Jon Evans

Jon Evans
Jon Evans is a novelist, journalist, and software engineer. His novels have been published around the world, translated into several languages, and praised by The Times, The Economist, and the Washington Post. His journalism has appeared in Wired, Reader's Digest, The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, and The Times of India, and he writes a weekly column for TechCrunch. Jon also has a degree in electrical engineering and a decade of experience as a software developer, building everything from smartphone apps to billion-dollar asset-allocation services. CrunchBase profile →

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  • The Valley Has Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

    The Valley Has Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

    Silicon Valley, at its best, is a kind of insurgency. Most of the world is ruled by dinosaur bureaucrats; but as software eats the world, Valley misfits and iconoclasts, armed with razor-edge tech and contempt for the status quo, overthrow those antediluvian empires and build better ones, which light the path to a brighter tomorrow for us all… or that’s the story we tell ourselves. Read More

  • The Internet Is Burning

    The Internet Is Burning

    Online security is a horrifying nightmare. Heartbleed. Target. Apple. Linux. Microsoft. Yahoo. eBay. X.509. Whatever security cataclysm erupts next, probably in weeks or even days. We seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of cascading security disasters that just keep getting worse. Read More

  • The Western Twitterer’s Burden

    The Western Twitterer’s Burden

    Sigh. Here we go again. The eyes of the world turn to something awful happening in a remote corner of Africa, and what feels like half of the Western population immediately rushes to proudly embarrass itself on social media everywhere. On the Internet, at least, #BringBackOurGirls is little more than #Kony2012 reloaded. It’s condescending, it’s patronizing, it’s… Read More

  • Google Maps Has Forsaken Us

    Google Maps Has Forsaken Us

    Once upon a time, in the days of yore — meaning, in hyper-fast-forward Silicon Valley, five years ago — there were things you could count on, evident truths on which you could rely, cornerstones on which you could construct your mental model of the world; and high on any such list would have been “Google will provide you with relevant search results.” Yeah, well, that… Read More

  • After Technology Destroys Capitalism

    After Technology Destroys Capitalism

    In honor of May Day, let’s think big for a moment. No, no, no. Bigger than that. Consider all the furious attention paid to economic inequality of late, courtesy of Thomas Piketty and Capital in the 21st Century. He argues that increasing inequality is an inevitable outcome of laissez-faire capitalism, and proposes we fix this with a global wealth tax. I humbly suggest that… Read More

  • What’s Your Honeywell Bubble Count?

    What’s Your Honeywell Bubble Count?

    I divided my time this month between West Africa and the Bay Area, which triggered a lot of cultural whiplash, which got me thinking about filter bubbles. I fear today’s technology can reinforce our instinct to confuse what’s familiar with what’s normal … which leads to skewed perceptions, bad decisions, and needless conflict. It’s OK to live in a bubble, but it… Read More

  • Bitcoin 2.0: Unleash The Sidechains

    Bitcoin 2.0: Unleash The Sidechains

    “Cryptocurrencies will create a fifth protocol layer powering the next generation of the Internet,” says Naval Ravikant. “Our 2014 fund will be built during the blockchain cycle,” concurs Fred Wilson. And Andreessen Horowitz have very visibly doubled down on Bitcoin. Even if you don’t believe in Bitcoin as a currency, and I’ll grant there’s plenty to… Read More

  • Google, Eich, Rice: The Evil That Tech Does

    Google, Eich, Rice: The Evil That Tech Does

    Techies hate politics. Well, no: we hate the idea of politics. Whenever I talk to pretty much anyone in the industry about politics as a sphere of human endeavor, from individual coders to zillionaire VCs, pained expressions cross their faces and they rush to distance themselves from the whole toxic mess. Which is a problem on two levels. One, now that technology is the dominant cultural… Read More

  • When Your Carrier Becomes Your Bank

    When Your Carrier Becomes Your Bank

    I write to you from my vacation, meaning, this time, the dusty port town of Kaolack in sunny Senegal. (What, your vacations don’t involve long hours spent riding in–or, sometimes, on–overcrowded West African inter-city public transit? Weirdo.) On arrival I picked up an Orange SIM card, which cost 1000 francs (US $2) and came with 1000 francs of credit. And then my cab driver… Read More

  • The Internet Is Held Together With Bubble Gum And Baling Wire

    The Internet Is Held Together With Bubble Gum And Baling Wire

    Did you know that, to quote an angry hacker: The Internet from every angle has always been a house of cards held together with defective duct tape. It’s a miracle that anything works at all. Those who understand a lot of the technology involved generally hate it, but at the same time are astounded that for end users, things seem to usually work rather well. Today I want to talk about all… Read More

  • Enter The Blockchain: How Bitcoin Can Turn The Cloud Inside Out

    Enter The Blockchain: How Bitcoin Can Turn The Cloud Inside Out

    Drop whatever you’re doing and go read Maciej Cegłowski’s absolutely magnificent essay Our Comrade The Electron, an astonishing history of the amazing Russian engineer Lev Sergeyevich Termen. Make sure you read right down to its punchline, “the most badass answer imaginable.” But if time is short, or you struggle to read English, please at least read its angry rant… Read More

  • Hey! You! Get Off Of Our Bandwagon

    Hey! You! Get Off Of Our Bandwagon

    The Book of Berners-Lee And lo, it did come to pass, as prophesied by the geeks of yore, that in the twenty-fifth year of the Web, the world entire, from Kathmandu to Timbuktu to Zanzibar to New York, began to notice its devouring by the Law of Moore. And the eyes of the world were turned upon those places where that Law had been birthed, and numberless throngs of geeks still teemed, and CEOs… Read More

  • Software Patents Are Bullshit

    Software Patents Are Bullshit

    “Patents are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution for a single purpose: to promote the progress of science and useful arts.” Alas, when it comes to software, it is difficult to imagine a system worse at this than the current one. Everyone knows this–and most people will readily admit it–but no one, with the possible eventual exception of the Supreme Court, is willing to… Read More

  • This Industry Is Completely Ridiculous. Let’s Hope It Stays That Way.

    This Industry Is Completely Ridiculous. Let’s Hope It Stays That Way.

    OK. Let’s take a step back from all the recent tech news, look at it with fresh eyes–and try not to burst into slightly hysterical laughter. In Japan, some half-billion dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency vanished from a site founded to trade Magic: The Gathering cards. In New Zealand, the world’s greatest Call of Duty player has launched a political party to revenge… Read More

  • The Next Revolutions: Drones Vs. Phones

    The Next Revolutions: Drones Vs. Phones

    It’s been a hell of a week worldwide. Caracas, Venezuela: “What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.” Kiev, Ukraine: “Dozens dead as protesters regain territory from police.” Bangkok, Thailand: “Four people have been killed and more than 60 injured after a gun battle erupted between police… Read More

  • VCs On Inequality, Unemployment, And Our Uncertain Future

    VCs On Inequality, Unemployment, And Our Uncertain Future

    The Great Bifurcation is underway. The American economy is polarizing between the minority rich and the majority poor; technology is a major cause of this; and the rest of the world will soon follow, if it hasn’t already. I’ve been writing about this for years, and by now you’re probably sick of my perspective — so I went to tech VCs Steve Jurvetson and John Frankel… Read More

  • In 3.5 Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones

    In 3.5 Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones

    I reckon it’s time to check in on one of my bolder predictions. Some 18 months ago, I wrote “In Five Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones.” Let’s get this out of the way: most of the smart money thinks I’m wrong by at least three years. Worldwide, according to Gartner, smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales in 2013, for the first time — but… Read More

  • The Future Is Transcendent: A Review Of HER

    The Future Is Transcendent: A Review Of HER

    For more than an hour Her seems little more than metaphor meets Manic Pixie Dream Girl: charming, yes, but insubstantial. And then— Los Angeles, mid-21st-century: techno-utopia. The city is a forest of sleek skyscrapers; a vast subway network connects downtown to the beaches; citizens mingle in public spaces that resemble art galleries, connected by broad pedestrian walkways that soar… Read More

  • BuzzFeed Is The Future (Whether It Lives Or Dies)

    BuzzFeed Is The Future (Whether It Lives Or Dies)

    It’s time for a little inside baseball! Be still your beating hearts. But admit it: secretly you want to know about the success/failure of the myriad news sources whose stories flit disconnectedly across your Facebook and Twitter feeds from time to time, if only so you can tell your friends that you already knew who was doomed, on the day that long-fabled Great Shakeout finally comes… Read More

  • Failure Modes

    Failure Modes

    This was a rich month for the deadpool. Prim shut down. So did CarWoo. And much-hyped Outbox. And even moot’s Canvas/DrawQuest, which had 1.4 million app downloads and 400,000 monthly users. All part of the game, right? The circle of startup life, or something. It’s a truism that most startups fail. But in fact most startups don’t even get to fail, in the way the word is… Read More