Column

 

  • The Modernization Of Computer Science Education

    The Modernization Of Computer Science Education

    Most people, especially in Silicon Valley, are aware that there aren’t enough engineers graduating from college today. By 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that there will be 1.4 million computer science (CS) jobs available, but only enough graduates to fill 30 percent of these jobs. What’s perhaps even more troubling, but frequently overlooked, is that the engineers who… Read More

  • The Crowdfunded Hardware Ecosystem

    The Crowdfunded Hardware Ecosystem

    In the past six years crowdfunding has become a popular, if not the most popular, form of financing for hardware startups, potato salad distractions notwithstanding. Over the years we’ve seen a variety of successful crowdfunding campaigns translate early crowd love into great venture capital rounds. We’ve even seen a few, like Oculus, manage to use successful campaigns to… Read More

  • New York To Bitcoin Startups: Get Permission Or Get Out

    New York To Bitcoin Startups: Get Permission Or Get Out

    Bitcoin allows people to build financial technology without asking for permission, but if New York state has its way, this won’t be the case for long. The New York Department of Financial Services released a series of proposed regulations last week that could shut down the digital currency startup ecosystem as we know it. Deemed “BitLicense,” it may help “Big… Read More

  • The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part One

    The Seven Constants Of Game Design, Part One

    In the first of a two part series exploring game design, this article discusses the idea that games operate within a universe of defined constants, meaning traits to do with play that stand independent of platform, audience or technology. Read More

  • The Problem With Founders

    The Problem With Founders

    Feeling bored at work? Just go start a company. Feeling depressed about life and lack any direction? Just go start a company. Broke up recently? Just go start a company. Had a parent die and can’t move on? Just go start a company. (To be fair, I overheard that one last year. Apparently the idea is that you get so busy you can’t think about anything else. Grieving 2.0?) The irony of… Read More

  • We Can No Longer Unbundle Microsoft Office

    We Can No Longer Unbundle Microsoft Office

    This spring we witnessed the big three OS manufacturers — Microsoft, Apple and Google — continue to unbundle their versions of Microsoft Office apps for mobile, including versions of PowerPoint, Excel and Word for iPad. You’ve also seen Craig Federighi’s endurance test at Apple’s WWDC where he juggled all three Apple devices in order to demo the concept of app… Read More

  • How Smart Lending Dumbed Down

    How Smart Lending Dumbed Down

    Between 2008 and 2010, Wonga was doing something mind-bendingly stupid: sending letters from fake law firms to borrowers behind on their loans. It sounds like a bad office prank. They even took the firm names from apparently still current employees — except when you consider that they did it 45,000 times and that it will cost them £2.25 million to give each injured party just £50… Read More

  • Immersive Infections

    Immersive Infections

    Immersive technology will put the user into the digital shoes of their own avatars, experiencing video games, simulations, learning opportunities and even romance on new levels, so it goes without saying that while we can expect all that grandeur, there will be people who try to ruin it, for money. Read More

  • Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    This is a post about good vs. evil and right vs. wrong, but don’t worry, it’s highly technical. Let’s start with Stormfront, the white-supremacist hate site that attracts circa 300,000 unique American visitors per month, and the recent analysis of its members (and follow-up) by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in the New York Times. Some numbers you probably didn’t expect: Read More

  • Waiting For VC

    Waiting For VC

    I spoke to the VC on Wednesday. He said he would have his decisions “fast.” He said the great thing about his VC firm (as opposed to all of those “others”) is that it has absolutely no problem making a quick decision. “Our lawyers are all ready. The deal is boilerplate. We can send the money to you right away.” Now it’s Friday. “Did anyone… Read More

  • Funding The Right Stuff

    Funding The Right Stuff

    People are saying that Silicon Valley venture capitalists have lost their way. They argue that we invest far too much money in startups that are either addressing trivial markets or problems that affect a few privileged 20-somethings. “The entire Bay Area appears to have given up on solving anything but its own problems,” wrote Christopher Mims of The Wall Street Journal on July 7… Read More

  • Do You Feel Pressure Or Do You Apply Pressure?

    Do You Feel Pressure Or Do You Apply Pressure?

    One obvious yet under-appreciated law of business physics is: For any given company, the larger the company becomes, the more opportunities emerge to screw it up. Another obvious but not well-understood law: The more screwed up your company, the more people will complain about it and blame you. If we take these two together, it is easy to see that without intervention, the larger your… Read More

  • Hardware Case Study: Why Lockitron Has Taken So Long To Ship

    Hardware Case Study: Why Lockitron Has Taken So Long To Ship

    There has been renewed excitement at Lockitron HQ in the last few weeks as we pass shipping to our 3,000th backer. Following an incredibly oversubscribed crowdfunding campaign at the end of 2012 — during which we raised over $2.3 million (and garnered 15,000 backers) — we had to adapt our manufacturing plans and shift to volume production from our originally planned run of 1,000 units. Read More

  • Software Entrepreneurs Must Go Mobile-First Or Die

    Software Entrepreneurs Must Go Mobile-First Or Die

    If you’re building an enterprise-software company, mobile must be core to your product strategy; it can’t be an afterthought or add-on. And you must build an elegant, easy-to-use mobile app, because employees and consumers far prefer mobile apps to mobile websites. Read More

  • Predicting A Future Free Of Dollar Bills

    Predicting A Future Free Of Dollar Bills

    Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy. Is this a realistic vision of the future, or are we only ever likely to see such scenes in science… Read More

  • Humans And Computers Will Come Together For Middle Work

    Humans And Computers Will Come Together For Middle Work

    Jon Evans’ post “Welcome To Extremistan! Check Your Career At The Door” on TechCrunch warns of mass penury for this generation and the next as the dual horseman of the techno-apocalypse, robots and software, strip humans of their ability to make a living. Don’t believe this dystopian vision of the future for a second. Read More

  • Hardware Is The New Software

    Hardware Is The New Software

    Nest. GoPro. Beats. Jawbone. Oculus. All hardware companies and each of them accorded multi-billion dollar valuations either in private investment transactions or acquisitions by some of the largest technology companies on the planet. Read More

  • The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    “Technology isn’t a section in the newspaper any more. It’s the culture,” quoth Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, prompting some eyebrow-raising by Guardian and New York Times columnists. And here’s some more from TechCrunch…but my stance is a bit different. “The culture”? That’s an oxymoron. There is no such thing as majority… Read More

  • How Real Will Wearable Games Be?

    How Real Will Wearable Games Be?

    Wearables, primarily smartwatches, are in many ways a compelling idea. Yet do the actual wearables we’re seeing offer anything like that? From a gaming standpoint are they really that big of a deal, or are they more a case of high-hopes and maybe-one-days? Read More

  • Lessons From Sourcebits’ Road To Acquisition

    Lessons From Sourcebits’ Road To Acquisition

    Globo, an enterprise mobility and telecom software services company, acquired Sourcebits, a design-led engineering company that builds mobile apps for enterprise and consumer markets. The acquisition seems to be for capabilities. In a tough hiring market, teams with execution maturity at an enterprise level make perfect sense. The sale also strongly points to the growing appetite of tools… Read More