Software Brothers Feed #1: Cyberpunk 2077, Airbnb's IPO, 'deep neural network' backdoors and more / December 2020

As we’re heading towards the end of the year, we’d also like to restart the Software Brothers Feed that we were doing a while ago in a form of a newsletter. The idea is quite simple, each month we’re going to cherry-pick what has happened in the past 30-or-so days and present you with an easy-to-navigate piece of information, so you can catch up if you’ve missed some valuable content. Let’s kick off.

Business

Acquisition-spree in the social media yard

Back in August, there was a rumour that Facebook and Snap were aiming to purchase TikTok’s competitor Dubsmash, but the deal didn’t follow through, as mid-December the video platform was bough by another social media giant, allegedly rocking a whopping 52 million daily users — reddit. Nearly at the same time, Twitter purchased a screen-sharing app Squad, simultaneously shutting down Periscope. Social media didn’t seem to suffer too much due to the pandemic, did they?

Multiple German startups successfully raise funds

German Bionic, a company that works on creating exoskeletons for industrial and physical applications, closed the $20 million round led by Samsung, Gorillas, an on-demand grocery delivery startup, raised $44 million in the Series A and the space industry startup — Isar Aerospace is preparing for its satellite launcher tests, following the $91 million Series C round.

Airbnb goes public, investors don’t care about first-day pops

We had quite a few IPOs this year. In December only, we’ve had Wish reach its top expected share prices, DoorDash surged at $189.51 per share in comparison to the initial $102, Airbnb soared more than 110 percent from their IPO, but not every investor cares about the first-day pops, as it was revealed in an interview with Wish, Airbnb and Palantir investor — Justin Fishner-Wolfson. What do you think about it — bubbles or not?

Sony works on chef robots and AI-powered recipes

Sony AI develops chef assistant robots that are meant to help world-class chefs through the entire cooking process, while an AI-powered recipes creating app takes care of  generating ideas for creative dishes. For a more simple home approach, Kitche aims to help with the food waste, offering a system that suggests recipes based on the food available in your fridge.

UX/UI

Cyberpunk 2077 is all over the place, but let’s talk design

No matter all the bugs and issues the game has at its current state as well as the lawsuit, one can’t dismiss that the CD Project RED’s designers did a phenomenal job with the visuals. One could argue that the game set a few UI trends for the upcoming future, but if you’d like to a have a peek behind the scenes — you can. Would you prefer cars, environmental or materials design?

The most important design tools survey of 2020?

Taylor Palmer runs an industry tools survey and the 2020 edition is finally here. It presents a lot of insights into the usage of various software and might give you a few ideas how you can upgrade your design processes, maybe introduce design sprints, and prepare for the trends that’ll pop in 2021.

HR

Google tests hybrid model of work, pushes back return to offices

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, announced that the company will start testing a hybrid model of work in order to improve productivity and overall well-being of its employees while also pushing back the date of return to offices to September. At the same time, Google just hired a new Global Head of People Operations — Fiona Cicconi, who will begin on Jan 5, 2021. Wonder what changes she’ll bring.

2020 brought the end to the work contacts in favour of B2B?

The end of the year means reports and insights. For example, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, in the US alone we’ve seen a 49% growth of the number of digital nomads, and if you’re a leader of any sort, you definitely should work on your empathy, as 91% of employees wanted to feel seen and understood as a person. Interestingly, 23% of employers permit leave donation, which allows employees to donate their unused time off to fellow employees in need. Do you implement any of these in your company?

Technology

Pegasus has been used once again

A few days ago, The Citizen Lab released a detailed report on the recent hack of Al Jazeera employees and execs using iMessage’s ‘ZeroClick’ KISMET exploit. It was apparently patched up and the newest iOS is resistant, but you can never be 100% secure. German AI scientists presented a new attack on ‘deep neural networks’ called ‘triggerless backdoors’ that exploits ‘dropout layers’.

THIS and other JavaScript features

Considering our dedication to JavaScript technology, I’d not be myself if I wouldn’t share some useful materials for the fellow JS developers, so if you’d like to learn more about THIS keyword, event loops, peer dependencies, speech recognition hook for React or the most universal code monitoring tools, feel free to click through.

Open source JS that makes your life easier

If you’re looking to build a lightweight website, Svelte framework can help you chop down its size to as miniscule as 9kb, Pose Net will help run real-time pose estimation using just your webcam, while AdminBro saves you tons of time setting up an auto-generated admin panel for your Node-based app.

See you in 2021!

That’s going to be it for today. As we won’t meet till the next year, I wish you lots of health, successes in both private and business lives and for the 2021 to be less terrible of a year than 2020, I think we all had enough of it.

The next edition of our Feed should be published by the end of January, until then, make sure you join us on a weekly basis for a brand-new article on our blog. 

Cheers!

- 30 -