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Year: 2018

The Time’s Up Edition (Because ‘Heads Up’ Is No Longer Cutting It)

The Time’s Up Edition (Because ‘Heads Up’ Is No Longer Cutting It)

Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress last month, and there were a few points he needed to clarify. He promised to get back to the legislators, and so he did.

Notes Buzzfeed (“Here Are 18 Things You Might Not Have Realized Facebook Tracks About You Including: information about your online and offline actions and other devices on your Wi-Fi network), “Last week, Congress released a massive document with written answers to those questions. These responses were a good reminder that Facebook records a ton of information about you.” Read More...

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report – and What Was Not Said

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report – and What Was Not Said

Every year, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker gives us her look at the trends in technology. This year in 294 slides. Here are some of the points, along with follow on points that she might have conveniently neglected to mention. She is a Silicon Valley tech investor, after all:

The Gig Economy

The gig economy is growing fast, with nearly seven million people projected to be working in it in the US by the end of this year, up 26% from 2017, said Meeker. Seventy-one percent of US gig workers say they “always wanted to be their own boss,” according to a survey Intuit conducted in November 2017. As Quartz points out (People are joining the gig economy because of a powerful myth), it’s the algorithm that’s in charge, determining “where the driver will head next, who she’ll pick up, and how much she’ll be paid for that trip. In other words, many important features of the job are outside the driver’s control.” Read More...

…In Which Yours Truly Resolves the Universal Basic Income Issue

…In Which Yours Truly Resolves the Universal Basic Income Issue

Every now and then we like to flip the model – and the talking points. Seems that the model of tech is freemium. Everyone loves to get stuff for free – no one more than the tech cartel, particularly Facebook and Google. As the Wall Street Journal (Tech’s Titans Tiptoe Towards Monopoly) noted, Google and Facebook “benefit from something historically unprecedented: the ability to get users to subsidize them with enormous quantities of free labor. Their systems are fueled by personal information.”

Here’s a thought: since the cartel are such outspoken advocates of Universal Basic Income, let’s make it easy for them to literally put their money where their mouths are by having them pay users for providing information/content every time they post/share/search. These systems are built on algorithms: they can no doubt figure it out. There’s even a metric for payment to writers. On the lowest end (and far from our rate, fyi): two cents per word. Read More...

The Birth of the User-Owned Economy

The Birth of the User-Owned Economy

This past week was Blockchain Week in New York, in tandem with back peddling on the part of the tech cartel. As Quartz noted, “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, long under fire for “programming people’s brains,” will testify before the European parliament about his company’s use of data. Not long after, transformative new European privacy rules go into effect that will give EU consumers far more visibility into what companies know about them.

“Now, tech CEOs insist they want to be part of the solution. On Tuesday, Facebook-owned Instagram confirmed a feature that will let users track their time spent on the platform. A week earlier, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a Digital Wellbeing initiative geared at helping people moderate their use of Google’s products and services by suggesting breaks from YouTube or batching notifications.” Read More...

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Defining the Tech Cartel

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Defining the Tech Cartel

Facebook defines itself as a tech company. Google does as well. Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon as well as the Washington Post, defines the latter as a tech company, too, which, technically, means that the once venerated news organization, by definition, should no longer be considered a news publication of record, and thanks for playing.

Can’t have it both ways,

but definitions seem to be somewhat fluid in the tech world. All depends on which way the winds are blowing. Read More...

Common Mistakes Startups Make – And Knock It Off!

Common Mistakes Startups Make – And Knock It Off!

At one of our recent investor breakfasts, Howard Morgan, founding partner of First Round Capital and Chairman of B Capital, offered up the six P’s he looks at when evaluating a company: people, product, plans, profits, passion, and persistence, with ‘product’ including knowing your market, and ‘plans’ meaning financial planning. We’re going to add a seventh P, since Howard also believes that one of the most frequent startup mistakes is coming up with the wrong Pricing, whether it’s too high or too low.

Then there are the much more basics mistakes that startups make/common misconceptions that founders or the team have, which we feel contribute greatly to the fact that nine out of 10 startups fail. Remember: Anyone can start a company. Not everyone can build a business. These might be a few of the contributing factors that can make all the difference:

1. You don’t need to hire a writer. Anyone can write. Not really, but we’ll play. It’s not simply about writing – it’s about communicating. Effectively. Because founders believe that anyone can write, that skill is devalued. The concept needs to be rethought. Try this: you pay your tech developers, right? The writer is developing the concepts that will effectively get your message to your prospective audience/customers.  Think of it as a front-end coding skill. Anyone can learn to code. Not everyone can code well. Content writers are front-end developers who use a specialized coding language. Words instead of zeros and ones and symbols, etc. And remember: the first thing your customers see are the words, not the code. And glad we’ve finally clarified that one! Pay your writers! Read More...

And the Most Underreported Story of the Week Award Goes To…

And the Most Underreported Story of the Week Award Goes To…

…Changes to Terms of Service. You might have noticed those notifications popping up all over when you open certain sites, et al: Oath/AOL/Yahoo, Twitter, Periscope (“On May 25 we’re updating our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You can see our updated Terms here”). The list goes on. And Yes, The GDPR Will Affect Your U.S.-Based Business.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation go into effect next month

No such thing as a coincidence. We wondered why the tech press didn’t take notice.

Reads the Updates to Periscope’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy: “We believe you should always know what data we collect from you and how we use it, and that you should have meaningful control over both. As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, and in preparation for the new EU data protection laws that take effect next month, we’re updating Periscope’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and consolidating them into Twitter’s. We want to empower you to make the best decisions about the information that you share with us… Read More...

Technology and the Bloodless Coup

Technology and the Bloodless Coup

Just two weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg said that he would not oppose regulation while testifying before a Congressional committee. Last week, knowing that GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was about to be implemented in the EU, Facebook to put 1.5 billion users out of reach of new EU privacy law, Reuters reports. “If a new European law restricting what companies can do with people’s online data went into effect tomorrow, almost 1.9 billion Facebook Inc users around the world would be protected by it. The online social network is making changes that ensure the number will be much smaller…That removes a huge potential liability for Facebook, as the new EU law allows for fines of up to 4 percent of global annual revenue for infractions, which in Facebook’s case could mean billions of dollars.”

Facebook has no intention of respecting anyone’s privacy.

Never did. Read More...

The All Mark, All the Time Edition

The All Mark, All the Time Edition

Mark Zuckerberg got his hair cut, put on his big boy suit and best cherub-in-the-headlights expression and faced Congress, insisting, ad nauseam, lest the American public didn’t hear it the first several times, that “For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can do… It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm, as well.”

Meanwhile, this just in: Facebook is using AI to predict users’ future behavior and selling that data to advertisers, according to the MIT Technology Review.

Then again, he wasn’t under oath. Read More...

The Facebook Takedown and the Underlying Agenda

The Facebook Takedown and the Underlying Agenda

Wonder why Facebook is suddenly under attack from all quarters, given that the user information collected by Cambridge Analytica occurred well over a year ago, and that this was far from the first time Facebook had breached user confidentiality (although if you read the TOS, all your data belongs to Facebook, anyway)? Apple CEO Tim Cook, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, et al are all happily throwing Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg under the bus, so you might start wondering about the timing of all of this. And what you’re being distracted from otherwise noticing.

As Forbes says, Why Are We Just Finding Out Now That All Two Billion Facebook Users May Have Been Harvested? “The company acknowledged what (this article’s author) said many times before – likely the entirety of Facebook’s two billion public profiles (and quite a few private profiles) are archived in repositories all over the world by academics, companies and criminal actors, not to mention countless governments. The big story was not Facebook’s confirmation of this, but rather why the company took until (April 4, 2018) to confirm it.”

The Net Neutrality Factor

The tech cartel have been quietly attempting to reverse Net Neutrality, which, as we’ve said before and have written about and clarified in a past column, basically exempt the cartel/social media companies from being neutral and treating all content equally, via a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution. Read More...

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