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Flying Cars Are Coming. The Next Installment of Those 140 Characters Is Here…

Flying Cars Are Coming. The Next Installment of Those 140 Characters Is Here…

weasley’s flying car | Ashley Wheat | Flickr

As you know, we’ve been wondering about who those 140 characters are who Peter Thiel may well have been referring to when he said, “We were promised flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters.”

Since we’ve personally been in the industry since the early days of Web 1.0 in New York and spent a considerable amount of time in Silicon Valley as well, we’ve decided to take it upon ourselves to attempt to identify some of those characters, many of whom we’ve met and/or have gotten to know. Over the years, we’ve seen people and companies come and go. Some were bad timing. Many were simply bad ideas. Some were acquired for unbelievable amounts of money, only to disappear forever, leaving the then suddenly wealthy founders looking like geniuses. Tech is a constantly shifting landscape and people and companies come and go and fortunes made and lost at Internet speed.

Here are our picks for the next 40 of the 140, with some anecdotes and insights on the developing industry and its rising stars and investors, in no particular order. Without further ado, we’re letting this baby fly. Onward and forward. Read More...

The First Annual Connie Awards®

The First Annual Connie Awards®

From Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley and everything in between and near and far, including Silicon Prairie, Silicon Roundabout, Silicon Desert, Silicon Wadi, Silicon Slopes, Silicon Hills, et al, the world has seen some amazing tech – and some moments in tech that were somewhat less than shining. Or at least, equally memorable, but not in a good way.

It was a year that the tech industry proved that it does have its fair share of visionaries, as well as hipsters and outsters, heroes and zeroes, goodniks and bad players. While the industry is heavily peopled with brash young men and bad boys, it was a year that gave the latter a whole new meaning. Read More...

A Tale of Two Titans

A Tale of Two Titans

Last week, Travis Kalanick, ahem, tendered his resignation as CEO of Uber, the company which he co-founded, and of which he is a 30% shareholder. No mean feat holding on to that much equity, considering the many rounds of funding that the company has received – $8.8B in 14 rounds, according to Crunchbase. It took a shareholder revolt on the part of investors representing roughly 40 percent control of Uber to accomplish the task, according to NewCo.

Then again, he’s Travis Kalanick. Taking a walk down memory lane, here are 13 Instances Where Uber Screwed Up (A Brief Throwback), demonstrating a bit more ubris than was advisable or legal, including class actions; sexist comments (and Susan Fowler’s blog post that started it all); surge pricing; criminal behavior on the part of drivers who were supposedly vetted; falsifying numbers; what to speak of the number of executives who departed the company in quick succession. Uber may not have been Uber without Kalanick’s personality to drive it (no pun intended), and while it has been said that there’s really no such thing as bad press, well, there are many Silicon Valley mantras that are in need of revision.

Uber has always been a predatory, take-no-prisoners corporate culture. They cut corners (drivers were not all properly vetted, it seems; agencies that do background checks do not all follow the same set of rules), and to reach Uber-size in the amount of time it took the company to accomplish its current market share (they’ve been around since 2009 and yes, market share has been falling off of late, which has given its closest competitor a big lift – pun intended: “Uber’s US market share fell from 84% at the beginning of this year to 77% at the end of May, according to  research firm Second Measure. Meanwhile, Lyft’s bookings were up 135% year-over-year in April, according to PYMNTS.com,” says Business Insider), you have to be employing measures that simply do not pass the sniff test (Uber drivers underpaid in New York City for years). Read More...

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