Fancy cars, fine dining, creator mansions, cash: Triller is shelling out for talent

When talk of a possible TikTok ban began in July, the leaders of a small social video app called Triller saw a growth opportunity.

To attract users, the company set its sights on TikTok’s biggest names. Some of the Sway Boys, a group of TikTok influencers, had been toying with the idea of building their own app to compete with TikTok, but after a discussion with Ryan Kavanaugh, the majority owner of Triller and a veteran entertainment executive, they decided the platform could be good for them.

Triller offered the creators a deal: Tell your audience on TikTok that you’re moving to Triller, and we’ll give you equity and roles within the company. You can still post on TikTok, they were told, but only if you post on Triller more frequently. In turn, of the Sway Boys, Josh Richards, 18, was named Triller’s chief strategy officer, and Griffin Johnson, 21, and Noah Beck, 19, joined as advisers with equity.

Soon, CNBC, Fox News and the Los Angeles Times were writing about TikTok defectors bound for Triller, an app they described as a viable replacement for TikTok should a ban be put in place. In August, Triller announced it was seeking a new funding round of $250 million, hiking its valuation to over $1 billion.

But could it live up to the hype?

Getting that ‘Triller money’

Founded in 2015, Triller bills itself as an app for making professional-looking music videos, quickly. Functionally, it’s different from TikTok: It has different editing tools; its users can’t “duet,” or react to videos; and while it offers top singles and hit songs, it lacks the extensive library of sounds and mash-ups that TikTok users employ to express themselves.

“I think there’s a lot of things on Triller that TikTok doesn’t have and vice versa;

PlayStation Creator Is Now Doing Something Completely Different

The creator of the original PlayStation console is back to make new machines, though they probably aren’t what you’d expect. Ken Kutaragi has moved from video games to robots, and he aims to help human workers with factory jobs.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Kutaragi explained that as CEO of Ascent Robotics, a company founded in 2016, he is not receiving a salary and wants to solve problems caused by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has turned the old argument about robots taking our jobs on its head,” he said. “It’s pretty clear now that if we want to arrive at a new normal, we need more and more robots in our daily lives.”

Increased automation has certainly been a concern across numerous industries, with machines taking the place of cashiers, assembly workers, and even cooks. With the pandemic putting peoples’ lives at risk, however, at least a temporary increase in automation may be necessary. The machines working alongside humans could reduce person-to-person contact which would in turn limit chances for the virus to be transmitted.

In Kutaragi’s case, he’s aiming to create new technology related to autonomous driving and more traditional robotics, including an arm that can pick items out using a camera.

Kutaragi left his position at Sony in 2007, the year after it launched the PlayStation 3. He had served as chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment (now Sony Interactive Entertainment), and was succeeded by Kaz Harai, arguably a more recognizable figure who has spawned countless memes. Harai went on to lead all of Sony as CEO for several years. The PlayStation brand is still strong, of course, with the PS5 due to launch next month.

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PlayStation Creator Is Now Focused On Robotics, Autonomous Driving

The creator of the original PlayStation console is back to make new machines, though they probably aren’t what you’d expect. Ken Kutaragi has moved from video games to robots, and he aims to help human workers with factory jobs.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Kutaragi explained that as CEO of Ascent Robotics, a company founded in 2016, he is not receiving a salary and wants to solve problems caused by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has turned the old argument about robots taking our jobs on its head,” he said. “It’s pretty clear now that if we want to arrive at a new normal, we need more and more robots in our daily lives.”

Increased automation has certainly been a concern across numerous industries, with machines taking the place of cashiers, assembly workers, and even cooks. With the pandemic putting peoples’ lives at risk, however, at least a temporary increase in automation may be necessary. The machines working alongside humans could reduce person-to-person contact which would in turn limit chances for the virus to be transmitted.

In Kutaragi’s case, he’s aiming to create new technology related to autonomous driving and more traditional robotics, including an arm that can pick items out using a camera.

Kutaragi left his position at Sony in 2007, the year after it launched the PlayStation 3. He had served as chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment (now Sony Interactive Entertainment), and was succeeded by Kaz Harai, arguably a more recognizable figure who has spawned countless memes. Harai went on to lead all of Sony as CEO for several years. The PlayStation brand is still strong, of course, with the PS5 due to launch next month.

Want us to remember this

Spain detains software creator McAfee wanted in US

Anti-virus software creator John McAfee, who is wanted in the United States for tax evasion, has been arrested at Barcelona airport, police said Tuesday.

Officers detained the 75-year-old on Saturday as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul and he was being held at a jail near Barcelona awaiting extradition to the United States, a Spanish police source told AFP.

His arrest comes a day after US prosecutors released an indictment against McAfee for allegedly failing to report income made from promoting crypto-currencies, making speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a TV documentary.

The indictment, which was issued in June but only unsealed on Monday, said McAfee failed to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018, despite receiving “considerable income” from several sources.

McAfee allegedly evaded taxes by directing his income to be paid into bank accounts and crypto-currency exchange accounts in the names of others, according to the indictment.

He is also accused of evading the US tax office by concealing assets, including real estate, a yacht and a car, by putting them in the name of others.

US officials issued an arrest warrant through Interpol and have asked for his extradition, according to Spanish police.

Since making a fortune with his eponymous antivirus software in the 1980s that still bears his name, McAfee has become a self-styled crypto-currency guru, claiming to make $2,000 a day. He has nearly one million followers on Twitter.   

He suddenly became tabloid grist after moving to Belize and his neighbour in the Central American country was mysteriously murdered in 2012, a crime that remains unsolved. 

When the police found him living with a 17-year-old girl and discovered a large arsenal of weapons in his home, McAfee disappeared on a month-long flight that drew breathless media coverage.  

McAfee software creator jailed in Spain, sources say

FILE PHOTO: John McAfee, co-founder of McAfee Crypto Team and CEO of Luxcore and founder of McAfee Antivirus, speaks at the Malta Blockchain Summit in St Julian’s, Malta November 1, 2018. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

BARCELONA (Reuters) – John McAfee, an anti-virus software creator indicted for fraud in the United States, was in jail on Tuesday pending extradition procedures after being arrested in Barcelona airport at the weekend, sources said.

The McAfee software founder was detained on Saturday when about to board a flight to Istanbul with a British passport, a Spanish police source said.

A judicial source said McAfee was then presented to a high court judge through a video call and sent to prison without bail where he will await the extradition process.

A third source, from the Catalonia region’s justice department, said he was in the Brians 1 jail, which opened in 1991 in an industrial area 45 minutes by car from Barcelona. Some local politicians have been jailed there for corruption.

After he was arrested, McAfee’s official Instagram account posted a “Free McAfee” message with a photo of him. The person running the account did not return a message seeking comment.

No other representatives were immediately contactable.

U.S. federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Monday against McAfee over charges that he evaded taxes and wilfully failed to file returns.

That came shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed it had brought civil charges against McAfee, alleging he made over $23.1 million in undisclosed compensation from false and misleading cryptocurrency recommendations.

He is alleged to have earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies, as well as through consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

Reporting by Joan Faus, Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Andrew Cawthorne