The Overwatch League keeps having to punish players for toxic behavior

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Two months into its existence, Blizzard’s ambitious Overwatch League has seen a lot of positives. Viewership numbers are strong, Blizzard has managed to court big-name sponsors like Toyota, and last month the Shanghai Dragons made Kim “Geguri” Se-Yeon the league’s first female player. But there’s one issue that keeps popping up: players exhibiting toxic behavior. Today, the league made its biggest statement about such behavior so far, doling out punishments to four individual players.

Dallas Fuel player Timo “Taimou” Kettunen is being fined $ 1,000 for using “anti-gay slurs on his personal stream,” while the Houston Outlaws’ Tae-yeong “TaiRong” Kim has received a formal warning for posting a meme about the bombings of Hiroshima and…

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HQ Trivia raised new funding at a $100 million valuation and its co-founder apologized for his previous bad behavior

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

HQ co-founders Rus Yusupov, left, and Colin Kroll

HQ raised $ 15 million in a round Recode first reported was in the works last month.

The startup behind the popular gameshow app HQ Trivia has finalized a new round of funding that values the company at $ 100 million.

Recode first reported last month that HQ was raising money, and that Founders Fund was planning to lead the round and take a board seat for partner Cyan Banister. That is indeed the case, and the round landed right in the same ballpark we’d heard about back in February: HQ raised $ 15 million at a $ 100-million post-money valuation, according to Founders Fund. Axios first reported the final deal terms.

What makes this funding round so interesting, beside the fact that HQ is one of the buzziest consumer apps around, is that the company initially ran into trouble trying to raise back in late November and early December after Silicon Valley venture capitalists caught wind of alleged bad behavior by co-founder Colin Kroll when he was working at Vine.

Kroll and fellow HQ founder Rus Yusupov also co-founded Vine together, but Kroll was fired for being a bad manager from Twitter, which bought Vine in 2012. Former colleagues also alleged that he exhibited creepy behavior toward female colleagues while working there, Recode first reported.

Kroll issued a statement to Axios, his first since Recode’s story was published.

“As reported in the media, I was let go from Vine four years ago for poor management. It was a painful experience, but an eye-opening one that served as a catalyst for professional development and greater awareness in the office. I now realize that there are things I said and did that made some feel unappreciated or uncomfortable. I apologize to those people. Today, I’m committed to building HQ Trivia into a culture-defining product and supporting the dedicated team that makes it all possible.”

A few months ago, some investors were struggling with the idea of funding HQ Trivia because of the alleged behavior and fear of association at a time when many industries are dealing with the fallout from male leaders sexually harassing female colleagues. But Founders Fund did its own investigation into Kroll and evidently felt comfortable moving forward on a deal and putting one of its female partners on the board.

“I believe HQ can grow into the next generation-defining entertainment platform,” Banister wrote in a statement provided to Recode. “I’m excited to support Rus and Colin as they continue executing on their incredibly ambitious vision for the company.”

In an interview with Axios, she added: ”I believe in the spirit of forgiveness.”

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How to Control the Behavior of Screenshot Shortcuts in macOS

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

There are several ways you can take screenshots on a Mac. Preview offers the option from its File menu. There’s also a little screen capture app in the macOS Utilities folder called Grab. But the simplest and most common method is to use your Mac’s built-in shortcut key combinations. Taking a screenshot is as easy as hitting Shift-Command-3 to capture the whole screen, or Shift-Command-4 to capture a portion of the screen using the mouse cursor as a crosshair selection tool (a tap of the spacebar also turns it into a camera for capturing windows).

If you tack the Control key onto either of these shortcuts, macOS copies the captured image to the clipboard, which is useful if you want to paste it into an application that can edit or view images. Otherwise, screenshots taken using key shortcuts are saved straight to your desktop. If you’d like to change that default save location to somewhere different, simply follow the steps below. You can also change the default file format that the screenshots are saved in by following these steps. The last section of this article offers some tips for taking more control of your screenshot selections, so be sure to check those out too.
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Mypomonella modifies the appearance and behavior of Cydia

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Out of all the things you can change on a jailbroken iPhone or iPad, it’s easy to forget that you can also customize the Cydia app itself. Fortunately, this little-known fact didn’t slip the mind of iOS developer CydiaGeek.

His latest jailbreak tweak release, dubbed Mypomonella, lets you modify various aspects and behaviors of the Cydia app until you’re satisfied…. Read the rest of this post here

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Logic Pro X 10.4.1 maintenance update fixes zoom key behavior, processor usage bug, other issues

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Apple has released an update to Logic Pro X, bringing the professional music creation application up to version 10.4.1, with the maintenance release fixing bugs and making a number of smaller improvements rather than adding new features.
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Ford president leaves the company over ‘inappropriate behavior’

Ford Motor Company President Raj Nair is leaving the company “effective immediately” after an internal investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior. “Certain behavior by Nair was inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct,” the company writes in a statement. No further specifics were given about which parts of the company’s code of conduct were violated.

“We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. “Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”

Nair had been with the company for 31 years, and in 2017 was named to the position of president of North American…

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Ford president Raj Nair leaves over ‘inappropriate behavior’

Ford will have to adjust its technology strategy, and not for the right reasons. The automaker's North America President Raj Nair has left the company after an internal investigation determined that "inappropriate behavior" was out of line with the…
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Google app update fixes laggy Android Wear behavior when Ok Google detection is enabled

Back in December, we made a surprising discovery: if you had Ok Google detection enabled on your Android Wear watch, it could cause a lot of lag and jittery behavior all the time. Disabling the setting completely turned the behavior around and made it so that the watch was smooth and stutter-free. I recorded a video back then to show the night and day difference and many of you chimed in reporting that disabling the detection had the same beneficial effects on your watch as well.

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Google app update fixes laggy Android Wear behavior when Ok Google detection is enabled was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Recode Daily: Bad behavior by the co-founders of the hot HQ Trivia app is a buzzkill for potential investors

Plus: John Skipper is leaving ESPN on the verge of Disney’s big deal, animatronic Trump finally takes his spot at Disney World, and analyzing Bob Dylan’s Malibu Xmas lights.

The most-talked-about app of the moment, HQ Trivia, has had trouble capitalizing on its buzz after due diligence revealed concerns about its co-founders, who also co-founded Vine, the video app acquired by Twitter. Would-be investors were particularly concerned about how HQ CEO Colin Kroll managed people during his time at Twitter, as well as a reputation he’s garnered for exhibiting inappropriate behavior toward women. More than 680,000 people played HQ on Sunday night, just two months after its launch; here’s the backstory on the games co-founders. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

ESPN president John Skipper is leaving the network just as parent company Disney is about to make a huge bet on TV sports. Skipper — who has had the top job at the powerful sports network since 2012 — is stepping down, citing “substance addiction.” George Bodenheimer will take over as acting chairman; whoever Disney CEO Bob Iger taps as ESPN’s boss will face significant challenges, both immediately and down the road. ESPN employees praising Skipper included Jemele Hill, the anchor he recently suspended: “I seriously cannot express how much respect I have for him.” [Peter Kafka / Recode]

Facebook has identified a new kind of spam — engagement baiting.The social network is clamping down on posts that ask people for “Likes” or shares — “Like if you think cats are best” — by de-prioritizing and demoting them in the News Feed. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

An animatronic version of President Trump has finally arrived at Walt Disney World, after a delay that prompted online conspiracy theories, the most common one being that Disney was trying to silence Trump. “Above all, to be American is to be an optimist … and that the best days of our great nation are still ahead of us,” says the life-size robot president, who stands next to a seated Abraham Lincoln in the theme park’s Hall of Presidents exhibit. [Brooks Barnes / The New York Times]

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opened to $ 220 million in the U.S. over the weekend, coming in as the second-biggest opening of all time — right behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” No spoilers, but here are six lessons from how the 10th “Star Wars” theatrical film was made, how it performed and how it generated reactions. [Steven Zeitchik / The Washington Post]

Some of you didn’t get our email yesterday because of a tech problem on our end. Sorry about that. Those of you who did get it didn’t get the link to this excellent NYT story about Pentagon-funded UFO research. That was due to human error. Apologies for that, too.

Top stories from Recode

“Sunday Night Football” was the highest-rated TV show this year, but its audience is smaller than last year.

On average, 18.6 million people watched it this; 19.3 million watched it last year.

Meeting with potential funders shouldn’t be an opportunity for sexual harassment.

Just in time for the holiday party season, here are six defensive strategies every woman should know.

SoFi’s CEO is resigning immediately.

Mike Cagney has been battling sexual harassment allegations at the lending startup.

This is cool

A critical analysis of Bob Dylan’s 2017 Xmas lights.

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HQ Trivia’s founders are facing fundraising roadblocks after investors learned of alleged bad behavior

Former Vine co-founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll don’t have a lot of fans from their time at Twitter.

The founders of HQ, the popular trivia app, have been trying to capitalize on the startup’s white-hot status by raising a new funding round, hoping to land a valuation as high as $ 100 million.

Considering Silicon Valley’s obsession with finding and funding the next big thing, and the app’s popularity — more than 680,000 people played the game show on Sunday night just two months after its launch — that valuation seems attainable.

But many well-known venture capitalists aren’t participating in the deal, and not because it’s too crowded. While many are concerned with the app’s longevity and business prospects, there are deeper issues with the app’s founders.

At least three prominent investors have decided against funding the startup after finding troubling conduct on the part of the founders they uncovered during due diligence, multiple sources say.

These investors were particularly concerned about how HQ’s founder Colin Kroll managed people during his time at Twitter, as well as a reputation he’s garnered for exhibiting inappropriate behavior toward women, according to the sources.

Kroll, who was Vine’s general manager for a short stint in early 2014, was fired from Twitter for being a bad manager just 18 months after the company acquired his other startup Vine, according to three people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Separately, he also earned a reputation while working at Vine for exhibiting “creepy” behavior toward women that made them uncomfortable, according to numerous former colleagues, a reputation that is hurting HQ’s fundraising efforts.

This behavior turned off at least one investor who considered putting money into HQ. A second investor who passed on the deal looked into the founders’ backgrounds and described Kroll’s behavior as “egregious,” but declined to elaborate. Numerous former Twitter employees who worked with Kroll told Recode that they also heard that Kroll exhibited creepy behavior toward women while working at Vine.

Recode is not aware of any sexual harassment complaints that were filed with Twitter about Kroll. He declined to comment through a company spokesperson. A Twitter spokesperson also declined to comment.

Jeremy Liew, an investor with Lightspeed Venture Partners and a board member at Intermedia Labs, the company behind HQ, also heard from investors concerned about Kroll’s behavior during the fundraising process. He has conducted his own investigation, and sent Recode the following statement.

“We heard back from a couple of firms that they were not going to move forward, specifically because of rumors of what was characterized as womanizing on Colin’s part. I was concerned that this might be code for sexual harassment. So in my capacity as a board member, I conducted an investigation to find out what actually happened. I spoke to about a dozen current and former Twitter execs. The investigation was exhaustive and included the most knowledgeable primary sources. I found a good deal of negative sentiment about Colin and the Vine team and some discomfort with his behavior, but I did not find evidence that warrants his removal from the company.”

Lightspeed itself has seen the impact of sexual harassment claims when a number of women spoke out against one of its venture investors, Justin Caldbeck, who was accused of unwanted sexual advances earlier this year. He has since left the firm.

HQ’s fundraising effort is still ongoing and parent company Intermedia Labs is still in talks with potential investors.

A company spokesperson says the startup is in the process of implementing a zero-tolerance policy regarding workplace harassment and discrimination.

That reputation aside, Kroll was also difficult to work for in his role leading the Vine team, according to conversations with more than 15 former Vine and Twitter colleagues. They described him as abrasive and disinterested, and said he could be verbally abusive to colleagues. Kroll was also known, at times, to show up late to work, hungover and disheveled, according to five former colleagues. This all factored into his dismissal, sources say.

Rus Yusupov, HQ’s other co-founder who also founded Vine with Kroll, was also fired from Twitter in October 2015 at the same time Twitter had a series of layoffs.

Yusupov, who was originally Vine’s creative director, lost most of those responsibilities to colleagues over time. He never ran the Vine team while at Twitter. He is the CEO at the duo’s new startup, Intermedia Labs, which created HQ. Yusupov declined to comment through a company spokesperson.

Firing founders for poor management is unusual in Silicon Valley, an industry that often prizes innovation at the expense of executive experience. Founders are often given a pass for weak business ability if their product signals the next big thing.

In the case of Vine, the firing was especially notable given Twitter acquired the startup only 18 months earlier for tens of millions of dollars. Many of Silicon Valley’s most successful companies were founded by weak managers, and investors have a tendency to see beyond those problems if a business looks promising.

But we live in a different world now thanks to Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer whose blog post about sexism and toxic company culture led to a major executive team overhaul, including the ousting of its CEO. And after Harvey Weinstein, investors are simply taking extra precautions.

Even after Vine sold to Twitter for millions, its founding team seemed unhappy at Twitter almost from the start, according to numerous sources. When Twitter shut down Vine in late 2016, Yusupov tweeted, “Don’t sell your company!”

Twitter’s plan was to let Vine run as a separate product, at least initially. Twitter management, particularly co-founder Jack Dorsey, thought of Vine as the company’s response to Facebook acquiring Instagram, which Twitter had also wanted to buy.

But even with those parameters, Kroll, Yusupov and third co-founder Dom Hofmann were fiercely independent and resisted any kind of efforts to link the two companies, even culturally, sources say.

Adding to the separation: Vine’s offices were in New York City, across the country from Twitter management in San Francisco. The co-founders even refused help from Twitter engineers, and also refused to move Vine over onto Twitter’s back-end infrastructure and servers. Ultimately, when Twitter decided to add a video feature to its core app in late 2015, it built an in-app camera instead of integrating Vine.

It’s unclear if Kroll or Yusupov left money on the table when they were fired, though most acquisition deals include earn-outs and retention bonuses that require employees to hit certain benchmarks and to stay with the acquiring company for at least two years.

At HQ, Yusupov hasn’t given investors much confidence that things have changed. He recently flipped out on a reporter from The Daily Beast last month after she interviewed the trivia show’s host Scott Rogowsky without Yusupov’s “permission.” He later apologized, but multiple investors pointed to the article and interview in discussions with Recode as evidence that management problems still exist.

There are other reasons some investors are avoiding HQ, even though it’s the most-talked-about app of the last few weeks. The main one: Concerns about whether or not HQ can turn a twice-daily trivia show into an actual company, not just a hit with a limited lifespan.

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