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.

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  • A modest primer for Ethereum programming Crunch Network

    A modest primer for Ethereum programming

    The world is full of web programmers, but there’s a real paucity of cryptocurrency developers, and the chasm between the two fields is hard to cross. So I thought I’d take what I’d learned from architecting and building out our own Ethereum-based projects, and turn it into an open-sourced tutorial for web devs, in the hopes of encouraging a little more actual development… Read More

  • Everyone hates us, and it’s not because of our sex parties

    Everyone hates us, and it’s not because of our sex parties

    It was, briefly, the zeitgeist’s perfect Silicon Valley story: a sex-and-drugs party hosted hosted by since-ousted top-tier VC Steve Jurvetson, at an official Draper Fisher Jurvetson event,attended by multiple billionaires including Elon Musk. So said Paul Biggar, founder of CircleCI, in a widely read Medium post, expanding on Vanity Fair’s excerpt of Emily Chang’s new… Read More

  • The cryptocurrency bubble is strangling innovation

    The cryptocurrency bubble is strangling innovation

    Sure, fine, maybe it’s a bubble. OK it’s definitely a bubble, but that’s a good thing, a bubble brings attention and investment in infrastructure, which breeds real innovation. Right? Look at the dot-com boom. A lot of people lost a whole lot of paper money, but it brought us a cheap worldwide fiber backbone and companies like Amazon and Google. Today’s crypto bubble… Read More

  • It’s the Jons 2017!

    It’s the Jons 2017!

    Happy New Year! It’s been a transformational year in tech. The golden era of startups ended. Sorry about that. The tech industry finally rolled over a big rock it had ignored and/or leaned on for years, and exposed the squirming morass of sexual harassment beneath. We witnessed major AI breakthroughs, a cryptocurrency megaboom, really truly self-driving cars, and 18 SpaceX launches. But… Read More

  • Ted Chiang is a genius, but he’s wrong about Silicon Valley

    Ted Chiang is a genius, but he’s wrong about Silicon Valley

    Ted Chiang isn’t just one of the greatest science-fiction writers alive — he’s one of the greatest writers alive full stop. Which is why I was so saddened and disappointed by his recent excoriation of Silicon Valley in BuzzFeed. As the tech industry grows ever more powerful, we need brilliant minds critiquing and dissecting its many flaws. Instead we got a trenchant takedown of… Read More

  • ICO-lateral damage

    ICO-lateral damage

    The ICO regulators are here, and they’re carrying big sticks. (PDF) “Coins or other digital assets issued on a blockchain may be securities under the federal securities laws… tokens were securities as defined by Section 2(a)(1) of the Securities Act because they were investment contracts … An investment contract is an investment of money in a common enterprise with… Read More

  • The Flying Eye and you and I

    The Flying Eye and you and I

    It’s refreshing, in this difficult time, when technology and the tech industry seem trapped in a quicksand of endless ethical compromises and disconcerting emergent properties, to come across something tech-related of which one can say, awed, without complications or caveats: holy shit this is amazing. Which happened to me today! Let me share it with you. The Flying Eye Hospital… Read More

  • Metascarcity and Bitcoin’s future

    Metascarcity and Bitcoin’s future

    The problem with writing about Bitcoin is that the subject has become so emotional. The very name inspires triumph, greed, resentment, or fury. Triumph from those handful of hodlers (yes, really) who are watching the destiny they long foretold actually come true before their eyes. Greed from those hundreds of thousands of newbies who just bought in. Those two groups are, of course, bitcoin… Read More

  • In praise of Tesla’s bankruptcy

    In praise of Tesla’s bankruptcy

    You know everybody loves Tesla-the-company. But did you know that a whole lot of smart people hate Tesla-the-business? “From a return-on-investment-capital standpoint, Tesla is a catastrophe.” “The electric-car maker has been burning money at a clip of about $8,000 a minute (or $480,000 an hour.)” “Tesla is losing a massive amount of money with no competition, and… Read More

  • Cultural accumulation vs. cultural decay

    Cultural accumulation vs. cultural decay

    Don’t worry; I’m not getting all moralistic on you here. When I talk about cultural decay I’m talking about something I think we need more of. We have too much culture to have a culture, you see, and that’s basically all tech’s fault — but it’s not necessarily a problem. No, stop, wait, listen, I can explain. Have you noticed that it’s a whole… Read More

  • Arab springs and AI winters

    Arab springs and AI winters

    Remember the Arab Spring? “Revolution 2.0”? Remember how we imagined, full of triumphal optimism, that social media would become the web that knit the oppressed masses together, would empower them to join forces and overthrow their oppressors and stride shoulder-to-shoulder together into a better world? Yeah, those were the days. But now — “disillusioned”… Read More

  • Hillary Clinton and epistemological collapse

    Hillary Clinton and epistemological collapse

    How do you know that Hillary Clinton exists? I’m serious; or, at least, I’m making a point. Bear with me. Think about it. You don’t know her personally, after all. You’ve never met her. You’ve maybe been in the same room as a woman who was introduced to you as her – but probably not. So how do you know there truly is a real person named Hillary Clinton… Read More

  • Ether fever dreams

    Ether fever dreams

    “The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge.” — Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Everybody wants to believe they’re bettering the world, and what’s more, that they’re on the brink of a revolutionary transformation. Read More

  • After the end of the startup era

    After the end of the startup era

    There’s a weird feeling afoot these days, in the Valley, and in San Francisco. Across the rest of the world — Denver, Santiago, Toronto, Berlin, “Silicon Glen,” “Silicon Alley,” “Silicon Roundabout“, Station F — it seems every city still wants to be a startup hub, dreaming of becoming “the new Silicon Valley.” But in the… Read More

  • Self-driving cars and shipping containers

    Self-driving cars and shipping containers

    The most wonderful and most terrible things about new technologies are their emergent properties. The latest example is, of course, Fake News On Facebook; who would have thought that connecting everyone via social media would lead to wildly divergent narratives of (so-called) reality? And yet here we are. But if you think social media is messy and weird … just wait until we get… Read More

  • Curing the incurable

    Curing the incurable

    Very rarely, an app comes along that changes your life. I want to tell you about such an app, and how it changed mine. I had nothing to do with its making; I have never installed or opened it on my phone; and yet, I expect that this will be the most personal of the almost 400 pieces I have written for TechCrunch over the years. It is estimated that between one-third and one-half of adults in… Read More

  • Capitalism without consequences

    Capitalism without consequences

    Technology decouples economies. AirBNB owns no rooms, but provides accommodations; Uber owns (essentially) no vehicles, but provides transport; Stripe is not a bank, but provides bank accounts; a vast panoply of corporate services run on Amazon-owned servers. There are many excellent things about this decoupling; it improves efficiency, aids focus, and spurs innovation. But technology also has… Read More

  • The abyss of analytics

    The abyss of analytics

    I want to talk about a mistake I see client after client making. (I work at a tech consultancy. We have a lot of clients. Not all of them make this mistake! …But many do.) That mistake is to obsess over analytics data, without any strategy; to assume that all that needs to be done is to gather as much data as possible, and then this data will magically become knowledge, and knowledge… Read More

  • The learned helplessness of Equifax

    The learned helplessness of Equifax

    Is there a formal name for the fallacy of assuming that the status quo is sane? Such a name would become more useful with each passing year. There are a shocking number of examples, but I give you, as a perfect, vivid, front-of-mind example, the credit rating system of the United States of America, as exemplified by that radioactive disaster of a company called Equifax. It is well understood… Read More

  • Technology, complexity, anxiety, catastrophe

    Technology, complexity, anxiety, catastrophe

    You wake up. Check your phone. Something happened overnight. People are upset. The actual news is uncertain, it’s too soon for context and understanding, but it’s not too soon for everyone to quickly confirm their biases. It’s never too soon for that. You shower. Get dressed. Get ready for your job. Work emails have already begin to flood into your inbox. Some automatic… Read More

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