Subscription business model

From Silicon Alley OG to New York Times CTO (and MB 2017)

An unusual challenge: Grow the value of a customer base that’s been hit with a windstorm of record-breaking engagement.

The savvy solution: The most transformative technology to come along in years: artificial intelligence.

For Nick Rockwell, CTO of the New York Times — and a featured speaker at MB 2017 coming up July 11-12 — AI is foundational to his game plan to blow up the digital Times until it blots out the sky. His team is leveraging analytics and machine learning to create the kind of personalization strategies that can grow an audience hungry for more.

It all started during last year’s presidential election, when a screaming, tantrum-throwing orangutan raced against arguably the most qualified candidate to ever throw their hat in the presidential ring. The public was horrified, fascinated, terrified — and hooked. In the wake of the new normal, readership of The New York Times skyrocketed.

Though the electoral winner makes continuous claims that the media giant is “failing,” the numbers tell a different story. During the last three months of 2016, the Times gained 276,000 net digital-only subscribers — or more digital subscriptions in three months than in all of 2013 and 2014 combined. Digital advertising revenue, which makes up about 42 percent of the Times’s total revenue, rose 10.9 percent to $77.6 million in the quarter.

And Nick Rockwell, the minty-fresh brand-new CTO of the New York Times, was handed unprecedented success, but also one of the…

What Happened to Solitaire and Minesweeper in Windows 8 and 10?

The classic desktop versions of Solitaire and Minesweeper are gone in Windows 8 and 10. Instead, you’ll find shiny new versions with advertisements, Xbox integration, and optional subscription fees. But you can still play Solitaire and Minesweeper without ads, and without paying a cent.

How to Launch Solitaire on Windows 10

Solitaire is installed by default on Windows 10. You can just open the Start menu and launch the “Microsoft Solitaire Collection” application to open it.

If the Microsoft Solitaire Collection isn’t installed—perhaps you’ve uninstalled it in the past—you can get it from the Windows Store.

How to Get Minesweeper on Windows 10

Microsoft Minesweeper isn’t installed by default on Windows 10, but it’s available for free. To install Minesweeper, launch the “Store” application and search for “Minesweeper”. Click the “Microsoft Minesweeper” tile and click “Install” to install it.

You can also click here to go straight to Microsoft Minesweeper on the Windows Store.

Once it’s installed, you can launch Microsoft Minesweeper from your Start menu.

On Windows 8, neither Solitaire nor Minesweeper are installed by default. You’ll need to open the Store and search for Solitaire and Minesweeper to install the Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Minesweeper applications.

How Solitaire and Minesweeper Are Different on Windows 8 and 10

Whether you like the new games depends what you’re looking for. The good news is that they’re more shiny and polished than the old Solitaire and Minesweeper games.

The Microsoft Solitaire Collection includes quite a few different games—Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, and TriPeaks. Klondike is the classic, default solitaire experience you’re probably familiar with from previous versions of Windows.

You can choose “solvable decks” of different difficulty levels—decks guaranteed to be solvable so you don’t get stuck and have to restart—or use a traditional, randomly…

Hulu’s Live TV Service Is Now Available in Beta With 50 Channels for $40 Per Month

At its Upfront presentation this morning, Hulu showed off more details of its new live streaming service, and announced that the service is now available in a public beta starting today. Interested users can sign-up here.

Hulu first announced its live TV service back in at its Upfront’s in May 2016 and since then, we’ve seen the live TV cordcutting market become more crowded, with new offerings from DirecTV Now and YouTube TV. Even traditional cable operators, like Verizon and Comcast, are planning on getting into the online TV space. With traditional cable subscriptions falling, it makes sense that the networks and the providers are looking at other sources of income.

But what makes Hulu’s approach to live TV a bit different—as we noted when we got a preview of the service back at CES in January—is that it combines live TV with the huge catalog of content that Hulu already offers. So if you subscribe to Hulu’s new live offering, you get access to live feeds from ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, CNN, and so on, but you also get access to Hulu originals and that massive back catalog of movie and TV content.

The service, which has the tongue-twister name Hulu with Live TV, is available starting at $40 a month. That $40 a month offers access to more than 50 live channels, access to Hulu’s standard $8 a month subscription service (you can pay an extra $4 and get the catalog content commercial free), and 50 hours of cloud DVR recordings. The $40 plan offers access to six user profiles and two simultaneous streams at once.

If you want to stream from more than two devices at once, Hulu is offering an “Unlimited Screens” plan for $15 a month, which offers unlimited streams in the home, and up to three simultaneous streams outside the home. There is also an “Enhanced Cloud DVR” bundle for $15 a month that offers subscribers access to 200 hours of DVR recordings that automatically skip through recorded…

Salesforce launches AppExchange partner program and $100 million platform fund

Salesforce is looking to take its AppExchange to the next phase to better address the increased demand for subscription-based services within the enterprise. Today the company launched a partner program that replaces the existing independent software vendor (ISV) program with a completely new pricing model, support, and onboarding experience and an additional set of tools.

To encourage development, Salesforce has allocated $100 million to incentivizing developers, startups, and ISVs.

“The convergence of [artificial intelligence, Internet of Things], and massive datasets has created incredible new opportunities for developers to move beyond the app and build components, intelligent bots, data streams, and more,” explained Leyla Seka, Salesforce’s executive vice president for its AppExchange. “The new AppExchange Partner Program empowers the next generation of Salesforce ISVs with a single destination for everything they need to succeed — the training to create solutions on cutting-edge Salesforce technology and the programs to turn them into businesses with global reach.”

Salesforce launched the AppExchange 11 years ago, and since that time more than 3,000 apps have been added to the marketplace and installed more than 4 million times. But a lot has changed since then — not only at Salesforce, but also in the startup ecosystem. In order to adapt to this changing landscape, the partner program had to adapt.

Here are the changes coming to the AppExchange partner program:

  • Establishing an AppExchange Trailblazer Score: This point-based system provides a metric around how closely aligned an app is with Salesforce’s values. It factors in customer success, reviews,…

Duolingo Plus Makes It Easier to Learn a New Language

Duolingo has launched a paid subscription service designed to give language learners a leg-up. Paid subscribers will gain a couple of advantages over free users, all while keeping Duolingo in business. However, Duolingo is committed to continuing to offer free language learning for everyone.

We should all learn a new language. Unfortunately, doing so isn’t easy. Duolingo at least makes the whole thing fun, but that comes at a cost. So much so that its CEO Luis von Ahn claims the company is spending $42,000 per day. No wonder Duolingo is launching a paid subscription service…

The Advantages of Duolingo Plus

Duolingo’s new subscription service, called Duolingo Plus, offers two distinct advantages over its free offering. First, it removes all ads from the service. And second, it offers offline learning. Duolingo claims these two features users have been requesting for some time.

In other words, Duolingo Plus is designed to complement, rather…

How to Find and Keep Up with All Your YouTube Subscriptions

It used to be so simple. If you liked a video, and wanted to see more videos like it, you’d click the “Subscribe” button. The next time that channel put out a video, you’d see it on the homepage.

But in 2017, there’s probably a few channels you love that you haven’t seen lately, and more than a few channels you hate-watched at some point showing up on your homepage constantly. What gives?

YouTube, in their wisdom, stopped showing users every video from every channel they’re subscribed to, replacing that simplicity with an algorithm designed to get you to watch as much content as possible. So you may or may not see a video from a channel you subscribe to on the homepage, depending on what kind of mood YouTube is in. It’s kind of like Facebook’s cryptic news feed algorithm, but for videos, and it means you might miss great videos from artists you love.

If you hate this, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are still a few ways to actually see your subscriptions.

Option One: Head to the Subscriptions Page

The simplest way to see only your subscriptions is to head to the Subscriptions page. There’s a link to this page on the YouTube homepage, shown above. The subscriptions page has the the latest videos from the channels you’re subscribed to, and nothing else.

I recommend creating a bookmark for, so that you’re never exposed to the homepage in the first place, but otherwise clicking “Subscriptions” works fine.

On mobile, there’s a subscriptions button you can press from the main screen of the app.

Sadly, there’s no way to make this screen the default, so you’ll just have to tap the button. A…