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The 10 most important things in the world right now
Posted December 15, 2015 11:37 PM
The 10 most important things in the world right now

Slack, the red-hot startup worth $2.8 billion, just launched its own VC fund and app store

In less than two years, Slack turned itself into a massively popular business-messaging app worth $2.8 billion.

Now, Slack wants to be more than just a work-messaging app.

It wants to be a broader platform that grows its software into a central hub for all work communications.

It also wants to be an investor.

On Tuesday, the 2-year-old startup launched a new $80 million VC fund that will primarily invest in startups building apps on top of Slack, and an app store called App Directory, where users can download third-party apps that integrate with Slack.

"We really want to encourage all kinds of different applications on our platform," Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield told Business Insider. "We've worked with a number of big companies to do integrations, but we're also investing in really cool little things starting up."

Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg reveals the two quotes that influence how she spends her time (FB)

Walk through Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters and you'll be visually bombarded with dozens of different minimalistic posters plastered with phrases like "Done is Better than Perfect" and "Move Fast and Break Things."

The motivational quips really do act as rallying cries for employees, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

In a recent posting spree on the question-and-answer site Quora, Sandberg described how she plans her day, attributing part of her organizational inspiration to two of those posters in particular. 

"Two of my favorites say 'Ruthless Prioritization' and 'The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty,'" she writes. "Those posters influence how I plan my day — I spend my time on what matters most, and I still get my hands dirty every day."

2015 was the year of media companies that died, then came back to life

On March 9, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. Media sites flooded the internet with coverage of Tim Cook's every utterance. Thousands of words were dedicated to drooling over or hating on the shiny piece of metal that will change this world.

Among those media sites was Gigaom, a pioneering technology blog founded by Om Malik in 2006.

Nine years later, Malik had stepped aside from the day-to-day operations. I was a part of the editorial team carrying on its legacy as a niche, but informative part of the tech media scene.

Hours after Tim Cook left the stage just blocks from our office, I got an email that we had an all-hands meeting that afternoon.

By the end of the day, I typed out the words "Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time...." 

Gigaom, like many media companies before it, had shut down.

This one chart gives you an idea of how crazy Amazon's cloud growth really is (AMZN)

Amazon Web Services turned out to be a profitable, fast-growing cloud computing juggernaut when it first revealed its financials earlier this year

But this chart by market research firm MKM Partners should give you a better idea of exactly how impressive AWS's growth has been compared to some of its enterprise IT peers:

AWS is seeing 78% year-on-year revenue growth, an astonishing growth rate compared to other large cap enterprise vendors on this list that had an average growth rate of a mere 6%. That's more than double the growth rate of Salesforce — arguably the fastest growing cloud software maker — and doesn't even come close to some of the old guards like Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP.

Here's what it was like inside Yahoo's lavish Roaring 20s-themed party that reportedly cost the company millions (YHOO)

On Monday morning, Eric Jackson, manager of hedge fund SpringOwl, sent a brutal 99-page presentation to Yahoo's board outlining his case for why the company should drop Marissa Mayer as CEO and find new management.

Among Jackson's grievances about Yahoo is everything Mayer has blown money on, from failed acquisitions to lavish parties and sponsorships.

He claims that a December 2014 party had a photo shoot that cost Yahoo $70,000 alone, and that the company's Roaring 20s-themed holiday party this year at Pier 48 in San Francisco cost $7 million. A source told Vice that the cost was actually less than a third of Jackson's claimed $7 million.

Why it's so important for Apple Music to support Sonos (AAPL)

Starting today, Apple Music customers can stream music to Sonos wireless speaker systems.

Why does that matter? This data from CE Pro, charted for us by Statista, shows that Sonos is by far and away the most popular wireless audio system used by the 100 largest custom electronics installers.

Credit first-mover advantage: Sonos was founded in 2002, and became the first widespread wireless music system that audiophiles like. One reason is that Sonos has always had an option to set up a dedicated wireless network, so your music doesn't have to travel over the same crowded Wi-Fi network as the rest of the data in your home.

A Brooklyn comedian has launched a Facebook campaign to stop a 'racist' bill from passing Congress

Congress is getting ready to vote on a bill that will make it harder for people of certain ethnic backgrounds to enter the US from overseas, even if they're US citizens.

One comic from Brooklyn from is so appalled, she's taken to Facebook in the hopes to muster a lot of last-minute backlash against the bill.

Mitra Jouhari's Facebook campaign is part of a bigger internet push to get people aware of the bill and voice their disfavor of it.

The bill is 

A top Apple exec explains the genius master plan behind its quiet smash hit (AAPL)

Apple's Swift programming language may not have been endorsed by Drake or advertised on TV with a nerdy inside joke like Apple's other services, but it's looking like a smash hit all the same.

Swift, first introduced by Apple in 2014, earned itself a lot of developer interest in a short time for its speed and relative simplicity.

In December of 2015, Apple took the huge step of releasing Swift as open source, meaning any developer anywhere can download the language's source code and improve it to their liking.

Five must-know retail trends in mobile and social marketing

Growth in smartphone and social media usage is setting the basis for all types of retail marketing trends. In a new report from BI Intelligence, we'll look at individual trends within mobile and social media. 

Some of the trends analyzed in the report, include: 

US consumers are spending the majority of their time in shopping apps rather than mobile shopping websites, according to comScore. In response, Apple recently launched a new category in its App Store called "Shopping," which makes it easier for users to find retailers' apps. Creating a dedicated section for retail apps is a huge benefit for brands that are looking to boost mobile app engagement, as searching the App Store is the No. 1 way users discover new apps. Many beacon programs went mainstream during the holidays this year. The rise of mobile shopping apps has served as a proxy for proximity-based marketing systems such as beaco...