Column

  • The Robots Are Coming — Aren’t They?

    The Robots Are Coming — Aren’t They?

    Rosie, C3PO, HAL, WALL-E, Bender, Optimus, Asimo. Our obsession with robots propels them to the single name status normally reserved for pop icons like Sting, Madonna and Oprah. The media has a long history of shaping our view of what robots are – we have seen them in movies and TV shows and read about them in books. In fact, the term “robot” was first coined by Karel Capek… Read More

  • Foundation And Big Data

    Foundation And Big Data

    The Internet has become the world’s Sorting Hat: it identifies, and increasingly defines, the subculture(s) to which people belong. Does your Facebook feed feature Mother Jones or Fox News? The Guardian or The Telegraph? GamerGate vs Social Justice Warriors. Civil libertarians vs. terror-thumping authoritarians. r/parenting vs. r/childfree. Second Life vs. Digital Detox. Read More

  • The Hypocrisy of U.S. Cyber Policy

    The Hypocrisy of U.S. Cyber Policy

    The breakneck growth in internet usage over the past two decades has forced policymakers to confront a host of challenges, from how to regulate the sharing economy to who owns the infrastructure behind the “tubes” themselves. While tempers have flared on a number of these issues, I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to policymakers. The transformation of our society has been… Read More

  • Bitcoin Will Fix Remittances With Or Without The Western Unions Of The World

    Bitcoin Will Fix Remittances With Or Without The Western Unions Of The World

    In the late 90s, as personal computers and the Internet were increasingly finding their way into American homes, there were those who either didn’t recognize the disruptive power or potential they would have, or they felt threatened by their emergence (e.g “I’ll never quit reading the newspaper!”). Read More

  • The Magic Of Marketplace Expansion Playbooks

    The Magic Of Marketplace Expansion Playbooks

    Since the early days at Flowtab and now HomeHero it had long been an assumption that our city by city expansion would be driven by an illustrious detailed playbook. Our playbook would consist of an instruction manual with all the necessary steps to go from scratch to city domination as fast as possible and all we’d have to do was find the right people to carry out the assignment. It would… Read More

  • Google Glass Never Really Had A Fighting Chance

    Google Glass Never Really Had A Fighting Chance

    When Google announced it was ending the Glass Explorer program yesterday and handing over the reins to Nest’s Tony Fadell, it seemed to exit with more of a whimper than a scream. Let’s face it, from its earliest days, people loved to hate Glass. In fact, from the moment Google announced Glass, people reacted harshly to the new technology. They simply hated the idea of nerds… Read More

  • The Sentiment On Sharing Is Shifting

    The Sentiment On Sharing Is Shifting

    Cities make the sharing economy work. The overall sentiment toward sharing is shifting as traditional industries are upended and local regulatory environments are disrupted, while the sharing economy serves as a bulwark for innovation and growth — all at the same time. Read More

  • Investors Must Confront The On-Demand Economy’s Legal Problem, Part 2

    Investors Must Confront The On-Demand Economy’s Legal Problem, Part 2

    In Part 1 of this two-part series, we described how many on-demand economy (ODE) companies like Uber, Handy and Postmates would expose themselves to major legal liabilities if their service workers were found to be employees rather than independent contractors. Now let’s look at the options available to some of these companies to reduce their risk. Read More

  • Lower The Wall, Lift The Market

    Lower The Wall, Lift The Market

    The tech IPO market is booming, but only when you compare it to the lean years of the past decade. If we look back a little further, to the healthy days that preceded the dot-com bubble, the 51 tech startups that have gone public so far this year appear paltry in comparison. Read More

  • Investors Must Confront The On-Demand Economy’s Legal Problem, Part 1

    Investors Must Confront The On-Demand Economy’s Legal Problem, Part 1

    Chances are, no venture capital pitch deck you’ve ever seen had a slide entitled “Worker Classification.” And yet, many companies in the “sharing economy” or “on-demand economy” (ODE) rely on workforces whose legal status may be in jeopardy. Read More

  • The Message Is The Product: Solving Mobile Gaming’s Price Problem

    The Message Is The Product: Solving Mobile Gaming’s Price Problem

    The medium is the message, says Marshall McLuhan. If so the message is the product too. In considering the problem of paid games on mobile (conventional wisdom says people won’t pay for them) it seems more than ever that that reasoning applies. Mobile game makers don’t market premium, so they can’t charge premium. Time to take a leaf from Hollywood’s book. Read More

  • Why Business Must Take The Lead In Protecting The Global Internet

    Why Business Must Take The Lead In Protecting The Global Internet

    “Products don’t really get that interesting to turn into businesses until they have about a billion people using them,” said Mark Zuckerberg in a call with analysts in late October. Imagine trying to get to a billion users without the global Internet. Underlying Mark Zuckerberg’s comment is the simple assumption that the globally united and rapidly expanding… Read More

  • Channeling Positive Tablet Usage To Foster Childhood Development

    Channeling Positive Tablet Usage To Foster Childhood Development

    “Kids spend too much time on tablets and smartphones, not enough time outside!” “They are losing key skills because they are spending too much time on video games and apps!” We hear statements like these constantly, but the fact is, technology is a part of all of our lives, including our children’s, and that isn’t likely to change. Instead of looking at tech… Read More

  • What It Means When Law Firms And Startups Give Away Legal Documents

    What It Means When Law Firms And Startups Give Away Legal Documents

    Over the past five years, law firms in Silicon Valley, New York and Boston have put online – for free – the documents that startups need to execute basic legal transactions. But as big law firms mimic their small clients’ “freemium” business development model, they face increasing competition from startup companies seeking to disrupt the legal industry. Read More

  • The Four Horsemen Of The Cyber Apocalypse

    The Four Horsemen Of The Cyber Apocalypse

    If 2014 did anything good for cybersecurity, it showed us just how exposed major corporations, governments and militaries are to cyber attacks. From vulnerabilities in our power grids to our cash registers, cyber attacks have become the $400 billion problem. And while the attacks differ in motive and method, there are four consistent perpetrators charging at us at full speed – and we need… Read More

  • Getting More Cash Out Of SaaS: Timing Is Everything

    Getting More Cash Out Of SaaS: Timing Is Everything

    Much has been learned and written about the significant cash consumption associated with high-growth SaaS companies. But just how does one achieve rapid growth in a SaaS business while maintaining capital efficiency? The answer: by focusing on the timing of cash collection, not just cash spend. Read More

  • Decentralize All The Things!

    Decentralize All The Things!

    They gave us a fully decentralized Internet and we used it to build web services–Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, iCloud–so massively centralized they verge on being quasi-medieval fiefdoms. Now we’re building the Internet of Someone Else’s Things, wherein every room of every home will contain devices controlled by servers the homeowners don’t know, control, or understand. Read More

  • Preventing Digital Memory Loss

    Preventing Digital Memory Loss

    Editor’s Note: Kevin Skobac is a senior vice president for innovation, digital and social at SS+K and the co-founder of SS+K Labs, an in-house incubator of creative technologies.  For many years we’ve been blissfully riding a personal digital media revolution.  Better technology has solved more problems, enabling us to do more, consume more, and create more. The excitement… Read More

  • 2014 Hack Retrospective, Or Why Security Ecosystems Matter

    2014 Hack Retrospective, Or Why Security Ecosystems Matter

    The “Year of the Hack” will probably be one way that 2014 will be remembered. But it actually began in 2013 with a phishing email. There are clues to how hacks that began in 2013 (some even earlier) continue to reverberate, even as we begin into a New Year. Read More

  • Is YouTube The Yahoo Of 2015?

    Is YouTube The Yahoo Of 2015?

    The great story of Silicon Valley: A company, once ahead of its time, ceases to innovate for almost a decade while continuing to make billions off its legacy business model — ad sales. Then that once-great company dies. In the proud American tradition of AOL, Yahoo, and GeoCities, I present YouTube. Ever notice how its homepage looks almost the same as it did in 2007? Read More

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