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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  • In 3.5 Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones Crunch Network

    In 3.5 Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones

    I reckon it’s time to check in on one of my bolder predictions. Some 18 months ago, I wrote “In Five Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones.” Let’s get this out of the way: most of the smart money thinks I’m wrong by at least three years. Worldwide, according to Gartner, smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales in 2013, for the first time — but… Read More

  • The Future Is Transcendent: A Review Of HER

    The Future Is Transcendent: A Review Of HER

    For more than an hour Her seems little more than metaphor meets Manic Pixie Dream Girl: charming, yes, but insubstantial. And then— Los Angeles, mid-21st-century: techno-utopia. The city is a forest of sleek skyscrapers; a vast subway network connects downtown to the beaches; citizens mingle in public spaces that resemble art galleries, connected by broad pedestrian walkways that soar… Read More

  • BuzzFeed Is The Future (Whether It Lives Or Dies) Crunch Network

    BuzzFeed Is The Future (Whether It Lives Or Dies)

    It’s time for a little inside baseball! Be still your beating hearts. But admit it: secretly you want to know about the success/failure of the myriad news sources whose stories flit disconnectedly across your Facebook and Twitter feeds from time to time, if only so you can tell your friends that you already knew who was doomed, on the day that long-fabled Great Shakeout finally comes… Read More

  • Failure Modes Crunch Network

    Failure Modes

    This was a rich month for the deadpool. Prim shut down. So did CarWoo. And much-hyped Outbox. And even moot’s Canvas/DrawQuest, which had 1.4 million app downloads and 400,000 monthly users. All part of the game, right? The circle of startup life, or something. It’s a truism that most startups fail. But in fact most startups don’t even get to fail, in the way the word is… Read More

  • The Techno-Militarization Of America Crunch Network

    The Techno-Militarization Of America

    Remember last year? Edward Snowden! NSA! Shock! Horror! Dismay! Looking back I’m amazed we all seemed so surprised. Over the last decade, pretty much every arm of American authority invoked “homeland security” as an excuse to acquire boatloads of new technology, and used it to help expand their power and authority to unprecedented levels. There is nothing at all exceptional… Read More

  • Such DFW. Very Orwell. So Doge. Wow. Crunch Network

    Such DFW. Very Orwell. So Doge. Wow.

    Let’s talk about doge, but first let’s talk about the late great David Foster Wallace, who thirteen years ago wrote a classic essay about modern English* entitled “Tense Present,” which, realistically, is better than anything I will ever write, so I should maybe just point you at it and end this post here. But I won’t. Not least because I strongly suspect that if… Read More

  • Publish And Perish? What To Do With That Book Inside Of You Crunch Network

    Publish And Perish? What To Do With That Book Inside Of You

    When people tell me they have a book inside of them — which actually happens quite a lot, probably because I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a clutch of novels (traditionally) published — I always want to ask: “Have you considered surgery?” As George Orwell famously said: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some… Read More

  • I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This, But T-Mobile Is Awesome Crunch Network

    I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This, But T-Mobile Is Awesome

    I’ve spent the last week back in my wintry homeland in Canada, and here the scales have fallen from my eyes, and I have seen the light, and I have a message for all of you who live in America, a message of the utmost importance, inscribed in fire on the sacred stone of the Internet. And that message is: holy crap T-Mobile is awesome. If you travel internationally at all, you should switch… Read More

  • It’s A Wonderful Life, For A Few Of Us Crunch Network

    It’s A Wonderful Life, For A Few Of Us

    So where were we? Oh yes: everybody hates us. San Francisco’s recent Google-bus and “homeless trash” kerfuffles are symptoms of an increasingly broad, deep, and bitter anti-tech animosity. The Economist predicts: “The tech elite will join bankers and oilmen in public demonology.” The New York Times concurs: “Tech workers have, rightly or wrongly, received… Read More

  • Amazon Drones: As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap Crunch Network

    Amazon Drones: As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap

    As a drone hipster — I wrote an entire novel about a drone apocalypse a full five years ago — I watched the techosphere’s reactions to Amazon’s announcement that it was experimenting with drone delivery with a mixture of amusement and despair. Almost everybody is thinking so small. Jeff Bezos must feel like Butch Cassidy: “I got vision, and the rest of the world… Read More

  • It’s Time For A Special Regulatory Zone Crunch Network

    It’s Time For A Special Regulatory Zone

    Your government is the enemy of the future. Innovative technology that would disrupt the world as we know it is already here, but oppressive government bureaucrats keep getting in its way. Taxi commissions vs. Uber; the FDA vs 23AndMe; the FAA vs. Amazon Prime Air; the DMV vs. self-driving cars; governments everywhere vs. Bitcoin. This is intolerable and must stop. The government must get out… Read More

  • Yahoo Users Anonymous: A Transcript Crunch Network

    Yahoo Users Anonymous: A Transcript

    This is what happened: Scene: A Silicon Valley church basement. Folding chairs, coffee, cigarettes tucked behind ears. Jon EVANS, a tall man with a shaved head and an Arsenal FC T-shirt, steps forward to the podium. He has a slight Canadian accent. Jon: Hi, my name’s Jon, and I’m a Yahoo! user. Room, in unison: Hi, Jon! Jon: I guess…I mean, this is so embarrassing… Read More

  • Let’s Kill The Aid Industry Crunch Network

    Let’s Kill The Aid Industry

    Long have I nursed a healthy contempt for the aid industry. As I spent much of a decade wandering around the planet, taking local public transit through poor and/or unstable nations, I kept encountering aid workers in their flashy white branded 4x4s, and was almost invariably resoundingly unimpressed. As I’ve written elsewhere: Most development aid is actively harmful. Read More

  • Android vs. iOS Development: Fight! Crunch Network

    Android vs. iOS Development: Fight!

    The eternal startup question “Android or iOS first?” grows ever thornier, with news that Android’s market share exceeds 80%. But never mind the managers and non-technical founders: what do developers! developers! think of that divide? Whoever makes life easier for them gains a sizable edge. And by “them” I mean “us.” When not writing TC columns… Read More

  • Where I Went Wrong, Third Annual Edition Crunch Network

    Where I Went Wrong, Third Annual Edition

    Happy anniversary to me: I’ve now been writing this here weekly column for exactly three years. Over the last year I have opined, prescribed, and predicted many things. And now, like last year, and the year before, as part of my one-man crusade for greater opinion-journalism accountability, I’m going to take a moment to go back and look at what I got right… and where I… Read More

  • Dear Google, What’s Wrong With You? Crunch Network

    Dear Google, What’s Wrong With You?

    Dear Google: What’s wrong? I ask because last weekend, while in San Francisco, I asked Google Maps for “hot chocolate mission” — and was promptly directed to an ARCO station in Fremont, 40 miles away. Similarly, last month I searched for “coffee” while in the Embarcadero Center, one of the denser coffee hotspots in America, and was sent to a Starbucks more… Read More

  • The War On Hackers Crunch Network

    The War On Hackers

    Corey Thuen was a developer at the Idaho National Laboratory who helped to develop a network-visualization tool called Sophia. Then Battelle Energy, the company that manages the INL, rejected the notion of open-sourcing Sophia, and instead licensed it for commercial use to a company called NexDefense. So Thuen went created a separate-but-similar open-source tool called Visdom, written in… Read More

  • Zuck Knows If You’ve Been Bad Or Good, So Be Good For Goodness’ Sake Crunch Network

    Zuck Knows If You’ve Been Bad Or Good, So Be Good For Goodness’ Sake

    Like everyone else I am shocked, shocked!, to learn that Facebook’s latest policy switch was one which will lead to users posting more public data. This time it’s teenagers, who now “have the choice to post publicly on Facebook.” which they didn’t before. Why? Simple: as the NYT puts it, “fundamentally, Facebook wants to encourage more public sharing, not… Read More

  • The Panopticon Is Extremely Convenient (So Use Facebook, Google, And Chrome) Crunch Network

    The Panopticon Is Extremely Convenient (So Use Facebook, Google, And Chrome)

    I write from the Philippines, where a phone has just been released which, if stolen, can be remotely triggered to repeatedly scream “Thief! Thief! Thief!” Back home, BART riders have been hearing: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your train operator. If you have any electronic devices with you, please make sure they are secure, especially if you are near the exits.” Read More

  • Meet The New Serfs, Same As The Old Serfs Crunch Network

    Meet The New Serfs, Same As The Old Serfs

    Once upon a time there were things called jobs, and they were well understood. People went to work for companies, in offices or in factories. There were exceptions — artists, aristocrats, entrepeneurs — but they were rare. Laws, regulations, and statistics were based on this assumption; but, increasingly, what people do today doesn’t fit neatly into that anachronistic… Read More