GOOGLE GETS INTO GAMING Can Stadia Change the Industry? At this year’s Game Developers Conference, the biggest announcement came in the form of Google’s new gaming platform, Stadia. A revolutionary new service, one that will stream games directly to devices without the use of an in-home console, Stadia has the potential to radically alter the video game market in coming years. Cloud gaming has been a hope for many for years, but the difficulty has always been in delivering adequate performance. If any company is equipped to solve that problem, it’s Google. The tech giant has partnered with AMD to create custom GPUs for their data centers, which purport to deliver 4K resolution and a frame rate of 60fps. To achieve these speeds, a user will need an internet connection with download speeds of 30Mbps. The only hardware required will be the Stadia controller. It seems clear that Google intends for Stadia to compete with consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo rather than targeting the performance-obsessed PC gaming market. If they get support from game developers and deliver on the numbers they’ve promised, Stadia could transform the gaming industry. Stadia is expected to launch later this year. Be on the lookout for preorders because it’s bound to be a massive seller.
World-conquering blockbusters and staid Oscar bait may earn the lion’s share of movie coverage, but over the past few years, a large number of indie films have carved out a space for themselves on theater screens as well as in the hearts of audiences. While there’s no stylistic or thematic trend uniting these individual films, there is one thing many of them have in common: They were either produced or distributed by A24. A24 is an entertainment company that focuses on “movies from a distinct point of view.” Their auteur-driven approach stands in stark contrast to the mass-market concerns of major Hollywood studios. The kinds of films A24 develops and for which they acquire distribution rights wouldn’t do well in a focus group, and they’re often better for it. Founded in 2012, A24 found early success with Harmony Korine’s riotous and bizarre “Spring Breakers,” which grossed more than $30 million, recouping its budget six times over. In 2016, they developed and distributed “Moonlight,” the film that would go on to be a surprise Best Picture winner. Last year, Apple announced they had tapped A24 to develop a series of original films for their in-house content platform. Even more surprising, A24 retained rights to acquire and develop films independently of Apple. That the tech giant would agree to such favorable terms speaks to the influence of this film industry darling. In addition to having a keen eye for projects, A24 excels at unconventional marketing. When last year’s “Eighth Grade,” the directorial debut of YouTube sensation Bo Burnham, was slapped with an R rating, critics were dismayed. They felt teens were being barred from a genuinely positive movie because of a little profanity. In a daring move, A24 scheduled screenings where teens could see the movie for free even if they weren’t accompanied by a parent. That boldness is emblematic of the movies A24 promotes and the company’s overall ethos. In a world where too much entertainment is groupthinked to death, it’s an approach we could use a lot more of. How A24 Built an Indie Movie Empire THE KING OF ART HOUSE
JULIE ZHOU’S ‘THE MAKING OF A MANAGER’ A Guide to Learning Management From a Silicon Valley Success Story
“This is a book about how someone with no formal training learned to become a confident manager,” writes Julie Zhou in the introduction to her new book “The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Is Looking at You.” When Zhou, who is now vice president of product design at Facebook, was thrust into her first management role at 25 years old, she had nowhere to turn for guidance or advice. After years spent developing her leadership skills, she decided to write the guide she wished she could have read in her early days managing a team.
“The Making of a Manager” covers all the essentials of business leadership. The early chapters detail exactly what management is, how to navigate your first three months, and the skills that help you lead a small team. As the book continues, it covers firing, feedback, culture, and other concerns that anyone in management will be familiar with. While the book is aimed at those entering leadership for the first time, it’s just as useful to somebody who’s been at it for a long time and needs to refresh their skills. After all, our knowledge of management has evolved over time. If you’re not reading current management strategies, you’re in danger of becoming out of touch. Just as appealing as Zhou’s insights is the presentation model she chose for the book. Rather than feeling like a boring textbook, “The Making of a Manager” is a compelling read full of anecdotes, illustrations, and even a healthy number of jokes. You’ll plow through it quickly, but its impact will last for years.
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