Reward Program

Vulnerability Research Grants

Chrome Reward Program

Android Reward Program

Google Play Security Reward Program

Google offers rewards ranging from $ 500 to one million dollars, depending on the severity of the bug.

2. Facebook

The social networking platform, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, has access to large amounts of private information of its users.  The recent Facebook security breach saw founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg sit in front of an American congressional panel to address the concerns of the Government and the public.  A Brazilian engineer was paid a bounty of $ 33,500 for reporting a bug which showcased vulnerabilities that would allow anyone to read arbitrary files on a web server.

3. Microsoft

One of the world’s largest corporations, Microsoft has a bug bounty program called the Researcher Recognition Program.  It allows white hat hackers (ethical hackers) to report bugs on all of Microsoft’s services and products. Microsoft offers up to $ 300,000 dollars, depending on the type and nature of the bug.

4. Apple

In a bid to compete with Google Maps, Apple released its own version of Maps, called Apple Maps.  The utility this application provided was, however, nowhere close to that provided by Google Maps.  There was a bug which left motorists stranded in the middle of nowhere in Australia. The motorists, who were supposed to go to the town of Mildura, were instead led to a location which was 45 miles away from the location of the town and was instead a place in a remote national park.  Since then, Apple got on to the bug bounty program, which lets white hat hackers and its users report bugs in return for rewards. At a recent Black Hat Briefings conference, Apple announced it would increase its rewards to one million dollars. Apple offers its rewards through its Apple Security Bounty program available on its website.

5. PayPal

PayPal offers rewards through its program called the PayPal Bug Bounty Program, which allows users or hackers to report bugs on their domains like PayPal, Braintree, Paydiant, Venmo and Xoom.  Paypal currently offers bounties ranging from $ 50 to $ 30,000.

There are many other companies and corporations as well whichwho have a bug bounty program in some form or the other in order to protect their security interests.  These programsThis program also attractattracts hackers to test their skillsskill in order to gain recognition from their peers. Even the American Pentagon has a bug bounty program, whichand that goes on to show the importance of security of data in this day and age.

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The Story Of Live Video Streaming Startup Twitch

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The advent of esports, online gaming and the plethora of games available to choose from spawned multiple ecosystems and industries.  Computer gaming, especially, gave rise to million dollar industries in the form of merchandising, esport championships and live streaming.  Players are now able to broadcast their gameplay and monetize their live stream while doing it and this is where Twitch enters. Twitch is a platform where users can showcase themselves on a live stream and earn money in the process.

Beginnings

Twitch was founded by Justin Kan and Emmett Shears, two childhood friends.  Before Twitch began, Kan and Shears worked on a web calendar app called Kiko, but the app did not really find the traction for which they were hoping.  The founders decided to sell the app on eBay and it sold for a surprising $ 258,000. Using that for an investment, they decided to start a live streaming startup called Justin.tv, which streamed the life of Justin 24×7.  The idea attracted more users to their site, who eventually complained the site could offer alternate streams as well. That is when the founders pivoted on to the idea of letting users broadcast games. As the streams in the gaming section attracted more users than all of the different streams combined, the founders decided to start TwitchTV, which streamed gaming content exclusively in 2011.

Growth & acquisition

As more and more streamers started getting on the platform, by 2013, there were over 43 million viewers on the site every month.  Owing to the large traffic, streams began to experience lag and low frame rates, leading TwitchTV to increase their servers and come up with a solution to streamline the content.  It became clear to the owners that TwitchTV was becoming a major source of revenue, prompting them to take note of its importance by renaming parent company Justin.tv to Twitch Interactive.

As the number of users began growing, Google took note of the startup and hoped to acquire TwitchTV for a billion dollars through YouTube, its subsidiary.  However, the deal did not fall through due to antitrust concerns, which meant Google could court trouble if it monopolized video streaming. Once Google backed out, Amazon acquired Twitch for $ 970 million.

After the acquisition, Twitch started offering Twitch Prime, which was a part of Amazon Prime and offered ad free streaming and discounted games.  However, this was discontinued, with users now having to opt for a separate subscription named Twitch Turbo to get the perks which were earlier availed under Twitch Prime.

Twitch is now a leading live streaming platform, with games like Overwatch, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, League of Legends, DOTA2, Hearthstone and Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) attracting the most users and viewers.  The platform now has 15 million unique daily visitors.

With the internet industry seeing a shift towards more content oriented needs, this startup made sure it is on the top of its game by putting its community first and tailoring experiences which revolve around its stakeholders.

Read about how Rovio Entertainment, the makers of Angry Bird: Story of Rovio Entertainment, Makers of Angry Birds Franchise

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