No Picture

Video: Larry Harvey and JP Barlow on Burning Man and tech culture

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

Larry Harvey, founder of the counterculture festival Burning Man, passed away this weekend. He was 70.

Harvey created a movement and contributed to the flowering both of counter-culture and, ultimately, of tech culture.

Both he and John Perry Barlow, who also passed in February this year after a long period of ill health, were huge advocates of free speech. Barlow wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead, and then became a digital rights activist in later life.

In 2013 I caught up with both of them and recorded a joint 24 minute interview, just a short walk from the venue for the ‘Le Web London’ conference.

Amid the street noise and the traffic, they discussed some of the intellectual underpinnings of startup entrepreneurship and its parallels with Burning Man, in what might have been their first-ever joint interview.

We went over early computer culture, and how there was a “revolutionary zeal in the notion of intellectual empowerment” in Psychedelia which found common cause in tech cul..

No Picture

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum is leaving Facebook after clashing over data privacy

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum is leaving the company amid arguments with parent company Facebook over data privacy and the messaging app’s business model, according to a report from The Washington Post. Koum, together with his fellow co-founder Brian Acton, sold WhatsApp to Facebook in 2014 for an eye-popping sum of $19 billion, $3 billion of which consisted of Facebook stock granted to both Koum and Acton, who left the company back in September. Koum confirmed his departure in a personal Facebook post today.

Koum’s Facebook post does not mention any inner turmoil at WhatsApp or address any of The Washington Post’s reporting, which suggests Koum took issue with Facebook’s approach to data privacy and encryption:

It’s been almost…

Continue reading…

No Picture

SoFi founder Mike Cagney is back with a new startup and $50 million in funding

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

Mike Cagney, who was ousted last summer from the lending company he founded, is back with a new startup and a whole lot of funding from at least one of his previous investors.

According to a new report in Bloomberg, Cagney, who earlier this year formed a new lending startup called Figure, has raised $50 million to grow the company, which plans to use the blockchain to facilitate loan approvals in minutes instead of days.

According to the company’s site, its lending products will include home equity lines of credit, home improvement loans and home buy-lease back offerings for retirement.

The round was led by DCM Ventures and Ribbit Capital and included participation from Mithril Capital Management, Cagney confirmed to Bloomberg.

Ribbit Capital in Palo Alto, Calif., has been leading investments in the world of fintech and digital currencies from its founding nearly six years ago. Others of its many bets include the online consumer lending company Affirm and Point, a startup that buys..

No Picture

Senate Democrats plan to push rollback of FCC’s new net neutrality rules in May

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

One of the several ways opponents of the FCC’s new net neutrality rules plan to push back is to use the Congressional Review Act to nix the Commission’s order before it has a chance to take effect. Although Democrats in the Senate are currently one vote short of success, they plan to force the vote soon anyway, perhaps as early as mid-May.

As explained in other posts about the steps that can be taken to combat the unpopular Restoring Internet Freedom order, the CRA allows for a quick vote on whether to roll back a recently established regulation. The current administration used it a great deal to undo later Obama-era rules, but now the shoe is on the other foot — partially, anyway.

So far Senate Democrats have a total of 50 votes, including that of Republican Susan Collins — much more than required to force a vote but one short of the 51 needed to pass the resolution. And even if it did pass, its chances of passing in the House are even smaller, and after that, it would be DOA on the..

No Picture

Covee uses blockchain to allow experts worldwide to collaborate

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

Solving complex data-driven problems requires a lot of teamwork. But, of course, teamwork is typically restricted to companies where everyone is working under there same roof. While distributed teams have become commonplace in tech startups, taking that to the next level by linking up disparate groups of people all working on the same problem (but not in the same company) has been all but impossible. However, in theory, you could use a blockchain to do such a thing, where the work generated was constantly accounted for on-chain.

That’s in theory. In practice, there’s now a startup that claims to have come up with this model. And it’s raised funding.

Covee, a startup out of Berlin has raised a modest EUR 1.35m, in a round led by LocalGlobe in London with Atlantic Labs in Berlin and a selection of Angels. Prior to this, the company was bootstrapped by CEO Dr Marcel Dietsch, who left his job at a London-based hedge fund, and his long-time friend, Dr Raphael Schoettler, COO, who had prev..

No Picture

U.S. jury convicts former Autonomy executive of fraud over HP deal

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A U.S. jury on Monday convicted the former chief financial officer of British software company Autonomy of wire fraud and other crimes related to claims by the government that he inflated the firm's value before its sale to Hewlett Packard, a Justice Department spokesman said.

No Picture

DNC launches tech marketplace for Democratic candidates

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

The Democratic National Committee is trying to help Democrats regain the pole position as the tech-savviest political party in the U.S.

After getting Trumped in the 2016 election (pwned on security, data analysis, and at the polls), the DNC is launching I Will Run a marketplace for software, services and training to upgrade the campaigns of Democratic candidates.

Announced today by Sally Marx, the tech program manager for the DNC, the new marketplace will have a host of tech tools that campaigns can use to get off the ground, manage their progress, and ensure easy outreach to voters.

A profusion of political services have sprung up in the months since Donald Trump took the Presidency. Energized technology developers (on the whole a pretty left-leaning bunch) tuned in to politics, turned on new services and (in some cases) dropped out of their careers at high profile shops like Google, Facebook, and other Bay Are behemoths to join the political circus — or at least build tools for it..

No Picture

Spam filters and AI help figure out what animals do all day

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

The pond-dwelling Hydra is not a very complex little animal but it does have a complex repertoire of moves that aren’t clear until after extensive human observation. Examining these moves took a long time and scientists were never sure that they had seen all of them. Now, thanks to an algorithm used to catch spam, researchers have been able to catalog all of the Hydra’s various moves, allowing them to map those moves to the neurons firing in its weird little head.

“People have used machine learning algorithms to partly analyze how a fruit fly flies, and how a worm crawls, but this is the first systematic description of an animal’s behavior,” said Rafael Yuste, a neuroscientist at Columbia University . “Now that we can measure the entirety of Hydra’s behavior in real-time, we can see if it can learn, and if so, how its neurons respond.”

Luckily, the little Hydra was pretty predictable. From the report:

In the current study, the team went a step further by attempting to catalog Hydra’..

No Picture

Discovering that deckhands make great waiters — and why this matters

April 30, 2018 Alex 0

Breakthroughs in HR tech are not only giving employers game-changing tools with which to enhance processes and attract the best talent, they’re also solving longstanding labor gremlins, such as gender pay parity and blind hiring. At the same time, they’re giving employees novel means by which to accrue and auto-tag prequalifying skill sets for job scenarios far beyond their current positions. But there are opportunities in matching current/future employee needs with what employers can offer.

In January, Gartner projected that HR tech would drive growth in worldwide IT spending in 2018. I’ve spent the last few months better understanding the landscape, so I’m better-positioned to gauge how the cards will fall. I interviewed 10 leaders in human resources — thanks to people like Jan Fiegel (SideWalk Labs), Parker Barille (former VP Product LinkedIn), Cindy Cordon (Policy Genius). Here’s what I gleaned.

First, let’s clarify misconceptions
HR tech is a huge space

Yes. It will be, but it ..