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Month: September 2016

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

While we do realize that many tech companies have young founders whose youthful missteps can sometimes be forgiven, yea, even in business, neither companies nor founders stay young forever, and we were just wondering what the benchmark is for when certain tech companies will grow up and take responsibility.

It recently came to light that Yahoo! was compromised back in 2014, but waited two years to confirm a data breach “affecting 500 million user accounts, which would make the breach the largest in history.” In fact, according to Recode (who broke the story), If you’ve ever created a Yahoo account, take these steps immediately to protect your data – it’s not just your Yahoo account that’s vulnerable. Lest we forget, we sometimes share sensitive information in email, and two years, Gracie? We realize that Yahoo mail is free, but does that mean that the company doesn’t have some sort of responsibility to inform its users when there’s a major data breach? Don’t ask. Or in this case, given that it took two years for the story to come out, more like don’t tell.

Zuck up of the week: Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg admitted last week that for the last two year, Facebook has been systematically overestimating the time its users spent watching videos on the site by ignoring views that lasted less than three seconds – a ‘miscalculation,’ according to Facebook’s David Fischer, that amounted to an overestimation of some 60 to 80 percent. The company’s spin is priceless and definitely worth a read. Read More...

Grey Is the New Black

Grey Is the New Black

Not in a good way.

Bloomberg News recently published a piece reminding us that It’s Tough Being Over 40 in Silicon Valley. Reminding, as this is not exactly breaking news, and nothing has changed since it first surfaced in the days of Web 1.0, and even then, it was getting old fast.

The tech sector is one of the biggest proponents of not discriminating on the basis of  sexual preference and welcoming immigrants of all stripes – all well and good, but if you happen to be African American, female or over 40, it’s quite another story and truth be told, ageism is the most socially acceptable form of discrimination. “…When it comes to race and gender bias, the people running Silicon Valley at least pay lip service to wanting to do better — but with age discrimination they don’t even bother to lie, noted Dan Lyons. “People born after 1980 do not possess some special gene that the rest of us lack. But Silicon Valley venture capitalists and founders somehow seem to believe this is the case. I suspect the truth is that tech startups prefer young workers because they will work longer hours and can be paid less.” Read More...

The Technology Sniff Test

The Technology Sniff Test

As we were riding the Citibike down 9th Avenue early one morning, the exhaust fumes from the buses heading into the Lincoln Tunnel conjured up memories of London and the early morning smell of the traffic exhaust there. Funny how certain smells can almost fool the senses and transport one to a different time and place. It also got us to thinking about New York and San Francisco/Silicon Valley, which will never cultivate certain big city smells of either New York or London.

Technology recently saw two multi-billion dollar exits: Dollar Shave Club and Jet.com – both of which were acquired by large corporations – Unilever and WalMart, respectively. This does give one pause to consider the types of businesses that gestate best in Silicon Valley – the Ubers and Airbnbs and yes, even Theranos’s of the world: companies that do tend to run into regulatory issues and even tax issues, given the European Commission’s recent ruling against Apple, and Amazon and Google are also in their sights; companies with a certain amount of hubris, if not a shoot-first-ask-questions-later attitude. These are companies that aim high and go big, although in the case of Theranos, well, it doesn’t always work out as planned, and the company crashed hard.

The Grand Central Tech piece that we cited last week notes that “The gulf between the corporate world and the startup world is shrinking from both sides… Much was made of a “funding slow down in 2016”, but from our view, more than any slow down, the rules changed. For startups, successfully raising a Series A now increasingly requires not just growth statistics (i.e. users), but revenue growth and the existence of large, scaled customers.” Which, in case no one ever mentioned it, is the basic foundation for building a business. Read More...

The Onward and Forward Edition

The Onward and Forward Edition

It’s September and everyone’s back, meaning that it’s time to get back to it.

As if…

Welcome back and as we said, no editorial this week, although, two things: Read More...

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