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What Ideas Are Trending Among Tech’s Biggest Influencers?

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Y Combinator, one of best-known Silicon Valley accelerators, has an impressive track record of success. With well-timed investments in Dropbox, Stripe, and Airbnb, the startups in the company’s portfolio are now worth an aggregate of $600 billion in market capitalization.

While Y Combinator has made a clear impact on the tech sector, the company also launched an internal side project in 2007 that would end up becoming highly influential in a different and surprising way.

Its user-powered news aggregator called Hacker News, which is now visited by 20 million people per month, has become a mainstay for entrepreneurs, tech professionals, and venture capitalists around the world. Using a Reddit-like interface, users can upvote and downvote articles that they think have the most relevance to trends and issues affecting the tech sector.

Data Mining For Trends

Today’s charts come to us from Variance Explained, and they help to paint a picture of what topics have been trending on Hacker News over the last 3.5 years.

Using data from over 1 million subject lines, we can see which topics are being mentioned with increasing frequency by the site’s community of technology influencers.

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As you can see, words like “AI”, “artificial”, “bot”, “deep”, “neural”, and “learning” are key terms that have growing interest within the community. It shows that the buzz around AI and deep learning is widespread and happening on multiple fronts.

Donald Trump was also a hot topic of debate in Hacker News, as evidenced by the increase in mentions.

Cooling Off

Here are some of the words in the community used with decreasing frequency over the same 3.5 year timeframe:

The fastest-declining words in Hacker News titles

Over time, as the rubber hits the road, we get to see which ideas have staying power.

Google Glass, as cool as it was, ended up not directly revolutionizing how we use augmented reality. Likewise, Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA and surveillance seemed to have also dropped out of discussion.

On the flipside, some of these concepts also seem to have transitioned to the mainstream. Bitcoin and other altcoins, for example, are now more popular than ever before with a market capitalization of over $100 billion. Likewise, iPads, Gmail, and Kickstarter are pretty ubiquitous, but it could be argued that discussion on these topics is now pretty staid for the idea-hungry folks that frequent Hacker News.

Blockchain vs. Bitcoin

It’s also interesting to see the contrasting popularity of two related terms among Hacker News participants.

Bitcoin-related talk, at least on Hacker News, was hot in late-2013 after the price skyrocketed for the first time. The blockchain, on the other hand, took some time to pick up steam among influencers.

The popularity of Blockchain vs. Bitcoin on Hacker News

Fast-forward to today, and the concept of the blockchain is much more fleshed out.

It took time, but the blockchain is now considered to be a foundational technology that is affecting everything from how how stock markets work, to the proof of ownership for digital assets.

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Chart of the Week

The eSports Boom, and the Numbers Behind the Sector’s Explosive Growth

Everything you need to know about the eSports Boom, including the sector’s rapid growth, massive prize pools, and the most valuable eSports companies today.

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The oldest professional sport teams can trace their start back to the mid-19th century, a period when casual past times such as baseball or football transitioned into more organized leagues.

Since this tipping point, pro sports has thrived around the world, and the business of sports has evolved into a multi-billion dollar ecosystem for teams, leagues, players, merchandisers, sponsors, broadcasters, and event spaces.

Today, this evolution still continues – and it is being driven by the emergence of eSports (electronic sports), an exciting frontier for fans and business alike.

eSports Extravaganza

Today’s chart breaks down the eSports boom, including data on the sector’s rapid growth, prize pools, and the most valuable eSports companies today.

Visualizing the eSports Boom, and the Numbers Behind Its Explosive Growth

Despite having a reputation in the media and in popular culture as being on the fringes, it is clear that gaming is now a truly mainstream phenomenon.

In fact, the global gaming industry has now eclipsed $135 billion in revenue worldwide – a figure that is twice as much as the film and music industries combined.

With hundreds of millions of avid fans around the world, demand to watch the most elite gamers has reached a fever pitch – and now, it’s not uncommon to see sold-out arenas, big name sponsorship deals, and massive prize pools in the name of eSports.

Defining the eSports Ecosystem

Like any professional league, eSports creates the foundation for an entire ecosystem of opportunities.

Players
Players are central to the ecosystem, since they are the stars and they have their own personalities. One famous star is Kuro Takhasomi (KuroKy), who has brought in a whopping $4.2 million in prize money from Dota 2 tournaments so far. He has earned more than any other player in eSports.

Teams
Because the games played are mostly team-based, there is a crucial element of teamwork involved. eSports franchises are currently selling for millions of dollars. It’s worth noting that these franchises don’t just employ players – they also hire staff that can better ensure the success of players, such as coaches, trainers, and personal chefs.

Games and Developers
Some of the most important games in the eSports world right now include: Dota 2, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite, and Call of Duty.

Competitions
Leagues and tournaments can offer massive prize pools for players. The biggest single pool so far was $25.5 million, offered for a Dota 2 tournament in 2017 (“The International”). It’s the second-largest prize pool offered in any kind of sport, behind the U.S. Open (tennis).

Organizers
Running eSports events is big money, and organizers of events can tap into sponsorship and fan revenue. Sometimes game publishers will organize the events, but third-party ones also exist in the ecosystem.

Sponsors
Sponsors like Coca-Cola, Intel, and Mercedes-Benz have shelled out millions of dollars to sponsor events and reach the massive audiences associated with eSports. In more recent news, SAP signed a deal to sponsor one of the biggest names, Team Liquid.

Broadcasters
Broadcasters, both traditional and online (YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, etc.), are also in to get a part of the action. Recently, game developer Blizzard signed a broadcasting deal with Disney to broadcast Overwatch League playoffs on ESPN, ABC, and Disney XD.

What do you think is the most exciting part of the eSports boom, and why?

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Entrepreneurship

The 150 Apps that Power the Gig Economy

You’re likely familiar with companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Craigslist, but here are 100+ other apps that help make the gig economy possible.

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Here are 150 Apps that Power the Gig Economy

Go back in time a decade, and you’d have a tough time convincing anyone that they would be “employed” through an app on their phone.

And yet, in a short period of time, the emergence of the smartphone has enabled the gig economy to flourish into a multi-trillion dollar global market. And by leveraging apps like Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy, it’s estimated that 57 million people in the U.S. now participate in the gig economy each year in some shape or form.

What apps do these people use to turn their time, skills, hobbies, or assets (cars, home, parking spaces, etc.) into additional income streams?

App Examples

Today’s infographic comes to us from TitleMax, and it lists 150 different apps that are used within the gig economy – including many that pay gig workers directly.

Here are just some of the apps that are used in some of the major categories above:

Ridesharing
Uber and Lyft are what many think of when they hear about the gig economy. However, there are now dozens of rideshare apps out there to fill different niches – for example, Wingz offers flat-fee rides to the airport, while Curb connects riders with professional taxi drivers.

Errands
TaskRabbit, which was bought by IKEA, turns errands such as assembling furniture or cleaning a gutter into payable gigs. Meanwhile, apps like Dolly and Bellhops will connect you with movers, and LawnLove is for lawn care.

Art, Design, and Crafting
Etsy, a marketplace for handmade goods, is one the of the best known brands in this category. However, there are many other niche options here as well – for example, UncommonGoods specializes in unique gifts, while Society6 focuses on gallery quality art prints.

Writing and Editing
Lulu and Kindle Direct allow you to publish eBooks online and sell them, while proofreaders and editors can get paid for their copy editing services through Gramlee.

Delivery
Fast and efficient delivery services are a centerpiece to the gig economy, and there are no shortage of options here. DoorDash, UberEats, Caviar, and GrubHub allow users to get food delivered to their doors, while apps like Instacart focus on grocery delivery.

Multimedia
We all know that you can create videos and monetize them on places like YouTube or Twitch, but did you know you can be a voice actor through services like VoiceBunny? You can also sell rights to your photos via Foap, or do freelancing work through Upwork or Fiverr.

Whether you are tapping into the gig economy for an extra income stream or you are incorporating gig economy services into your life for added convenience, there is no shortage of options to choose from.

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