New new world
Donglegate Controversy Yields Only One Winner: GitHub- First, two guys at a programming conference made some jokes about big dongles and wanting to fork some other guy’s repo, and the woman sitting in front of them took offense. Then she snapped their photo, shuttled it onto Twitter, and told her 11,000 followers what the two coders had said. Then one of the coders was fired by his company. Then someone launched an online attack against the woman’s company. And then she was fired too. The widely reported incident shined a harsh light on just about everyone involved: the coders, the woman with the camera, the companies who fired them, and the larger programming community — a traditionally male-dominated culture that’s still struggling to provide women with the same level of comfort it affords men. In the end, no one came out looking too good. More here.
Brogrammers Making Sex Jokes and Other Reasons Startups Need HR Departments: When I worked at a startup, we jokingly referred to our “HR department”—a cardboard box that held resumes, NDAs, tax forms, whatever. Perhaps not coincidentally, we also played beer pong and Texas Hold ‘Em in the office. Mostly that was part of the fun of working there, but when one of our developers lifted my Facebook (FB) log-in to post some jokey stuff on our site under my name, that cardboard box suddenly felt like a woefully inadequate advocate. I thought about that this week, when I read about the software developer who lost his job for making some sexual jokes in the audience at a tech conference, and about Adria Richards, the woman who snapped his photo and called him out on Twitter. She lost her job, too; the company she worked for was hit with a DDOS attack. More here.
Why conference tickets cost money: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Most people know this. Still, every year we get requests for free tickets to the TNW Conference. It usually starts with 1 request a week, a few months in advance, and ends with between 5 and 10 free ticket requests per day, per person, involved with organizing the conference. Yes, that’s a LOT of free ticket requests to deal with. More here. More here.
Entrepreneurship Program Gives Former Prostitutes a Fresh Start: As part of a recent class, a group of students at Imperial College Business School in London was broken into teams to put together a rocket and launch it without hitting any of the fancy cars parked nearby. Usually at least one or two groups fail. This time, though, every team succeeded. This time, the students were all women who had been abducted from their home countries and forced into prostitution. They were all looking to start a new life, and the program at Imperial, a two-week certificate program in entrepreneurship, was designed specifically to help them do that. More here.
Finding Their Next Facebook: As you sit across from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, it is easy to lose track of whom exactly you’re talking to. Tall, blue-eyed and each built as broad-shouldered as a fridge, the twins are identical right down to their entrees: a pair of lobster rolls, with potato chips. Each has an espresso; neither eats the biscotti it comes with. And while the restaurant around them is spinning with chatter on this February night, the twins are each laser focused on getting their message across. More here.
How Much Should a Startup Founder Pay Himself? Bob Dorf, co-author, The Startup Owner’s Manual writes. Genuine entrepreneurs have a very simple formula… they get what’s left in the bank… after others, key vendors, and the like are paid, and once they’re confident there’s enough cash reserve left in the bank to keep the company chugging along for some number of weeks. VCs laugh at business plans that show generous salaries for founders, for good reason: The founder’s reward comes from building a repeatable, scalable, sustainable and profitable business… not from showing up. More here.
A Strange Computer Promises Great Speed: Our digital age is all about bits, those precise ones and zeros that are the stuff of modern computer code. But a powerful new type of computer that is about to be commercially deployed by a major American military contractor is taking computing into the strange, subatomic realm of quantum mechanics. In that infinitesimal neighborhood, common sense logic no longer seems to apply. A one can be a one, or it can be a one and a zero and everything in between — all at the same time. It sounds preposterous, particularly to those familiar with the yes/no world of conventional computing. But academic researchers and scientists at companies like Microsoft, I.B.M. and Hewlett-Packard have been working to develop quantum computers. More here.
So It Begins: Darpa Sets Out to Make Computers That Can Teach Themselves: The Pentagon’s blue-sky research agency is readying a nearly four-year project to boost artificial intelligence systems by building machines that can teach themselves — while making it easier for ordinary schlubs like us to build them, too. When Darpa talks about artificial intelligence, it’s not talking about modeling computers after the human brain. That path fell out of favor among computer scientists years ago as a means of creating artificial intelligence; we’d have to understand our own brains first before building a working artificial version of one. But the agency thinks we can build machines that learn and evolve, using algorithms — “probabilistic programming” — to parse through vast amounts of data and select the best of it. After that, the machine learns to repeat the process and do it better. More here.
Never Say ‘I Don’t Have Time’ Again: You’re probably deluding yourself about how you use your time. Here’s one radical way to force yourself to get real. More here.
Eight Leadership Lessons From The World’s Most Powerful Women: Today I had the great pleasure of speaking at The Innovation Enterprises’ 2013 Women in Strategy Summit, which brings together 75 high-level women in marketing and strategy, about the leadership secrets of the world’s most powerful women. With women comprising just 4% of corporate CEOs, 14% of executive officers and 20% of America’s government officials, we’re facing a persistent leadership gap at the highest echelons. To move forward, we must first take stock of what is working. The following eight leadership lessons, synthesized and updated from a keynote I gave last year, come directly from the women who know what it takes to get to the top. More here.
The world’s greatest bazaar: IN 1999 Trudy Dai used to spend all night sending e-mails from her friend Jack Ma’s apartment, trying to answer queries from American customers without letting on that she was Chinese. Ms Dai was one of the first dozen employees of Alibaba, an online listings service Mr Ma, a teacher, had just started. It was already having some success connecting small Chinese manufacturers to potential customers, including the overseas ones Ms Dai was reassuring over e-mail. But the friends and students who made up the workforce were earning just 550 yuan (then $66) a month. More here.
What is Google doing? A few years ago, web thinker Jeff Jarvis published an homage to the world’s most successful Web search and advertising company titled “What Would Google Do?” These days, the question seems to be, “What is Google doing?” More here.
China and the world: The Econoimst discussess China with David Shambaugh, author of “China Goes Global: The Partial Power”, he describes the country’s political, economic and military influence abroad. Watch the interview here.
Huffington on Sandberg: To Lean In, First Lean Back: An enormous amount of ink and pixels have already been devoted to Sheryl Sandberg‘s important new book, “Lean In,” some of it claiming that Sandberg exhorts women to relentlessly drive themselves to the top. But that’s not at all what Sandberg is saying. What she’s saying is that as well as institutional barriers to success, women face a lot of inner barriers—voices that, as she puts it, urge you to “leave before you leave.” More here.
Nigeria in mourning for Chinua Achebe: From the bookseller on the street to the literary glitterati – grief at the death of a man who so encapsulated the African experience. More here.