Meta fires executive after ‘predator catchers’ video goes viral – TechCrunch

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Friday, February 18, 2022! First, a note that much of TechCrunch is off Monday due to a US holiday, so some normal stuff may arrive a day later than usual. But we are a global team, so we won’t be quiet to start next week. That’s a promise. † Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Meta’s fires community dev manager after stab: Meta, the parent company of Facebook and other social properties, has said goodbye to a “manager of global community development,” we report. The company tried to talk us out of the story, but the news matters in the context of other issues at the company that we outline in the post. That this news came in the midst of a PR revamp for the company is also worth remembering.
  • Grow fast or die even faster: Following this particular revenue cycle has got a series of headlines rolling. Tech companies large and small have found the wrong side of investor discontent, mainly due to slower-than-expected growth forecasts. For startups, the lessons are pretty stark and clear: you have to grow like hell or watch your valuation implode.
  • When the founder becomes the story: Ah, Bolt. We can’t stop talking about you, thanks to the fact that your former CEO continues to irritate the larger tech scene on the socials. This time, Ryan Breslow, now just the executive chairman of the Bolt, went on a rant about offering loans to help employees exercise their options. It is about the facts that such action is not new and has led to financial failures in the past.

Startups/VC

  • Smart homes are not for normiers: Have you wanted to change your living situation so that it is more reactive, more colorful and maybe even data-driven? In other words, do you want a smarter At home? Well, maybe you really don’t. TechCrunch columnist Owen Williams writes about his journey with the business after buying a house. My conclusion is that if Owen is having a hard time, I would be doomed to try and make the different tools play nice with each other.
  • Soon your package can come in a reusable shipping packaging: Like you, I buy too much stuff online, which means I create more waste and recyclables than I care to admit. Returnity is betting that a “sturdier packaging bag that can be used over and over” will help improve the situation and only raise capital for its efforts.
  • Portuguese venture capital fund expands capital pool: Venture capital firm Shilling has added $23 million to its “Founders Fund” after raising last year. This is good news for startups in the European country, as well as good news for those of us who can think of more than one joke about a venture capital fund named after what some asset class participants like to do on Twitter.
  • Household savings-as-a-service† That’s what UK-based startup Nous wants to build. Essentially, the company will collect data from its customers and help them “gradually automate the management of critical service changes and/or renegotiation of contacts”. I never negotiate because I’m a huge weenie. But if I had a shift to help, well, I’d love to save more money too. Nous just raised $9 million.
  • What happens when a super app isn’t very super?† That is the question our own Manish Singh asked today. The super app in question? TataNeu from Tata Group, which has been in testing for a while and apparently needs more polishing before it’s ready for good, super-wide adoption.

And from the Equity team, do you want to be paid in crypto?

How to Grow Your Organic Traffic with Earned Media

a wide of a woman speaking with a large orange wedge coming out of her mouth symbolizing speech

Image Credits: Jasmin Merdan (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Few entrepreneurs are born storytellers, and perhaps it’s unfair to expect them to do better.

Many startups pay a PR agency a monthly advance of $10,000 or more, but their chances of posting a story about their company are not much greater than spinning a roulette wheel.

According to Amanda Milligan, head of marketing at Stacker Studio, startups can increase organic traffic and improve SEO by developing newsworthy content that gets picked up and shared by media.

In a classic TC+ how-to, she explains how to create earned media that organically improve keyword rankings, referring domains, clicks, and other key SEO metrics.

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

  • The FBI takes on ransomware: Apparently the US Federal Bureau of Investigation has considered malicious hacks that have taken data hostage as a problem big enough to warrant its own “unit dedicated to tracking cryptocurrency crimes and ransomware profits”. Good, though seemingly a bit late considering how common such attacks have become in recent years.
  • GM + Walmart = more self-driving deliveries† US auto giant GM and retail giant Walmart are teaming up in Arizona to use self-driving technology from the former to deliver gear from the latter. The pilot is expanding, we report.
  • The self-driving talent battle isn’t over yet: Yes, we are past the time when self-driving car engineers were worth $8 billion each. But that doesn’t mean deals in space aren’t still maturing. Another could be “around the corner,” it turns out, with Volkswagen looking to buy Huawei’s “nascent autonomous driving unit.”

TechCrunch Experts

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Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL/Getty Images

TechCrunch is recruiting recruiters for TechCrunch Experts, an ongoing project where we ask top professionals about issues and challenges common to startup startups. If that’s you or someone you know, let us know here.

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