Tag Archives: Company / Industry News

CEO of ‘Builderman’ Roblox Goes to Wall Street with Troop of Young Gamers | Instant News


Chief Executive Roblox Corp. David Baszucki won the loyalty of tens of millions of videogamers with a do-it-yourself gaming approach that defies industry-specific formulas for success.

Roblox is slated to make its public market debut March 10 through direct listing, an unconventional process that allows companies to trade on the stock exchange without raising new capital. The company based in San Mateo, California, was founded in 2004, rotated from traditional public offerings last year after

By Dash Inc.

and

Airbnb Inc.

jumped beyond expectations in their IPO.

Roblox founder and CEO David Baszucki, pictured in 2018, is a frequent presence on the platform, under the name ‘Builderman.’


Photo:

Steve Jennings / Getty Images for TechCrunch

Roblox’s debut is coming as the coronavirus pandemic has prompted people to do so spend more money and time on video games than before. Tech valuations have surged over the past year – Roblox was personally worth $ 29.5 billion in January, up more than seven times from early 2020 – although the stocks have recently faltered amid shifting investor sentiment that an improved economy will benefit the sector other.

Instead of relying on Hollywood-like budgets and rock star talent to produce a few blockbuster games each year, Roblox is shifting game development to its own players. These players, especially teenagers and preteens, in turn produce their own hits and earn 70% of the revenue their work generates.

“We are like YouTube, except our content is a game, and our content allows everyone to play together,” Baszucki said in 2018 while speaking at his alma mater, Stanford University. The 58-year-old man himself often appears at Roblox, using the name “Builderman”.

This approach has earned Roblox an estimated 33 million daily users who can choose between tens of millions of multiplayer games, ranging from obstacle challenges and catch the flag iterations to contests based on popular characters like Peppa Pig and Sonic the Hedgehog. The company provides free tools and instructions that players – even those with no coding experience – can use to create games for its platform.

Samuel Jordan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, took a hiatus from college about a year ago to focus on creating games and other digital content for Roblox with his business partners. The 21-year-old, who participated in the company-run accelerator program in the summer of 2019, says he made about $ 600,000 last year from his Roblox creations, up from $ 30,000 in 2019.

“This is crazy,” Jordan said, adding that the pandemic was likely to contribute to a tremendous increase. More than 300 Roblox developers made $ 100,000 or more last year, the company said.

The health crisis provided significant fuel for Roblox’s business. Revenue grew 82% last year to $ 923.9 million, while orders – sales of virtual items on the platform – more than doubled to about $ 1.9 billion.

Samuel Jordan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says he made an estimated $ 600,000 last year from his Roblox creations.


Photo:

Maria Alejandra Cardona for The Wall Street Journal

London’s Alan and Sinéidin Cooper said their two daughters, ages 5 and 10, and 7-year-old son each spent about five hours a week at Roblox before the pandemic. Now that time is doubled because they are using the platform to connect with friends. The couple treated their kids to Robux worth around $ 40 to $ 45 per month.

“It’s a great way for them to socialize,” Mr said. Cooper.

Roblox hasn’t been able to turn user loyalty into profit, as its net loss in 2020 swelled to $ 253.3 million from $ 71 million a year earlier. The company has said it plans to continue investing in the platform, which can be used for distance learning, conferences and other group experiences, such as concerts.

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Like other online hangouts featuring user-generated content, Roblox has to contend with predators and troublemakers who target children with inappropriate material – a particular concern given that more than half of the platform’s users are under 13. The company says it has made significant steps to keep users safe, such as by adding a communication filter to eliminate offensive speech.

Supporters include the large venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Altos Ventures and Greylock Partners. David Sze, a Greylock partner, said the company invested in Roblox partly because of Mr. Baszucki. While other CEOs may have switched from business models after modest initial growth, Mr. Baszucki remains confident in Roblox’s user-created mission, says Sze.

“It’s like 10 years walking through the desert without anyone trusting you,” he said. “Dave against all odds.”

Mr. Baszucki, who declined to be interviewed for this article, started and then sold a software company that specialized in physics simulation before founding Roblox with fellow programmer Erik Cassel, who died of cancer in 2013. They started making games for the platform, but soon invite other players to create their own. Roblox was released to the public in 2006.

“We immediately realized what they were building was much more interesting and exciting than anything we had ever made,” Baszucki wrote in a Roblox securities filing. Mr Baszucki is the largest shareholder of the company and holds 70% of the voting rights. He will forego cash and equity compensation for seven years after Roblox goes public, and in return qualify for a performance-based stock award, which he intends to donate for philanthropic causes.

Mr. Baszucki was an investor in Friendster, an early competitor for

Facebook Inc.,

and he sees Roblox as a combination of Second Life’s social networking platform and online virtual world, said Matt Dusek, a Roblox start-up employee who left the company in 2019. “He sees things as further away than anyone else around him often does,” Said Mr. Dusek.

Samuel Jordan and his business partner Kyle Hulse outside their shared office space in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.


Photo:

Maria Alejandra Cardona for The Wall Street Journal

In the following years, Roblox gradually expanded its user base. Mr. Baszucki, as “Builderman,” will greet new players digitally, appearing as one of the platform’s signature box avatars and offering tips on how to get started. Popular games inspire players to become developers, who then make more games, attracting more users – the so-called network effect.

Roblox’s user-generated gaming strategy has won praise from industry leaders. Tim Sweeney, CEO of “Fortnite” creator of Epic Games Inc., credits the company for helping gamers become game makers. “Roblox has done a tremendous job building the ecosystem,” he said in an email.

Although the company has warned that people may spend less time with its games as the pandemic fades, it wants to continue to add to its base of more than 8 million developers. Similar to other videogame publishers, Roblox is also looking to join more brands like

Nike Inc.

and

Mattel Inc.

about marketing promotions.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at [email protected]

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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Ashley Graham on How the Fashion Industry Fails on Normal Sized Women | Instant News


Updated Feb 23, 2021 10:08 am ET

On Monday night, supermodel and businessman Ashley Graham joined forces WSJ. Magazine editor-in-chief Kristina O’Neill for intimate talks as part of the magazine’s conversation series, The One.

Graham, 33, who appears on the cover from WSJ.Spring Women’s Style Issues, addresses her return to the runway recently during Milan Fashion Week, where she featured for Fendi and Etro. It was a milestone not only because of the pandemic, but because it marked her first appearance since becoming a mother; her baby, Isaac, is nearly 13 months old. He also talked about how much progress the fashion industry needs to make in terms of inclusiveness. “There are many changes that have occurred. I have to say it’s still not enough, the fact that we’re still complimenting designers for one curvy girl for that one season…. The designer wants to say, This is our sample size and here is the size. But they are the ones who really structure the way they do business. ”

In his assistance Questionnaire OneGraham has also said that one thing he was taught last year is that he needs to slow down, and the one thing that surprises people the most when he finds out about him is that he is obsessed with tiny houses.

Watch the full interview below, and be sure to subscribe WSJ. Magazine on Youtube for more.

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Facebook will restore news in Australia after the government agrees to amend the bill | Instant News


Facebook Inc. will restore links to news articles in Australia, five days after blocking news from its platform in response to a proposed law requiring tech giants to pay publishers for their content.

“We are restoring the news on Facebook in Australia in the coming days,” said Campbell Brown, vice president of Facebook’s global news partnership, in a statement late Monday.

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said it had reached an agreement with the Australian government to amend the bill, allowing, among other things, a two-month mediation period to reach an agreement with the issuer before entering arbitration proceedings if an agreement cannot be concluded.

“After further discussion, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers in relation to the value we receive from them,” Facebook said in a separate statement. .

The resolution comes after talks between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg over the weekend.

The social media giant suddenly blocked news articles from its platform last Wednesday in response to upcoming legislation, in motion invite criticism. At the time, Facebook said that the Australian government “fundamentally misunderstood the relationship between our platform and the publishers using it”.

Alphabet
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GOOG,
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Google, faces the same regulations, instead entered into a series of deals with Australian news publishers to obey the law.

The Australian Parliament is expected to approve the bill – which is meant to support journalism – soon. Other countries, including Canada, see the Australian model as a roadmap for additional regulation in their country.

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Texas Blackout Raises Australian Banks To $ 215 Million | Instant News


Freeze it plunging millions of Texans into darkness rippling through energy markets in unpredictable ways, yielding financial gains for Australian banks and severe suffering for other companies caught in the disruption.

Extreme weather froze wind turbines and oil and gas wells, shut down oil refineries and pushed power plants out of operation, sending shocks through energy markets. Wholesale electricity prices skyrocketed, as did spot prices for natural gas in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas.

The turbulence brings profit to commodity traders at Macquarie Group Ltd. Australia, whose ability to deliver gas and electricity across the country allows it to take advantage of soaring demand and prices in states like Texas.

The bank raised its guidance on Monday for revenue this year through March to reflect windfall winds. It said that the net profit after tax would be 5% to 10% higher than for fiscal year 2020. That equates to an increase of up to 273.1 million Australian dollars or the equivalent of approximately $ 215 million. In an earlier guide, issued Feb.9, Macquarie said it expects profits to drop slightly in 2020.

“Extreme winter weather conditions in North America have significantly increased short-term client demand for Macquarie’s ability to maintain critical physical supplies across the commodity complex, and in particular in relation to gas and electricity,” the bank said.

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The Australian Prime Minister urged Facebook to lift the news blockade | Instant News


CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian Prime Minister on Friday urged Facebook to lift the blockade of Australian users and return to the negotiating table with news publishing businesses, warning that other countries will follow their government’s example in getting the digital giant to pay for journalism.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Facebook’s move on Thursday to prevent Australians from accessing and sharing news as a threat.

The blockade has raised disputes with the government over whether powerful tech companies should pay news organizations for content.

“The idea of ​​shutting down the kind of site they did yesterday was a kind of threat – I know how Australians are reacting to it and I don’t think it’s a good move on their part,” Morrison told reporters.

“They have to move quickly past that, get back to the table and we will finish it,” he added.

There is public outrage about how Facebook is
FB,
-1.53%

The blockade was imprudent, cutting off access – at least temporarily – to the pandemic, public health and emergency services.

Newspaper headlines included: “No likes for non-social networks”, and “Face lock”.

An article about how fake news will replace credible journalism on the Australian feed carries the headline: “The ‘fake book’ shows that it only matters profit, not people.”

Several non-Australian outlets also appeared affected, with posts disappearing from the UK’s Daily Telegraph and Sky News Facebook pages. The two share names with news outlets in Australia.

The blockade was a response to the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening passing a bill that would see Facebook and Google pay Australian media companies fair compensation for journalism linked by the platform. A law must be passed by the Senate to become law.

Alphabet
GOOGL,
-0.60%

GOOG,
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Google has responded promptly to work on content licensing deals with major Australian media companies under its own News Showcase model.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
NWS,
-1.35%

has announced a broad agreement with Google covering operations in the United States and United Kingdom as well as Australia. Australia’s premier media organization, Seven West Media
SWM,
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also reached an agreement earlier in the week. Rival Nine Entertainment
NEC,
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reportedly approaching the pact itself, and the Australian Broadcasting Corp. state property is negotiating.

Morrison said he discussed Facebook’s dispute with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Morrison also discussed proposed Australian legislation with the leaders of Britain, Canada and France.

“There is a lot of global interest in what Australia is doing,” Morrison said. “That’s why I invite, as we did with Google, Facebook to engage constructively because they know that what Australia is going to do here is likely to be followed by many other Western jurisdictions.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the minister in charge of the proposed News Media Bargain Code, had a phone conversation with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg after the blockade started on Thursday and again on Friday.

“We discussed their remaining problems & agreed that our respective teams would resolve them soon. We’ll talk again over the weekend, ”tweeted Frydenberg on Friday.

“I affirm that Australia remains committed to implementing the code,” added Frydenberg.

Frydenberg stated that Facebook had been in constructive negotiations with the Australian media regarding a payment agreement immediately before the sudden blockade.

Facebook said on Thursday that the proposed Australian legislation “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and the publishers using it.”

Morrison said his government was “happy to hear them on technical matters” but remained determined to pass the law.

“You can’t help but be friends with Australia because Australia is very friendly,” said Morrison. “We want to remain friends and this is the time they are friends with us again.”

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