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Andreessen Horowitz launches free crypto startup school – TechCrunch



Last month, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) general partner Chris Dixon announced at TechCrunch Disrupt that the VC firm would run a free crypto startup school. And the company is officially launching its school today. Applications are now open and you have four weeks to apply.

With this initiative, a16z wants to democratize cryptocurrencies. Dixon and the a16z has been involved in the cryptocurrency/blockchain space for 7 years, and the firm now wants to share some of its learnings with entrepreneurs.

This way, it could give a boost to the crypto community, which could create investment opportunities for a16z down the road — a16z says clearly that participating in the crypto startup school doesn’t mean you’ll receive an investment from a16z. It also positions a16z as a thoughtful investor when it comes to crypto startup investments — not just for participants of the crypto startup school but for the crypto community at large.

The a16z Crypto Startup School will be a seven-week program that starts in February 21, 2020. The program is free and a16z doesn’t take any equity.

Lectures will take place in Menlo Park, so you have to be based in Silicon Valley or willing to spend a couple of months there. a16z knows that it can be challenging to move to another country just to attend this program, that’s why the firm will also be recording all lectures. Anyone will be able to watch videos and download curriculum materials later.

Here’s a sneak peek of the course outline:

  • What are Crypto Networks, and Why Do They Matter?
  • Blockchain Computing Primitives: Cryptography and Consensus
  • Overview of Application Development Tools
  • Applications: Today and 2025
  • Crypto Business Models
  • Cryptoeconomics
  • UX, Product Development and Security
  • Go-to-Market Strategy and Developer Relations
  • Community Participation and Governance
  • Regulatory Landscape and Considerations
  • Guide to Fundraising

As you can, it’s a mix of lectures purely focused on cryptocurrencies as well as broader startup 101 lessons (fundraising, go-to-market strategy, etc.).

a16z is looking for 20 to 25 teams, which should represent approximately 40 participants. You should have prior experience when it comes to building software products, but you don’t need to be a crytpo expert. They can expect 12 to 15 hours of lectures, workshops, mentorship and networking opportunities per week.

At the end of the course, participants will showcase a project idea or a prototype during a demo day.


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Disney Plus doc The Imagineering Story takes a beautiful theme park tour




The Imagineering Story traces the history of Disney Parks from their earliest days.


Documentaries probably aren’t the first thing that spring to mind when you think of the new Disney Plus streaming service. Most of us are thinking about the original Star Wars and Marvel shows, the vast library of classic movies, or revisiting obscure shows of our childhoods. 

Still, Disney Parks are a pillar of the company’s business, and The Imagineering Story promises a tantalizing peek behind the curtain. The six-episode documentary — narrated by Angela Bassett and directed by Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible‘s Leslie Iwerks — premieres on Disney’s streaming service on Nov. 12. I got access to the first two engaging episodes. 


Walt Disney is center stage in the first episode.


The first focuses on founder Walt Disney, providing a nice emotional through line as it traces the origins of his theme park idea in the late ’40s. The documentary shows how revered he was by employees and how demanding he was as a boss, but doesn’t reveal much about who he was beneath the kindly exterior. 

After choosing Anaheim, California, as the location for Disneyland, Walt gathers the Imagineers (a term referring to imagination engineering, popularized by Disney) to design it. Even though Disney Parks have been rooted in pop culture for decades now, it’s cool to be reminded of the ambition behind them.

We’re smoothly guided through the project to its 1955 opening day — a disaster due to overcrowding, high temperatures and plumbing problems. There’s a wealth of archival footage, interspersed with present-day interviews, so you get a sense of how uncomfortable and chaotic it must’ve been.

The real meat of the documentary comes when it focuses on iconic rides like the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Original designer Bob Gurr (who’s now 88) is fascinating to listen to as he outlines what Walt tasked him with. Seeing the original schematics for this 50-year-old roller coaster — and the secret basketball hoop workers set up in its bowels — is surprisingly exciting, like you’re being guided into a world few people have seen.


The documentary looks at the model who inspired Haunted Mansion fortune-teller Madame Leota.


We also get in-depth looks at It’s A Small World (with its love-it-or-hate-it theme song) and Pirates of the Caribbean (which has an epic tune). The documentary’s close look at the animatronic figures that populate these rides will make you appreciate them in a whole new way.

Picking up after Walt’s death in 1966, the second episode focuses on the construction of Disney World in Florida and Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). Walt envisioned this as a futuristic city containing businesses, residential areas and mass transportation systems, but his successors ultimately scaled it down into a theme park celebrating human achievement.

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The documentary highlights some of Walt’s wild concepts, and reminds us how impressive the finished Epcot actually is — it contained voice recognition tech and touchscreens long before they entered the mainstream. It also touches on the mass layoffs that happened after it was done in 1982, keeping the human element in focus.


The artists behind Disney Parks shine in this documentary series.


We also get an engaging deep dive into the creation of the Haunted Mansion, but Space Mountain is glossed over a bit too quickly. Much of the rest of the episode is devoted to Disneyland Tokyo and the Japanese love of all things Disney — adding a lively cultural dimension to the series. 

Overall, the first two episodes of The Imagineering Story balance the creative and design sides of Disney Park history with the human stories. It’s a little sanitized — we don’t hear from guests or any cast members who have to wear bulky costumes all day — and sometimes you’ll wish it dug deeper into your favorite ride. But it’s hard not to come away with a massive appreciation for the people who made these incredible theme parks possible.

Originally published Nov. 4. 


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2 reasons why the 'Shining' sequel 'Doctor Sleep' flopped at the box office



doctor sleep

  • “Doctor Sleep,” a sequel to “The Shining” based on Stephen King’s book of the same name, made just $14 million domestically over the weekend.
  • Box-office experts say that the studio Warner Bros.’ made two drastic mistakes: marketing it as a “Shining” sequel and not releasing it during the Halloween season.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“Doctor Sleep,” from “The Haunting of Hill House” director Mike Flanagan, seemed like a winner not long ago. 

Going into the movie’s opening weekend, the studio Warner Bros. was projected to make up to $30 million domestically. Boxoffice Pro predicted a $25 million haul, while Box Office Mojo projected $27 million. But when initial box-office numbers rolled in on Friday — and it had made just $1.5 million in Thursday night previews — the movie’s outlook dimmed.

“‘Doctor Sleep’ was unable to parlay its connection to ‘The Shining’ into an expected $25 million to $30 million-plus weekend and the tracking was clearly off by a country mile,” Paul Dergarbedian, the Comscore senior media analyst, told Business Insider.

“Doctor Sleep” ultimately earned a catastrophic $14 million domestically over the weekend, coming in well below expectations and even finishing second at the box office behind Roland Emmerich’s “Midway.” With a $45 million budget, “Doctor Sleep” could lose at least $20 million for Warner Bros. when all is said and done, according to Deadline. 

The Hollywood Reporter reported on Monday that the studio “scrambled to understand what went so wrong” on Sunday morning. Warner Bros. did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider.

So, what did go so wrong for “Doctor Sleep”?

Younger audiences don’t care about ‘The Shining’

Horror is one of the most reliable genres at the box office in recent years, with hits like “Get Out,” “It,” and “A Quiet Place.” “Doctor Sleep” had that going for it, along with its connection to a horror classic — or so the industry thought.

The marketing for “Doctor Sleep” heavily pushed the movie’s connection to “The Shining,” Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror movie starring Jack Nicholson. The two posters below are clear examples.

doctor sleep

But Warner Bros. overestimated “The Shining’s” influence among younger audiences, according to box-office experts.

“Sometimes a cinematic connection that is meaningful to film buffs and movie fans — particularly from a movie that is over 30 years old — falls on deaf ears with younger viewers,” Dergarbedian said. 

“39 years was simply too long between sequels,” Jeff Bock, the Exhibitor Relations senior media analyst, told Business Insider.

Bock added that many viewers were likely confused as to whether “Doctor Sleep” was a sequel or a reboot, and were therefore turned off from the movie.

Warner Bros.’ other mistake was not releasing the movie earlier during the Halloween season, according to Bock.

“There was certainly a window to do so, and honestly, they fumbled it,” Bock said. “It cost them millions.”

“Doctor Sleep” is the latest in a series of box-office flops for Warner Bros. this year. Two of its high-budget sequels, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” and “It: Chapter Two,” performed way below their predecessors. And “The Goldfinch” and “The Kitchen” are two of the biggest flops of the year. 

SEE ALSO: ‘Midway’ $17.5 million opening weekend box office win marks lowest November champ in 20 years

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Google signs healthcare data and cloud computing deal with Ascension



FILE PHOTO: An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich, Switzerland December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google signed its biggest cloud computing customer in healthcare yet, according to an announcement on Monday, gaining with the deal datasets that could help it tune potentially lucrative artificial intelligence tools.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Google teaming up with Ascension to collect personal health-related information of millions of Americans across 21 states. (

The partnership will also explore artificial intelligence and machine learning applications to help improve clinical effectiveness as well as patient safety, Ascension said in a statement.

Google Cloud Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kurian has made it a priority in his first year on the job to aggressively chase business from leaders in six industries, including healthcare.

The company previously had touted smaller healthcare clients, such as the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine.

Google has spent several years developing artificial intelligence to automatically analyze MRI scans and other patient data to identify diseases and make predictions aimed at improving outcomes and reducing cost.

Ascension, which operates 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities across United States, said the partnership is in compliance with the U.S. data privacy act HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which safeguards medical information.

The Journal reported that the data involved in the project includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, complete with patient names and dates of birth.

The news follows an earlier announcement from Google that it would buy Fitbit Inc (FIT.N) for $2.1 billion, aiming to enter the wearables segment and invest in digital health.

Reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco and Ambhini Aishwarya in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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