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The career of Colin Kroll, cofounder of Vine and HQ Trivia who has died at age 34 – Tech – Pulselive.co.ke

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  • HQ Trivia CEO and Vine cofounder Colin Kroll has died at the age of 34.
  • Kroll helped create two of the most viral apps of the last decade after getting his start at Yahoo and travel site JetSetter.
  • Here’s a look at Kroll’s career.

Colin Kroll, the cofounder of HQ Trivia and Vine, died on Sunday. He was 34.

Kroll was the CEO of viral quiz app HQ Trivia up until his death on Dec. 16, and helped create popular video sharing app Vine, which was sold to Twitter in 2012.

Kroll majored in computer science and worked at Yahoo and travel site JetSetter before striking out on his own. While he’s had success in the tech world, Kroll also faced complaints of an aggressive management style and inappropriate behavior toward women in recent years.

Hours after reports of Kroll’s death, HQ posted on Twitter: “We learned today of the passing of our friend and founder, Colin Kroll, and it’s with deep sadness that we say goodbye.”

Here’s how Kroll got his start and helped build two of the most viral apps of the last decade.

Kroll studied computer science at Oakland University located in Rochester, Michigan, about 30 miles outside of Detroit.


Kroll studied computer science at Oakland University located in Rochester, Michigan, about 30 miles outside of Detroit.play

Kroll studied computer science at Oakland University located in Rochester, Michigan, about 30 miles outside of Detroit.

(oaklanduniv/YouTube)

Source: Crunchbase

Kroll started his career as a software engineer at Right Media, a platform for buying and selling advertising space. The company was acquired by Yahoo for $680 million in 2007.


Kroll started his career as a software engineer at Right Media, a platform for buying and selling advertising space. The company was acquired by Yahoo for $680 million in 2007.play

Kroll started his career as a software engineer at Right Media, a platform for buying and selling advertising space. The company was acquired by Yahoo for $680 million in 2007.

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After the acquisition, Kroll served as an engineering manager in Yahoo’s search and advertising technology, or SATG, group.

Source: Crunchbase, AdAge

Kroll left Yahoo in 2011 to become VP of product at luxury travel site JetSetter. He went on to become chief technology officer. The site is now owned by Trip Advisor.


Kroll left Yahoo in 2011 to become VP of product at luxury travel site JetSetter. He went on to become chief technology officer. The site is now owned by Trip Advisor.play

Kroll left Yahoo in 2011 to become VP of product at luxury travel site JetSetter. He went on to become chief technology officer. The site is now owned by Trip Advisor.

(Jetsetter)

Source: LinkedIn

In June 2012, Kroll and his JetSetter coworker Dom Hofmann — along with Rus Yusupov — created Vine, a short-form video sharing platform. In October of that year, before the app could even launch, Twitter bought it for $30 million.


Left to right: Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll.play

Left to right: Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll.

(Twitter/@dhof; Linkedin/rus-yusupov; Getty Images/Bryan Steffy)

Vine officially launched in January 2013 as a way to capture and share six-second looping videos on the platform.

Kroll initially served as chief technology officer at Vine, and became general manager in 2013.

Source: All Things D, AdWeek, Twitter, LinkedIn

By April 2013, Vine was the No. 1 free app in the App Store and became a sensation among teens and young adults. At one point, it had more than 200 million monthly active users. But the app struggled to make money, and was plagued by other issues.


By April 2013, Vine was the No. 1 free app in the App Store and became a sensation among teens and young adults. At one point, it had more than 200 million monthly active users. But the app struggled to make money, and was plagued by other issues.play

By April 2013, Vine was the No. 1 free app in the App Store and became a sensation among teens and young adults. At one point, it had more than 200 million monthly active users. But the app struggled to make money, and was plagued by other issues.

(App Annie)

Vine operated in New York City, across the country from Twitter’s headquarters, and reportedly had various managerial issues, internal politics, and struggled to retain talent.

Twitter shut down Vine for good in 2016.

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Source: The Verge, AdWeek, The Verge, Business Insider

In 2014, Kroll stepped back from a day-to-day roll at Vine, becoming an advisor at Twitter and Vine. By December of that year, Kroll left the company altogether.


In 2014, Kroll stepped back from a day-to-day roll at Vine, becoming an advisor at Twitter and Vine. By December of that year, Kroll left the company altogether.play

In 2014, Kroll stepped back from a day-to-day roll at Vine, becoming an advisor at Twitter and Vine. By December of that year, Kroll left the company altogether.

(Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Variety)

According to Recode, Kroll was fired from Twitter for poor management, and had earned a reputation for inappropriate behavior toward women.

When this came to light in 2018, Kroll said in a statement, “I was let go from Vine four years ago for poor management. It was a painful experience, but an eye-opening one that served as a catalyst for professional development and greater awareness in the office. I now realize that there are things I said and did that made some feel unappreciated or uncomfortable. I apologize to those people.”

Source: TechCrunch, Recode, Axios

Kroll cofounded HQ Trivia in 2015 with his Vine cofounder, Yusupov.


Rus Yusupov, left, and Colin Kroll.play

Rus Yusupov, left, and Colin Kroll.

(Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for Variety)

HQ Trivia — a live, game show-style quiz app — launched in August 2017 with Kroll serving as chief technology officer.

The app was an instant viral hit, thanks in part to its silly, charismatic host and the ability to win real cash prizes. Earlier this year, the app was at the top of the App Store charts for weeks at a time.

But just as quickly as the app went viral, its popularity faded and it faced internal turmoil of its own. In September, the company reportedly forced out Yusupov as CEO and replaced him with Kroll. And shortly before Kroll was appointed CEO, an HQ Trivia employee reportedly filed a complaint over Kroll’s “aggressive management style.”

Despite HQ’s issues, the company had announced plans for a second “Wheel of Fortune”-style game and has been earning money off sponsorship deals and in-app purchases.

HQ closed a $15 million funding round in March and is expected to do $10 million in revenue in 2018.

Source: Recode

In December, Kroll was found dead in his Manhattan apartment at the age of 34.


play

(Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Variety)

TMZ was first to report the death of the tech executive, while The Daily Beast and others confirmed the story with New York Police Department sources.

The latter said he was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Saturday night. He was pronounced dead on the scene at 12:18 a.m. on Sunday, it added.

TMZ said his death was caused by an “apparent drug overdose,” although this is not yet verified. Kroll was discovered by police after his girlfriend was unable to make contact with him, TMZ added.

“We learned today of the passing of our friend and founder, Colin Kroll, and it’s with deep sadness that we say goodbye,” HQ wrote in a statement on Twitter. “Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”

Source: Business Insider



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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