I'm at a secret undisclosed location, but rest assured, we will have plenty of coverage of both F8 and Apple earnings tomorrow. Check out the Axios tech stream and tomorrow's Login for all the latest.
As Facebook’s F8 developer conference kicks off today, the company will face a similar challenge as last year — appearing exciting to developers while sufficiently humble to a world tired of its breaches, apologies and excuses.
The backdrop: Last year the company managed to strike that balance well, announcing its plans to take its responsibilities seriously even as it branched into new areas, including sensitive ones like dating.
Where it stands: A year in, though, the stakes have increased on both fronts. That said Facebook's market position remains enviably strong. As we detailed in Axios AM this morning, the company remains a healthy and vibrant business and a critical platform for both advertisers and consumers.
Reality check: The onslaught of bad press has taken a toll on Facebook's reputation, according to a recent Axios Harris poll. But it hasn't sparked any kind of mass exodus from the social network.
Between the lines: Zuckerberg has never been more fully in control of the company.
Our thought bubble: If this is what Facebook looks like when it's back on its heels, it's hard to imagine how dominant the social networking giant would be if it were, say, leaning in.
Anki's latest robot, Vector, went on sale last October for $249. Photo: Anki
As of last fall, Anki seemed to be winning where other companies had fallen short: Making a go of a consumer robot that was more fun but less powerful than a smartphone.
In the end, though, the maker of Cozmo and Vector suffered the same fate as the others, announcing Monday it was shutting down and laying off its entire staff despite having raised more than $200 million in funding.
What's happening: Anki found itself at the intersection of two very tough businesses — kids' tech toys and consumer robotics. A number of promising startups have gone out of businesses, while others, such as Sphero, are pivoting to the education market.
What they're saying:
The big picture: The company had a long-term vision for a digital robot along the lines of Richie Rich's Irona or the Jetson's Rosie, but knew that was a decade away. They had hoped to amass the technology — fund the path there — by selling robots with more limited capabilities.
The bottom line: This is a space ripe for innovation, but it's going to be tough to get there if startups can't stay in business.
Photo: Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images
Airbnb used to be seen as a direct competitor to hotels — but the lines between the two are increasingly becoming blurred.
What's new: Not only did Airbnb recently acquire HotelTonight, which is a last-minute hotel booking company, but it’s getting into the business of operating hotels itself, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Why it matters: Airbnb has long presented itself as an alternative to hotels, promoting the idea of experiencing a destination “like a local” by staying in a host’s home.
Yes, but: Airbnb has long allowed professionally managed vacation rentals in certain locations onto its marketplace, so it has not been entirely hostile to professional accommodations.
Now, with its acquisition of HotelTonight, investment into Lyric, and deal with RXR Realty, it’s fully embracing hotels.
Our thought bubble: This could be a smart move as Airbnb inches closer to going public, when it will need to show investors a diversified revenue stream.
Steve Ballmer's USAFacts is out with its third annual report looking at the world through the eyes of government data. His nonprofit is founded on the belief that, armed with more details, voters will be able to make better decisions.
Among the findings:
What they're saying:
"It seems like such a simple thing to bring together the data produced by our own government so we can get a clear picture of how we are doing as a country — but the reality is no one agency is tasked with it, and a lot of it is hard to find."
"We know the solutions to the challenges we identify in this annual report will be the subject of hot debate, but we should all be able to see the facts and agree that these are the challenges.”— USAFacts founder Steve Ballmer, to Axios
Check out the 2020 presidential candidates, as emoji.