Column

 

  • Do Software Engineers Get Enough Respect?

    Do Software Engineers Get Enough Respect?

    “For software engineers, life must seem like it keeps getting better,” cheerleads CNet. Glassdoor agrees: our median salary is now $85K, and six figures in San Francisco. And everyone predicts that demand for our talents is skyrocketing. So what is one to make of a recent claim that, as a class, we are downtrodden, disrespected, and disenfranchised? …Actually, the guy kind of… Read More

  • What Studying Students Teaches Us About Great Apps

    What Studying Students Teaches Us About Great Apps

    With over a million apps in each the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, there’s an app—or 10—for practically everything a consumer needs. So why is it in an ever-growing sea of competing apps, some take off like rocket ships while most fade into obscurity? The answer is magic. Read More

  • Why Seattle Is Not Like Silicon Valley

    Why Seattle Is Not Like Silicon Valley

    The stories of Silicon Valley millennials competing, succeeding, and failing spill out of the region faster than most journalists can type. The region excels in the churning out of startups, thanks to the abundance of venture capitalists, the plethora of reporters, and the proximity of like-minded techies. Read More

  • The JOBS Act Progress Report: The Number Of Tech IPOs Can Double By 2016

    The JOBS Act Progress Report: The Number Of Tech IPOs Can Double By 2016

    In early January 2014, there was a widespread concern that the IPO window was going to snap shut. But the chilling IPO winter transformed into an early blossom and the market rebounded. Recently, the soul-searching and spirited talk about the long-term health and sustainability of the IPO market has included much discussion of the benefits brought by the JOBS Act, which two years ago the… Read More

  • The Logic Of Crazy Valuations

    The Logic Of Crazy Valuations

    August is the traditional vacation month for venture capitalists, who stream out of their Sand Hill Road offices to quieter points, ostensibly to reflect on the year so far and prepare for the heavy fall fundraising season. And what a year it has been! We now have several companies valued at around $10 billion and above, including Airbnb, Dropbox, and Uber. Those valuations seem tame compared… Read More

  • The World Of Everything-As-A-Service

    The World Of Everything-As-A-Service

    Over the last few years, it’s become dramatically simpler and more capital-efficient to launch and grow internet businesses. In particular, “X-as-a-Service” providers help startups get off the ground with only a few hundred dollars. Amazon and Rackspace provide on-demand servers that scale to meet hosting requirements, Mailchimp and Sendgrid run high-performance mail servers… Read More

  • Men Initiating Change Is An Important Step Toward Eradicating Tech’s Bro Culture

    Men Initiating Change Is An Important Step Toward Eradicating Tech’s Bro Culture

    The conversation about women in tech is shifting as technology companies begin to hold themselves accountable. Recent moves, such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo releasing their employee diversity numbers, show an intensified commitment to making real change for women technologists, but the sentiment is not industry-wide. We often hear from tech leadership that they would like to hire… Read More

  • The Poet, Scientist, Journalist, Boxer Approach To Entrepreneurship

    The Poet, Scientist, Journalist, Boxer Approach To Entrepreneurship

    One of the great challenges for startups is figuring out where to start. Entrepreneurs believe that unless they build something now, their idea will become outdated or stolen by their competitor. However, that thought process is akin to running a marathon with one month of training. Yes, it can be done, but you run the risk of burning out and failing more quickly. What is needed is a… Read More

  • Who’s Doing Common-Sense Reasoning And Why It Matters

    Who’s Doing Common-Sense Reasoning And Why It Matters

    When we humans communicate, we rely on a vast background of unspoken assumptions. Everyone knows that “water is wet,” and “people want to be happy” and we assume everyone we meet shares this knowledge. It forms the basis of how we interact and allows us to communicate quickly, efficiently, and with deep meaning. Read More

  • The New TV Pilot Season: Bringing YouTube Stars, Channels And Bloggers To TV Screens

    The New TV Pilot Season: Bringing YouTube Stars, Channels And Bloggers To TV Screens

    Hollywood is in love with YouTube. Last year, DreamWorks Animation paid $33 million for YouTube channel AwesomenessTV, Warner Bros. invested $18 million in the YouTube channel Machinima and most recently, Disney purchased Maker Studios for $500 million. At this point, many other studios are probably negotiating acquisitions of these multi-channel networks. The explanation for so much love… Read More

  • John McAfee In Crazytown

    John McAfee In Crazytown

    “The press has portrayed me alternately as a mad genius or a mad psychotic genius,” began the infamous John McAfee, speaking at Def Con–and why break that streak now? I must admit: when he’s crazy, he’s crazy like a fox. Ultimately, though, as insane and riveting as his tale is, what’s most interesting to me is the way he has weirdly come to symbolize… Read More

  • When Payment Processing Becomes A Commodity

    When Payment Processing Becomes A Commodity

    One of the big subjects of discussion in the banking industry earlier this year was the publication of the Millennial Disruption Index, stating that millennials view banks as irrelevant and placing traditional retail banking at the highest risk of disruption compared to other B2C industries. Accenture’s Banking 2020 report confirms this and draws a parallel to the challenges the… Read More

  • Stellar, Uber, And The Rise Of Computational Trust

    Stellar, Uber, And The Rise Of Computational Trust

    How do you feel about letting strangers into your home? Our homes act as a kind of sanctuary from the outside world, a highly personal and exclusive refuge. They should be safe. While it is a commonplace in cultures throughout the world to be gracious hosts to guests, such warmth rarely extends to complete strangers at the door. Read More

  • Taking A Wait-And-See Approach With Disruptive Innovations

    Taking A Wait-And-See Approach With Disruptive Innovations

    There’s been quite the brouhaha lately about disruptive innovation. On one side is Harvard Prof. Clay Christensen (author of The Innovator’s Dilemma) and his long-prevailing theory about how disruptive innovation drives incumbents out of the market. On the other side is Jill Lepore and her attack of Christensen’s theory in The New Yorker. It’s an interesting issue… Read More

  • Notes From Crazytown, Day Three: Black Hat Breakdown

    Notes From Crazytown, Day Three: Black Hat Breakdown

    So far this week, at Black Hat, I have learned to deeply mistrust: passwords, chip-and-PIN cards, USB devices, HTTPS connections, more than two billion phones, governments worldwide, all human societies, and my sense of the ridiculous. You should mistrust all those too! Sorry. What follows is a summary of the most eyebrow-raising talks I attended or heard about: Read More

  • Notes From Crazytown, Day Two: How To Fix Everything

    Notes From Crazytown, Day Two: How To Fix Everything

    Did you know the CIA has a venture fund? Of course the CIA has a venture fund. It’s called In-Q-Tel, and yesterday its Chief Information Security Officer, Dan Geer, a world-weary man with white Wolverine sideburns, stepped forth from the shadows to give the keynote address at Black Hat. It was a remarkable speech and I want to signal-boost it. Read More

  • When Wearable Health Trackers Meet Your Doctor

    When Wearable Health Trackers Meet Your Doctor

    How interested is your doctor in health data that you’ve tracked yourself? Wearable health and fitness devices are now hugely popular, and they certainly appeal to people who want to tot up their paces. But many people who have invested in trackers like the Fitbit, Jawbone’s UP bracelet, or the Nike+ FuelBand want to know: can this data be used to give me more serious… Read More

  • Kim Kardashian: Hollywood And The Viral “Oops”

    Kim Kardashian: Hollywood And The Viral “Oops”

    Editor’s Note: Nir Eyal writes about the intersection of psychology, technology and business at NirAndFar.com. He is the author of “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products”. Recently, I started looking into the explosively popular new game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. The game has ranked at or near the top of Apple’s U.S. App Store charts for the most downloaded… Read More

  • Three Ways For Retailers To Survive The Amazon Fire Crusade

    Three Ways For Retailers To Survive The Amazon Fire Crusade

    On July 25 Amazon began shipping its Fire phone, which includes Firefly, software that instantly recognizes products you can directly purchase on Amazon. Hot on the heels of this announcement was the news that Amazon released a beta version of its mobile wallet, Amazon Wallet, which will allow users to save gift cards to their device. For traditional retailers, Amazon has long been the… Read More

  • New Study Shows The Decline Of Startups And America’s Geriatric Economy

    New Study Shows The Decline Of Startups And America’s Geriatric Economy

    A few months ago, I asked a simple question: “Can Google ever be beat?” The query was less about Google itself, and more a question about the potential of startups to disrupt the largest companies in our economy. Do we have the talent and capital infrastructure needed for nascent companies to grow and compete against mature incumbents? I argued strongly that we do not, but I based… Read More