Ah, the great Open vs Concealed Carry debate! Even the most blasé firearms conversation turns into a spirited discussion when the topic of “open carry” is raised. SURELY in this day and age of the Independent Modern Woman, we can all agree that IF she carries at all, it should be concealed in a special […]
All the attention in financial services this year has gone to the newest kids on the block: cryptocurrencies. With Bitcoin now eclipsing $15,000 and Coinbase adding more than 300,000 users in one week alone, it’s easy to see why.
While cryptocurrencies stole the spotlight, a clutch of companies were quietly working behind the scenes to slowly bring the financial services establishment to its knees. It may turn out that these startup entrants of the last several years will prove to be the more relevant disruptors.
Earlier this year the “FinTechs” hit a massive milestone, one that very few people noticed but which must certainly be keeping senior execs at banks, credit card companies, and other institutions up at night. In June of 2017, for the first time in history, the top 10 publicly traded U.S. FinTechs surpassed $100 billion in total market capitalization.
Now that number is over $130 billion, and there are another dozen privately held FinTechs in the U.S. collectively valued at almost $35 billion. Together this is nearly $175 billion of value that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Other recent artifacts that must surely be unsettling for the incumbent financial institutions include: Paypal’s market cap surging past that of Amex and Robinhood quickly closing in on E*Trade in terms of total number of accounts opened — in just three years.
Definition: Matrix considers “FinTechs” to be (a) technology-first companies that leverage software to compete with traditional financial services institutions (e.g. banks, credit card networks, insurers, etc.) in the delivery of traditional financial services (e.g. lending, payments, investing, etc.) or (b) software tools that better enable traditional finance functions (e.g. accounting, point-of-sales systems, payments, etc.)
Introducing the Matrix U.S. FinTech Index
With an eye towards tracking the progress of disruption in the financial services space, we’re excited to release the Matrix U.S. FinTech Index. This index is a market-cap weighted index that tracks the progress of a portfolio of the 10 leading public FinTech companies listed above over the course of the last year (beginning in December of 2016). For comparison, we have also included another portfolio of the 10 largest financial services incumbents (companies like JP Morgan, Visa and American Express) as well as the S&P 500 index.
As seen below, the Matrix FinTech Index shows a clear win for the FinTechs. To their credit, after a rough year in 2016, the incumbents rallied in 2017 to perform slightly better than the S&P 500 Index — yielding 29% returns over the one year period (compared to the 20% returns by the S&P 500 Index).
The FinTechs, however, have blown by this, delivering 89% returns and handily beating the incumbents by 60 percentage points. If you had invested in the Matrix FinTech Index a year ago, you would have almost doubled your money in just one year.
This Is Just the Beginning
Unfortunately for the incumbents, the outlook only worsens from here. The “old-guard” has long been suffering from inflexible back-end systems, antiquated ways of serving customers, and human intensive processes. They’re also increasingly at risk of losing trust with consumers as a result of very public failures like the Wells Fargo scandal and the Equifax data breach.
In the next 10 years, we predict that the incumbent’s portfolio returns (shown above in red) will drop well below the S&P 500 as they continue to disappoint end consumers and cede ground to the FinTechs.
Meanwhile, the FinTech takeover has just begun—financial services in recent years has been 7-9% of U.S. GDP (i.e. trillions of dollars). In the decade to come, we will see the Matrix FinTech Index continue to climb to new heights as the existing FinTechs surge in value and as we add many more FinTechs to the Index. In fact, the nearly 100% growth we’ve seen in the last year is the bottom end of the hockey-stick, just hitting the inflection point. By 2027, as we accelerate up the hockey stick, every aspect of financial services, from payments to lending to investing will be dominated by FinTechs.
Move over financial services – the FinTechs are here and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Ruger is releasing an extension to their very successful Precision Rifle line, this time in a much cheaper caliber. The .22lr rifle uses existing 10/22 magazines, which is great for gun owners since that means spares are immediately available and dirt cheap. From Ruger’s press release:
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR) is proud to introduce the Ruger Precision™ Rimfire rifle. Bringing the big-gun experience to the rimfire world, the Ruger Precision Rimfire is a scaled down version of the Ruger Precision Rifle® and maintains the same ergonomics, trigger and manual of arms as the larger centerfire rifle. The Ruger Precision Rimfire is the ideal long-range shooting trainer and go-to rifle for your next rimfire match.
The Ruger Precision Rimfire features a molded, one-piece chassis and adjustable buttstock assembly manufactured from glass-filled nylon for strength, stiffness and stability, offering a solid foundation for accuracy each and every shot. The innovative Quick-Fit adjustable Precision Rimfire stock allows the rifle’s length of pull and comb height to be quickly and easily adjusted for proper fit over a wide range of shooter sizes, outerwear and shooting positions. Indicating marks molded into the chassis help you quickly return to a previous position.
To make the .22 LR chambering feel more like 6.5 Creedmoor, Ruger engineers designed the Big-Gun adjustable bolt throw technology. By simply removing a spring clip, shooters can change from a rimfire 1-1/2″ bolt throw to a short-action centerfire 3″ bolt throw, reducing the chance of short-stroking the bolt in competition. Identical to the Ruger Precision Rifle, the oversized bolt handle makes for positive bolt manipulation.
The rifle’s 18″ target barrel is cold hammer-forged from 4140 alloy steel to create ultra-precise rifling for excellent accuracy. The 1/2″-28 thread pattern allows for easy pairing with the Silent-SR® suppressor or other muzzle devices. The 15″ hard black anodized aluminum, free-float handguard features Magpul® M-LOK® slots on all four sides for improved scope clearance and easy mounting of M-LOK-compatible rails and accessories.
The popular Ruger Marksman Adjustable™ trigger has a pull weight range of 2.25 to 5.0 pounds; the adjusting wrench is conveniently stored in a buttstock compartment on the rifle. Ruger’s own AR-pattern pistol grip and safety selector allow for maximum control and access to the 45 degree, reversible safety selector.
The Precision Rimfire ships with one, 15-round BX-15® magazine or two, 10-round BX-1 magazines. For increased long-range elevation capabilities, the rifle is topped with a 30 MOA Picatinny scope base.
For more information on the Ruger Precision Rimfire or to learn more about the extensive line of award-winning Ruger firearms, visit Ruger.com or Facebook.com/Ruger. To find accessories for the Ruger Precision Rimfire and other Ruger firearms, visit ShopRuger.com or your local independent retailer of Ruger firearms.
An Excel list makes it easier to enter and track your data. Today we’ll cover three different types of lists you can add to your Excel worksheets: custom lists, dropdown lists, and checklists.
1. Custom Lists
If you frequently use the same sets of data in your worksheets, you can create custom lists for them. Custom lists can include sets of data like department names, clients, and age ranges.
Once you’ve added a custom list to a specific workbook, it’s also available in all new and existing workbooks. You can enter your list directly on the Custom Lists dialog box, import your list from cells on a worksheet, or import a list from cells in a named range.
covers how to create custom lists using each of these methods.
You can use custom lists to fill a range of cells with your own personal list or to create dropdown lists. In this Excel file, we created four custom lists for use in dependent dropdown lists. The first Excel list, named Food, determines which of the other custom lists populates the second dropdown list.
When you select an option from the first dropdown list on Sheet1, the second dropdown list populates with the custom list associated with that name.
. You can also add dropdown lists to your Excel worksheets to make entering data quicker and easier.
Drop-down lists also help reduce errors in data entry by limiting the entries available for an input field. A user entering data simply selects an option instead of typing one, preventing typos and misspellings in the data.
You can also have multiple dropdown lists that depend on each other. When you select an item in one dropdown list, the items available in another dropdown list change.
covers how to create single and dependent dropdown lists.
Here’s our example Excel file where we created two dropdown lists on Sheet1. The dropdown list on the right is dependent on the one on the left for its options.
The To-Do List Template on Vertex42’s site contains several dropdown lists and uses conditional formatting for actions like changing the color of text when a task is completed or when the Priority changes. It also shows a scroll bar in a dropdown list when there are more than six options.
Do you use to-do lists to keep yourself organized? If you use Excel often, you don’t need another app for your to-do lists. You can create checklists in Excel and check off items. A checklist is also useful for keeping track of what you still need to do in your workbook without using another program or app.
Another way to create a checklist using dropdown lists is to add a blank box and a check mark to each one. The blank box is selected by default. When the task is complete, select the check mark from the dropdown list. This makes all the text for that item gray and crossed out.
Another way to check things off in an Excel spreadsheet is to create a dropdown list with a check mark as the only option. Select the check mark to show the item as completed. To uncheck the item, select the cell with the check mark in the dropdown list and press Delete. Only the check mark is removed. The dropdown list remains, and you can select the check mark again to mark the item as completed.
The different types of lists in Excel can make your life easier. Use custom lists for sets of data you use repeatedly, dropdown lists when creating forms to collect data, and checklists as to-do lists.
How do you use lists in your worksheets? Share your Excel list ideas and suggestions in the comments below.
The past few weeks have been tumultuous for Apple ever since the company confirmed it slows down iPhones as their batteries age. In a message posted to Apple’s website today, the company formally apologized to customers while explaining how iPhone batteries age, what Apple has already done to prevent unexpected device shutdowns, and what the company will do to address customer concerns.
“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize,” the letter reads. “There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making. First and foremost, we have never—and would never—do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”
The final part of the message is the most important for customers, as it lays out Apple’s plans to help them replace old iPhone batteries and better understand their device’s battery performance. The biggest change is that Apple will lower the cost of out-of-warranty battery replacements for iPhone 6 models and later from $79 to $29—a discount of over 60 percent. The program will start in late January and will be available worldwide by the end of 2018.
The company will also add new OS features that give customers “more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery.” While the message is vague about what this means in practice (UI additions? Battery management software? We’re not sure yet), these features will come to iPhones through an iOS software update sometime in early 2018.
Apple may be able to boost the trust of some iPhone users with this battery replacement price reduction. However, it may frustrate those who have an iPhone model not covered by the program.
Some customers, though, have already been frustrated enough by Apple’s practices to take the company to court. The idea that Apple slowed down the performance of older iPhone models has been swirling for at least a year, and some customers have proposed class-action lawsuits against the company for allegedly hiding this practice. Those lawsuits also claim that customers looking to get their smartphone batteries replaced were encouraged to buy a new iPhone.
It’s important to note that Apple’s newest message doesn’t say it will stop slowing down the performance of old iPhones. Contrarily, Apple goes into detail about how this is a side effect of preventing unexpected shutdowns, and how battery age can affect a enhance the issue. Hopefully, Apple’s forthcoming software additions will make it easier for users to understand how their use habits affect their iPhone’s performance over time. That way users can possibly adjust their how they use their iPhone, the device’s settings, and other features to preserve the integrity of the battery for a bit longer.
The report from CB Insights listed Redfin along with Avalara, Rover, PayScale, OfferUp, Avvo, and INRIX as top IPO candidates for 2017. The fact that all the rest remained private was just one of the surprising developments of 2017 on the GeekWire 200, our ranking of the top privately held technology companies in the Pacific Northwest.
Continue reading for a rundown of all the twists and turns of 2017.
Several other startups moved on from the GeekWire 200 via acquisition. Consumer location analytics startup Placed was acquired by Snapchat parent company Snap in June for $135.1 million. It ranked number 62 at the time of the acquisition.
Simply Measured, a Seattle startup that provides social media marketing insights and the number 31 ranked startup on the list, was acquired by Sprout Social earlier this month.
In October, Virginia telemedicine provider Avizia acquired Carena, a Seattle-based startup that builds the technology behind virtual doctor’s visits. Sightbox, a startup based in Portland, Ore. that offers an annual membership for eye exams and contact lenses sold to Johnson & Johnson in September.
Top Dogs of 2017
The lack of IPOs didn’t leave much room at the top, but plenty of startups made big jumps in 2017, while others inched closer to the upper echelon. Work management company Smartsheet will finish 2017 in the fourth spot, jumping from number 12 a year ago. Vacation rental company Vacasa slipped into the top five, moving up one spot this month and jumping ahead of enterprise automation startup Puppet.
DocuSign, which just acquired the key technology and most of the team behind machine learning company Appuri, closes the year out in the #1 spot, just like it did last year. The electronic signature giant is not in a hurry to go public, so it could hold on to that top spot for a long time.
Second ranked Avalara hinted at the possibility of an IPO after raising $96 million last year, but didn’t commit to anything. It is set to move into a new Seattle headquarters building in 2018.
Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space venture, checked in at number three to end the year. Blue Origin is working on a suborbital spaceship called New Shepard, manufactured in Kent, Wash. The latest version of the spaceship successfully went through its first uncrewed flight test earlier this month in West Texas, and if all goes according to plan, people could start getting on board the next version sometime next year.
A $62 million funding round for the fast-growing Seattle on-demand trucking startup helped push Convoy into the top 50 of the GeekWire 200. Convoy provides a network matching trucking companies with shippers looking to move freight. Not only is it well-funded, but its list of backers is a tech all-star team: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Barry Diller and Marc Benioff among others.
Convoy doubled its workforce in eight months to 120 people as of June. Convoy’s employee count on LinkedIn now sits at 211.
The company, which won Startup of the Year at the 2017 GeekWire Awards, initially worked with smaller shippers doing short routes on the West Coast. But it has expanded its reach and is now inking deals with Fortune 500 companies like Anheuser-Busch and Unilever.
No company rose higher over the last 12 months than Seattle space startup Spaceflight Industries. In November, GeekWire reported that the company is seeking $150 million in new investment as it gets ready for a key rocket launch and a dramatic expansion of its satellite presence.
Spaceflight Industries has two main lines of business. One division, Spaceflight, focuses on launch services and mission management for rideshare payloads. The payloads go up on other companies’ rockets, including SpaceX’s Falcon 9, India’s PSLV and Orbital ATK’s Antares. The other, Black Sky, is building a constellation of Earth-observing satellites and a software platform that would let customers acquire low-cost imagery from orbit in as little as 90 minutes. The first prototype Black Sky satellite was launched a year ago, and 60 satellites are due to go into orbit by 2020.
The company’s backers include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management, RRE Venture Capital and Razor’s Edge Ventures.
In the deal, Donuts got both Rightside’s registry of domain name extensions such as .band, .dance and .sale and the registrar business that sells specific domain names to the public. Prior to the acquisition, Donuts owned close to 200 domain name extensions, including .movie, .LTD, .agency, .email, .school and .group.
The two companies — located just a few miles apart — have flirted in the past. Last year, Rightside turned down what it called an unsolicited and opportunistic offer from Donuts to buy its domain registry business for $70 million.
“Augmented writing” startup Textio vaulted 50 spots on the GeekWire 200 in the last 12 months as it continues to grow. The company, which provides a platform to help companies put together more effective job postings, raised $20 million over the summer to expand to other types of business writing.
Textio representatives said earlier this year they expected to have a head count of 55 to 60 at the end of the year. Its employee count now comes in at 65, according to LinkedIn, indicating the company is growing a little faster than expected.
Cryptocurrency mania took over the tech world toward the end of the year as Bitcoin surged to insane heights and caused panic when it started to drop. Seattle esports betting startup Unikrn operates in this brave new world with its own currency: UnikoinGold.
UnikoinGold is based on the Ethereum blockchain, which is similar to Bitcoin, and can be used on its platform to bet on esports matches. Those tokens can be exchanged for other major cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, which can then be exchanged for U.S. dollars.
The GeekWire 200 — sponsored by our partners at EY — is derived from our broader list of more than 1,200 Pacific Northwest tech startups. The list is designed to provide a better understanding of the startup landscape in the Northwest. The rankings are generated from publicly available data, including social media followings, approximate employee counts (via LinkedIn) and inbound web links.
To make sure your startup is eligible for inclusion in the GeekWire 200, first make sure it’s included in the broader Startup List. If so, there’s no need to submit it separately for the GeekWire 200. If your Pacific Northwest startup isn’t among the companies on that larger list, you can submit it for inclusion here, and our algorithm will crunch the numbers to see if your company makes next month’s GeekWire 200. (Please, no service providers, marketing agencies, etc.)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Apple just published a letter to customers apologizing for the "misunderstanding" around older iPhones being slowed down, following its recent admission that it was, in fact, slowing down older phones in order to compensate for degrading batteries. "We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down," says the company. "We apologize." Apple says in its letter that batteries are "consumable components," and is offering anyone with an iPhone 6 or later a battery replacement for $29 starting in late January through December 2018 — a discount of $50 from the usual replacement cost. Apple’s also promising to add features to iOS that provide more information about the battery health in early 2018, so that users are aware of when their batteries are no longer capable of supporting maximum phone performance.
The irony of working with cheap, dull knives in the kitchen is that you’re more likely to accidentally cut yourself than if you had razor-sharp blades to slice and dice with. But if you’re as skilled at sharpening knives as YouTube’s Kiwami Japan is, you can turn a dollar store blade into a tool for master chefs.
The transformation of this $1 blade is nothing short of astounding; it goes from barely being able to cut through a sheet of paper to turning a tomato into tissue-thin slices with minimal effort. Just don’t get any bright ideas about buying up cheap knives and sharpening them into kitchen tools worth hundreds of dollars. This knife unfortunately won’t hold its edge for long, and you’ll probably end up spending more time re-sharpening it than actually cooking.
I like to think that Sheppy got his tenacity to ferret out a deal from me. I don’t mind spending money, but I am going to spend less than anyone else for the same item. Shep and his Kinja Deals helped to save (spend) a lot this year.
My favorite deal—Shep, turn your eyes away—was the Ex-Officio underwear. There, I said it. Granny panties galore and what a deal. I am not a granny yet, by the way (Shep, get on that). Not only did I stock my drawers with drawers, I bought a bunch of these quick dry wonders for Shep’s younger brother too. He is a mountain man and Ex-Officio is the bomb for camping. He and I drove to Alaska in the fall. He started the trip with his 5 new pairs. By the time we got to Anchorage he only had the pair he was wearing. Not sure where he lost the rest along the way but we will hope this deal reappears in 2018.
I enjoy the fashion deals that Kinja has started listing. Fashionable, I am not, but I LOVE the Spyder Hayer Top I got recently. It makes me feel like Superman. Pretty, pretty sure if I wore it in a race, I would win. Like a marathon in under three hours kind of winning. Yep, that good. Also on the same running theme, Anker’s Soundbuds Curve Wireless headphones are the only bluetooth earbuds that have actually stayed in my ears when I run. They look kind of ridiculous, but they stay put and still allow me to listen for traffic. I can hear my 80’s music and trucks thundering by. Win-Win.
The McAllister house added a few Victorinox knives to the kitchen collection this year. These are the workhorses in my kitchen. They sharpen easily, and have never let me down. I have lost worthy competitors to butternut squashes. These knives hold up to everything.
The kitchen gadget I didn’t know I needed but now can not image life without is the Vremi Olive Oil Dispenser bottle. What a dirty spoon and time saver. Not sure how it hadn’t been invented before 2017 (editor’s note: it’s several years old), but I’m very glad someone came up with the idea, I just wish it had been me.
I jumped in on the Cutie’s Baby Wipe sale. My youngest baby is 23 years old, so clearly I am not using them on humans, but I can’t imagine not having wipes in the car to wash my hands after I actually have to shop in a real store. The volume of packages in this deal leads me to believe I will never have to order wipes again.
For the money saving winner of the year I’m going with the Zyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat for Back, Neck, Shoulders. I have a lot of problems with my neck and shoulder blades. A few cycles of this and I didn’t have to call for as many chiropractor and massage therapist appointments. Also, it is quite relaxing and puts me to sleep.
Sandusky’s Steel Garden Utility Wagon will handle anything I might come across in my garden that needs moving from one place to another. It’s much more stable for things like wood than a wheelbarrow. A good addition, and another item I didn’t know I needed until I saw it on Kinja Deals.
I purchased an Aukey phone car mount a while ago, and have bought several for other cars and family members since. It isn’t particularly noticeable in the car, but it has never failed to hold my hugely oversized iPhone 7+. Not sure if I will go for such a big phone next go-around, but I know I’ll stick with Aukey. Also in the family station wagon is iClever Boostdrive dual USB car charger. It sits flush in the power outlet. I don’t even know it is there until someone riding with me needs to power up their phone. A good change from the awful things that stuck out of sockets and toppled over from being so tall. Hooray for technology!
I got a Philips Norelco OneBlade for Shep’s brother who reports it is great. It was a good Kinja Deal price when I got it. Moms, if you have mountain men college age boys, keep your eye out for one of these if you want them to clean up for family gathering. Another Kinja Deal for him was Cowin’s E-7 Headphones. He got those for his birthday over the summer, and they are still going strong. I have seen them listed for sale a couple of times. I give them 2 thumbs up based on the fact that they still work after a semester in the dorm.
I had 210 Amazon orders for the year. Not a record, but a lot of shopping to be sure. Shep knows how to find a deal and I count on him to make sure I know I spent the least amount possible on things I didn’t know I needed until I saw them on Kinja.
The whole idea of cryptocurrency can be a little hard for the average joe to wrap their mind around. Perhaps this commercial parody from a recent episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers will help us understand Bitcoin, blockchain technology, and virtual economies better.