Column

  • How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Government

    How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Government

    In many ways, the technology industry and government couldn’t be more different: one is brash, aggressive and risky; the other is rightfully thoughtful, slow moving and cautious. But as demonstrated recently by events like the White House Cyber Security Summit at Stanford and through continued collaboration efforts across the public health and banking spaces, both sectors can learn a… Read More

  • Remixing Culture And Why The Art Of The Mash-Up Matters

    Remixing Culture And Why The Art Of The Mash-Up Matters

    Editor’s Note: Ben Murray is the editor for The Space, a digital art non-profit organization in the UK and was a former BBC digital editor.  The line “good artists copy; great artists steal,” attributed to Pablo Picasso and appropriated by Steve Jobs in a 1995 interview, is in some ways at the core of much of the aesthetic endeavors that engage modern technology. Jobs… Read More

  • Media Tech And Venture Capital

    Media Tech And Venture Capital

    “You can’t get venture capital if you’re hiring people who make content.” Of all the people least likely to say those words, Jonah Peretti, chief executive of BuzzFeed, would have to be high on the list. But Peretti is no stranger to having people say exactly that to him. Looking for investment in his startup back in 2006, Peretti found that the mere mention of the… Read More

  • The Regulatory Fault Line For Startups Moves To Washington

    The Regulatory Fault Line For Startups Moves To Washington

    For the past few years, the most visible friction between startups and regulatory agencies has been on the local level. Venture capital “unicorns” like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb have been battling municipal regulators and officials as they transform travel, transportation and other industries largely in the purview of local government. But this regulatory “fault line” is… Read More

  • Mentors Are The Secret Weapons Of Successful Startups

    Mentors Are The Secret Weapons Of Successful Startups

    “I’ve probably revised this investor pitch deck 200 times,” a founder told me recently. She’d met with more than 50 potential investors before closing a seed round last month. This might sound excessive to some, but her experience is not unusual. Entrepreneurs often spend hundreds of hours raising funds from angel and venture capital investors. While these activities… Read More

  • Chutzpah Lessons From The Israeli Startup Scene

    Chutzpah Lessons From The Israeli Startup Scene

    It’s no wonder that with over 4,000 startups in the Greater Tel Aviv area, Israel is ranked 1st in the world for innovative capacity in 2014 by the IMD Global Competitiveness Yearbook. Read More

  • March Madness And Connected Fitness: Who’s Best In The League?

    March Madness And Connected Fitness: Who’s Best In The League?

    March: the month where brackets are set, all-star players and teams are matched up and competitions determine who is best in the league. As the intensity of March Madness is upon us, I’ve been watching another landscape in which, similar to NCAA basketball, players are closely being measured and champions are already being predicted. I’m talking about the connected fitness… Read More

  • From Paralysis To Recovery, Optimization Offers Ports New Tech Remedy

    From Paralysis To Recovery, Optimization Offers Ports New Tech Remedy

    Eight weeks is what the port of Oakland estimated it would take to recover from the paralyzing effects of the west coast port labor disputes. That’s right, as much as eight weeks of delays for domestic car manufacturers to receive parts, grocery stores to receive food and retailers to get their hands on the new Apple Watches. And eight weeks for the U.S. exporters to get their goods… Read More

  • Anti-Tech Backlash Could Be Coming Soon To A City Near You

    Anti-Tech Backlash Could Be Coming Soon To A City Near You

    While it can be dangerous to take lessons from television shows or science fiction novels, there’s evidence that as technology advances at breakneck speed, there will be those who are afraid of what’s coming and people could choose sides. To some extent, it’s because technology is always a few steps ahead of society, and we have yet to come to grips with much of… Read More

  • No Need For Alarm Over Private Company Valuations

    No Need For Alarm Over Private Company Valuations

    With 137% returns in an approximately two year period, there’s logic in mutual funds continuing to throw big dollars into strong IPO candidates, thus significantly inflating valuations. With this encroaching competition it’s not surprising then that VC’s are sending the warning. Read More

  • No Traditional Financial Institutions? No Problem

    No Traditional Financial Institutions? No Problem

    On Lending Club’s February 2015 quarterly earnings call, an analyst asked CEO Renaud Laplanche a simple question: have you considered getting the loans you’re issuing rated? Renaud had a simple answer: We have, but we won’t. As Renaud said, the marketplace lending platform’s loan grading system, which it illustrates on its website, is in many ways more transparent and… Read More

  • Why An Open Salary Policy Always Beats Secrecy

    Why An Open Salary Policy Always Beats Secrecy

    For four years, journalists and entrepreneurs have asked me why we created an open salary policy at my company. Here’s the answer: it prevents evil. Open salary policies mandate truthfulness and ethical behavior in organizations that would otherwise abuse the secrecy. “Transparency” is just a hollow buzzword unless executives are candid about compensation. Read More

  • The Terrible Technical Interview

    The Terrible Technical Interview

    Traditional technical interviews are terrible for everyone. They’re a bad way for companies to evaluate candidates. They’re a bad way for candidates to evaluate companies. They waste time and generate stress on both sides. Almost everyone, if pressed, will admit this. And yet they persist. I humbly suggest that it is time for engineers to start to flatly refuse to participate in them. Read More

  • From The Israeli Army Unit 8200 To Silicon Valley

    From The Israeli Army Unit 8200 To Silicon Valley

    To understand Israel’s innovation success, look no further than the Israeli Defense Forces and the country’s mandatory policy of service for young adults. For me and thousands of Israeli entrepreneurs like me, our startup journey began in the technology units of the Israeli Defense Forces. One unit in particular has become a prolific technology incubator, particularly in the field… Read More

  • An Online Publisher Argues For Its Continued Relevance

    An Online Publisher Argues For Its Continued Relevance

    In the digital media landscape, independent publishers are akin to magazines; they both cater to specific demographic groups and provide authoritative content that engages like-minded individuals. Interest-based publishing has flourished for decades, spanning across publishing and broadcast platforms, connecting with discrete audiences. However, the rise of the Internet brought low barriers… Read More

  • Are Newly Formed Roles In VC Firms Differentiators, Table Stakes Or Total BS?

    Are Newly Formed Roles In VC Firms Differentiators, Table Stakes Or Total BS?

    In the venture capital world, we’re about to experience an explosion of hiring around one very specific function. These people won’t invest in startups, nor will they analyze companies. They won’t help operate the management company, nor will they focus on LPs. They won’t be EIRs or in-house recruiters or PR consultants or pretty much anything you’re accustomed… Read More

  • How To Play VC Poker With Billions In The Pot

    How To Play VC Poker With Billions In The Pot

    As the ranks of super unicorns continue to grow, such as with Pinterest’s shiny new $11 billion valuation, analysts are increasingly scrutinizing these prices and whether they signal a new tech bubble. Bill Gurley, the Uber investor and partner at Benchmark, argued at SXSW this week that there will be “dead unicorns” among some of these high-priced companies. Another angle… Read More

  • On The Growth Of Apache Spark

    On The Growth Of Apache Spark

    Launched in U.C. Berkeley’s AMPLab in 2009, Apache Spark has begun to catch on like wildfire during the last year and a half. Spark had more than 465 contributors in 2014, making it the most active project in the Apache Software Foundation and among big data open source projects globally. Read More

  • How The White House Is Leading The National Effort On Civic Innovation

    How The White House Is Leading The National Effort On Civic Innovation

    Silicon Valley, Uncle Sam needs you! No, I’m not talking about just your checkbook. Many of us who work in tech and live in California are accustomed to calls from candidates and campaigns asking for money every couple of years. But this request is much different. Members of a new White House effort, the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), have been making house calls, from Sand Hill Road to… Read More

  • Kidnapping, Nigeria’s Quick Pay Day, Ransoms Its Future

    Kidnapping, Nigeria’s Quick Pay Day, Ransoms Its Future

    While the world lauded Nigeria’s noteworthy successes and worried about Boko Haram’s kidnappings and murders, most media ignored a troubling and growing kidnapping-for-profit racket. If Nigeria wants to convince the world she’s open for business and can lead the so-called MINT economies (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey), this kidnapping industry has to stop. Read More