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Salesforce today announced that Keith Block, the company’s co-CEO, is stepping down. This leaves company founder Marc Benioff as the sole CEO and Chair of the CRM juggernaut. Block’s bio has already been wiped from Salesforce’s leadership page.

Block stepped into the co-CEO role in 2018, after a long career at the company that saw him become vice chairman, president and director before he took this position. Block spent the early years of his career at Oracle . He left there in 2012 after the release of a number of documents in which he criticized then-Oracle CEO Mark Hurd, who passed away last year.

Industry pundits saw his elevation to co-CEO role as a sign that Block was next in line as the company’s sole CEO in the future (assuming Benioff would ever step down). After this short tenure as co-CEO, it doesn’t look like that will be the case, but for the time being, Block will stay on as an advisor to Benioff.

“It’s been my greatest honor to lead the team with Marc [Benioff] that has more than quadrupled Salesforce from $ 4 billion of revenue when I joined in 2013 to over $ 17 billion last year,” said Block in a canned statement that was surely not written by the Salesforce PR team. “We are now a global enterprise company, focused on industries, and have an ecosystem that is the envy of the industry, and I’m so grateful to our employees, customers, and partners. After a fantastic run I am ready for my next chapter and will stay close to the company as an advisor. Being side-by-side with Marc has been amazing and I’m forever grateful for our friendship and proud of the trajectory the company is on.”

In related news, the company also today announced that it has named former BT Group CEO Gavin Patterson as its President and CEO of Salesforce International.


TechCrunch

Tyler Haney, the founder and chief executive of activewear label Outdoor Voices, has stepped down, according to the Business of Fashion.

We’ve reached out to Haney directly, as well as board members from the venture firms that have backed the company, including General Catalyst and Forerunner Ventures, and we hope to update this story accordingly.

According to BoF, the transition follows a previously unreported capital injection from Outdoor Voices’ investors at a lower valuation than previous rounds. It says the company tried raising new funding late last year but “had difficulty.”

It cites mismanagement as one overriding reason that Nike and Under Armour veteran Pamela Catlett joined the company a year ago as president but left months later.

Retail legend Mickey Drexler, formerly of J.Crew fame — who was named chairman of Outdoor Voices’ board in the summer of 2017 as part of a $ 9 million convertible debt round led by Drexler’s family office — also resigned his position last year, though he maintained a director’s seat.

According to BoF, operational challenges aside, Outdoor Voices has had trouble replicating the kind of excitement that met its earliest offerings, including flattering, color-blocked athleisure wear, like leggings, sports bras, tees and tanks.

The company has since rolled out an exercise dress that has gained traction with some consumers, but newer offerings meant to extend the brand’s reach, including solidly colored hoodies and terrycloth jogging pants that are less distinguishable from other offerings in the market, have apparently failed to boost sales.

Indeed, according to the BoF report, the brand was losing up to $ 2 million per month last year on annual sales of around $ 40 million.

The BoF story doesn’t mention the company’s brick-and-mortar locations and how they factor into the company’s narrative, but certainly, they’ve become a major cost center. Outdoor Voices now has 11 locations around the U.S., including in Austin, L.A., Soho in New York, Boston, Nashville, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Even with (at least) $ 64 million in funding that Outdoor Voices has raised from investors over the years, it’s also going head-to-head with very powerful, very entrenched, and endurably popular brands, including Nike and Adidas. While Outdoor Voices is still in the fight, the shoe and apparel giants have vanguished plenty of upstarts over the years.

What happens next to Haney — a former track athlete from Boulder who first launched the business with a Parsons School of Design classmate  — isn’t yet clear, but she isn’t going far, reportedly. BoF says she still owns 10 percent of Outdoor Voices and will remain engaged with the company in some capacity.

Featured above, left to right, Emily Weiss of Glossier and Tyler Haney of Outdoor Voices at a 2017 Disrupt event.


TechCrunch

Cryptocurrency company has been working with Paysafe to issue the Coinbase Card, a Visa debit card that works with your Coinbase account balance. The company is now a Visa Principal Member, which should help Coinbase rely less on Paysafe and control a bigger chunk of the card payment stack.

Coinbase says it is the only cryptocurrency company that has reached that level of certification. The company will offer the Coinbase Card in more markets in the future. The new status could open up more possibilities and features as well.

While Coinbase originally launched the Coinbase Card in the U.K., it is now available in 29 European countries. It works with any Visa-compatible payment terminal and ATM. Users can decide in the app which wallet they want to use for upcoming transactions. This way, you can spend money in 10 cryptocurrencies.

There are some conversion fees just like on Coinbase. In addition to those fees, there can be some additional fees if you withdraw a lot of money or make a purchase abroad. More details here.

Still, half of users who ordered a card are actively using it. The U.K., Italy, Spain and France are the main markets so far. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies might not replace Visa and Mastercard just yet, so traditional debit cards represent a good alternative for now.


TechCrunch

“Not gonna lie. This f*cking sucks. This is the last HQ ever!” yelled host Matt Richards . And it just got crazier from there.The farewell game of HQ Trivia before it shut down last night was a beautiful disaster. The hosts cursed, sprayed champagne, threatened to defecate on the homes of trolls in the chat window, and begged for new jobs. Imagine Jeopardy but Trebek is hyped-up and blacked-out.

Yesterday HQ Trivia ran out of money, laid off its 25 employees, and shut down. It was in talks to be acquired, but the buyer pulled out last minute and investors weren’t willing to pour any money into the sagging game show. It had paid out $ 6 million in prizes from its $ 15 million-plus in venture capital since launching in late 2017.

But HQ was in steady decline since February 2018 when it peaked at over 2.3 million concurrent players to just tens of thousands recently. The games grew repetitive, prize money was split between too many winners, co-founder Colin Kroll passed away, original host and quiz daddy Scott Rogowsky was let go, the startup’s staff failed in an attempt to mutiny and oust the CEO, and layoffs ensued. You can read how it all went down here.

But rather than wither away, the momentary cultural phenemenon went out with a bang. “Should HQ trivia shut down? No? Yes? Or f*ck no!” Richards cackled.

You can watch the final show here, and we’ve laid out some of Richards’ and co-host Anna Roisman’s choicest quotes from HQ’s last game:

  • “If you just got here, this is HQ Trivia. It’s a live mobile gameshow. We’re gonna read about 34 questions and then you’re gonna win about 2 cents and you’re gonna fucking loooooove it” -Roisman
  • “This $ 5 prize is coming out of my own pocket. We ran out of money. We just kept giving it away. We gave it all to the players, to you, you loyal HQties” -Richards
  • “Take this time now to buy some extra lives. You never know when you’re going to need them. I wish we had an extra life for the company. I’m sorry. I f*cking can’t. I’m gonna cry. My dogs eat $ 200 worth of food a day. My dogs are gonna starve” -Richards
  • “Why are we shutting down? I don’t know. Ask our investors. What am I going to do with my fish tank? I think our investors ran out of money” -Richards
  • “Who likes healthy snacks! That’s why the investors stopped giving us money, because there wasn’t any f*cking snacks in this b*tch. We were snackless. Who the fuck can work in a place without snacks!” -Richards
  • “I met a couple who told me HQ is part of their foreplay” -Richards
  • “Who’s going to miss the HQ chat? I’m going to miss all those people telling me I don’t have eyebrows or to do the Carlton” -Richards
  • “Maybe we should close every night. These are the nicest f*cking comments I’ve ever seen. Wow, you’re finally telling me I look hot. I tried for a year and a half -Roisman
  • [Reading comments] “‘Won’t miss you at all, good riddance’” -Roisman. “Who said that? Let’s find that mothef*cker and sh*t on his porch” -Richards
  • “Hire everyone! All the people who don’t have jobs they f*cking rock!” -Richards
  • [While doing a headstand] “Someone hire me! I’m f*cking talented” -Roisman
  • “We should have unionized a long time ago” -Richards
  • [To his girlfriend] “Hello baby! I don’t got a job, you still love me?” -Richards
  • “We bought this giant bottle of champagne for when we hit 3 million players” -Richards (HQ never got there)
  • [Shakening up the champagne and opening it to a disappointing trickle] “It wasn’t as big as I thought it was gonna be” -Richards.That’s what she said. It was anti-climactic” -Roisman. “Much like this episode” -Richards. “Much like this app” -Roisman
  • “They gave me like two double shots of tequila” -Richards, on why he was drunk

Then things really went off the rails at 41 minutes in, cued up here:

  • [Upon a bunch of people getting a question wrong] “Y’all fucking fucked up!  You are dumb! I’m kidding, you’re not dumb. You fucked up. It happens” -Richards
  • [Reading the final question together] “What does Subway call it’s employees? Ham hands, sandwich artists, or beef sculptors?”
  • “520 people are splitting $ 5. Send me your Venmo requests and I’ll send you your fraction of a penny” -Richards

Farewell, HQ Trivia, you glorious beast.

 


TechCrunch

Match Group, home to Tinder, Match, OKCupid, PoF, and a host of other online dating apps, announced today that CEO Mandy Ginsberg would be stepping down from her position after 14 years with the company. She’s served in the CEO role since her appointment in 2017. Related to this, Ginsberg will also resign from Match’s Board of Directors. Assuming her position is Shar Dubey, currently the President of the Match Group, who will begin her new role March 1.

Dubey has also been with Match Group for 14 years, the past two as Match Group President. She’s been a board member since late 2019. Prior to her most recent position, Dubey served as Chief Operating Officer of the Tinder business, where she led the team that launched Tinder Gold, the company’s most successful monetization feature to date. She also previously served as President of Match Group Americas and Chief Product Officer of the Match Brand.

The exec shakeup doesn’t end with the CEO changes. Match today named Gary Swidler as Chief Operating Officer, in addition to his role as CFO. In the new role, Swidler will also oversee corporate communications, market research, corporate strategy, data security, advertising, and user safety across the portfolio of brands, the company says.

Meanwhile, Match also named Faye Iosotaluno as its Chief Strategy Officer and Justine Sacco as Chief Communications Officer. Both will report to Swidler.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported the news, citing an internal memo offering more details about Ginsberg’s departure. According to the memo, a tornado hit Ginsberg’s home in October and last week she underwent surgery.

Axios has a copy of the memo, where Ginsberg further explains she had opted for a double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene in the past. She has now has to have surgery again, as the FDA had recalled the implants. The memo says she plans to take time off this year to focus on health:

So why am I leaving now? These last 4 months have been personally trying. In October, Dallas experienced a tornado that barreled through the city destroying many homes in its wake. Thankfully no one was killed, but the tornado hit my home, making it unlivable. This has definitely impacted my family. And I have had some recent health hiccups. I have been pretty public about the fact that after my mom and aunt died of ovarian cancer 15 years ago, I tested positive for the BRCA1 gene and at the time, opted for a preventative double mastectomy due to high risk of breast cancer. And 10 years later, just last Friday, I had to have another surgery due to an FDA recall of the implants, because they have been linked to cancer. It’s been a lot to handle. And while I expect to have a clean bill of health, short term I need to take care of myself and so will take some time off this year to do just that.

In the memo, Ginsberg also praises Dubey as having an “incredible command of the consumer internet space” and “the vision and experience to take this business forward.”

She is so well suited for this role and we won’t miss a beat during this transition. Not only is she a brilliant, analytical and action-oriented executive, but she is a great leader because she wants every single person on the team to win. And so many people who have worked for Shar have told me she is the best boss they have ever had. Now you all have the best boss.

In a statement about Ginsberg’s departure, Match Group Chairman Joey Levin said, “Mandy has had a profound impact on Match Group’s culture, the team, and through the success of our products, the world. She recruited Shar to the company more than a decade ago, and it’s been incredible to witness what these two executives have built together. Mandy will always be a part of the Match Group family, wherever she is. But, if she will no longer be here, we cannot imagine a better successor than Shar. The Match Group leadership team has a deep bench of talent, and Shar, Gary and the team will continue to lead Match Group forward.”

Dubey takes the helm at Match Group ahead of a significant change to its business. In October, digital media holding company IAC took the next step towards spinning off Match Group as an independent company.

Match Group reported better-than-expected revenues and profit for the third quarter of 2019, thanks largely to the revenue growth for its top dating app, Tinder, which also became the top-grossing non-game app of 2019. Revenues of $ 541 million were up by 22% year over year, due to improvements of 19% and 4% in average subscriber base and Average Revenue per User (ARPU), respectively.

 


TechCrunch

SpaceX and NASA are getting ready for a key test of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon commercial crew spacecraft on Saturday, and this should be the last major milestone that SpaceX has to pass in terms of demonstration missions before actual crew climb aboard the spaceship for a trip to the International Space Station. Starting at 8 AM ET (5 AM PT), a launch window opens during which SpaceX will hopefully perform what’s called an “in-flight abort” test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle, to demonstrate how its safety systems would protect astronauts on board in the unlikely event of an unexpected incident during a real crew flight.

The plan for this mission is to launch the Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 — in this case, one that’s using a refurbished booster stage previously flown on three prior missions. This will be the Falcon 9’s last flight, however, as the plan includes loss of the rocket this time around instead of a controlled landing. The launch is intentionally being terminated early — just after the rocket achieves its “Max Q” point, or the moment during its flight when it’s under maximum atmospheric stress, at about 84 seconds post-liftoff.

At that point, the rocket will be about 19 kilometres (roughly 62,000 feet) above the surface of the Earth, and about four kilometres (2.5 miles) from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX has rigged the Dragon spacecraft’s launch escape system to automatically trigger at this point, which will separate the crew spacecraft from the Falcon and propel it away from the rocket very quickly in order to get it to a safe distance to protect any future passengers. After around five minutes past launch, the Dragon will deploy its parachute system, and then at around 10 minutes after it should splash down in the Atlantic Ocean between 3 and 3.5 km (roughly 2 miles) from shore.

After that, crews will recover the Dragon capsule from the ocean, and return it to Cape Canaveral, where SpaceX will study the spacecraft, including human-sized dummies acting as passengers and sensors within to monitor what happened in the cabin during the test. They’ll use this to ideally show that the abort process works as designed and will protect astronauts on board the spacecraft in case of any emergency that results in an early mission termination.

In addition to the in-flight abort system, SpaceX and NASA are also using this mission to prepare for crewed flight in a number of other ways. Today, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who will crew the first piloted mission hopefully later this year, ran through a dry run of what they would experience in a live mission. They donned space suits and walked the transom that connects the Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 to its launchpad support structure, as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine noted on Twitter.

The test will not involve any attempt to recover the rocket, as mentioned, and SpaceX Crew Mission Management Director Benji Reed said during a press conference today that they do anticipate some kind of “ignition” event with the Falcon 9’s second stage, which could possibly be large enough to be seen from the ground, he said. SpaceX crews will be on standby to recover as much as possible from the rocket wreckage, which will be useful to study, and they’ll also be on hand to minimize any potential environmental impact from the test.

This test was originally scheduled for roughly six months ago, but SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule intended for the mission was destroyed during an unexpected incident while test firing its engines. SpaceX and NASA investigated that explosion, and are now confident that they understand the cause of that incident, and have taken steps to ensure that a similar problem doesn’t happen again. The Crew Dragon being used now for Saturday’s test was originally intended to be the one used for actually flying astronauts, and another capsule is currently in development to serve that purpose.

SpaceX’s launch window for this test opens at 8 AM ET tomorrow, but spans four hours, and Reed said it could actually extend longer tomorrow if need be. NASA Commercial Crew program manager Kathy Leuders explained today that it’s crucial that not only launch conditions, but also recovery conditions, are optimal for the purposes of this test, so both will play a factor in when exactly they launch. Unlike with launches actually designed to reach a specific orbit, timing doesn’t have to be quite as on the nose, so there’s more flexibility in terms of making the decision to proceed or stand down. SpaceX has backup opportunities on both Sunday and Monday should they be required.

We’ll have a live stream and live coverage of the test starting tomorrow morning, so check back early Saturday. The stream will kick off around 15 minutes prior to the scheduled opening of the launch window, so at around 7:45 AM ET.


TechCrunch

Hulu is currently down.

We’re not sure why, and neither does Hulu. A stream of tweets complaining about the outage surfaced Sunday morning on the U.S. east coast, but it seems like a global outage. In response, Hulu’s Twitter support didn’t seem to know either, instead telling frustrated users that it’s looking into it.

Fantastic.

For what it’s worth and in my many experiences covering cybersecurity, the chance that this is anything other than someone tripping over a cable or accidentally pushing out production code to the wrong pipe is extremely slim. Hulu will be back. When? No idea, but these things never take too long.

We’ve reached out for comment but we haven’t heard back yet. Stay tuned for more. (Or listen to our Original Content podcast instead.)


TechCrunch

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