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| August 23, 2019

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How Slack’s non-techie CEO Stewart Butterfield reached the top of Silicon Valley

June 22, 2019 |

Silicon Valley loves its engineer-founders. They are members of the region’s highest caste, the entrepreneurs trusted to turn bits and bytes into the next hit digital products, and the people venture capitalists most like to back.

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive of the workplace…


L.A. Times – Business

Work starts on massive Silicon Valley project by Hudson Yards developer

May 15, 2019 |

The developer of New York’s Hudson Yards is ready to build another massive office, housing and retail complex — this time about 3,000 miles to the west.

Related Cos. announced Wednesday that it has started work on a 240-acre site in Silicon Valley for what it says is one of the largest entitled…


L.A. Times – Business

Silicon Valley is not ready for 2020. Just read the Mueller report

April 20, 2019 |

Reading Robert Mueller’s report, it’s hard not to feel like that frog who gets slowly boiled alive. Many of its most incendiary allegations had already been published elsewhere. We knew most of it, but now, we really know.

Donald Trump really did order the White House counsel to have Mueller fired….


L.A. Times – Business

Journalist Carole Cadwalladr says ‘the gods of Silicon Valley’ have broken democracy

April 16, 2019 |

On the same day that she became a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her work bringing the Cambridge Analytica scandal to light, journalist Carole Cadwalladr took the stage at TED to “address you directly, the gods of Silicon Valley.”

Cadwalladr began her talk by recounting a trip she took after the Brexit referendum, back to her hometown in South Wales.

She recalled feeling “a weird sense of unreality” walking around a town filled with new infrastructure funded by the European Union, while being told by residents that the EU had done nothing for them. Similarly, she said they told her about the dangers of immigration, even though they lived in a town with “one of the lowest rates of immigration in the country.”

Cadwalladr said she began to understand where those sentiments were coming from after her story ran, and someone contacted her about seeing scary, misleading ads about Turkey and Turkish immigration on Facebook . Cadwalladr, however, couldn’t see those ads, because she wasn’t targeted, and Facebook offered no general archive of all ads that had run on the platform.

Eventually, Facebook began building that archive of ads. And the pro-Brexit campaign was found guilty of breaking British election laws by breaching campaign spending limits to fund campaigns on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Cadwalladr said her interest in these issues led her to Christopher Wylie, whose whistleblowing about Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook user data helped prompt broader scrutiny of the social network’s privacy practices.

Cadwalladr described Wylie as “extraordinarily brave,” particularly since Cambridge Analytica repeatedly threatened them with legal action. The final threat, she said, came a day before publication, and it came from Facebook itself.

“It said that if we published, they would sue us,” Cadwalladr said. “We did it anyway. Facebook, you were on the wrong side of history on that, and you are on the wrong side of history in this.”

The “this” in question is what she characterized as a failure by the social media platforms to fully reckon with the extent to which they’ve become tools for the spread of lies and misinformation. For example, she pointed to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal thus far to appear before parliaments around the world that have asked him to testify.

Calling out executives like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Alphabet/Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey (who’s scheduled to take the stage tomorrow morning), Cadwalladr insisted that the stakes could not be higher.

“This technology you have invented has been amazing, but now it’s a crime scene, and you have the evidence,” she said. “It is not enough to say that you will do better in the future, because to have any hope of stopping this from happening again, we have to know the past.”

She went on to declare that the Brexit vote demonstrates that “liberal democracy is broken.”

“This is not democracy,” Cadwalladr said. “Spreading lies in darkness, paid for with illegal cash from God knows where — it’s subversion, and you are accessories to it.”

And for those of us who don’t run giant technology platforms, she added, “My question to everybody else is: Is this what we want? To let them get away with it, and to sit back and play with our phones as this darkness falls?”

TechCrunch

A Silicon Valley Tech Leader Walks a High Wire Between the U.S. and China

November 21, 2018 |

Nvidia sells lots of artificial-intelligence chips in China. That creates a dilemma as the company tries to navigate political and trade tensions.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

White House Considers Silicon Valley Crackdown

September 22, 2018 |

President Trump is about to hit America’s tech giants with federal antitrust probes, if a newly leaked document holds any water—and it may not hold any water at all, the Washington Post reports. Revealed Friday by Bloomberg , the draft executive order would empower federal agencies to investigate Google, Facebook,…
Newser

IBM is playing catch up to Silicon Valley. Older employees sue, say they are paying the price

September 20, 2018 |

Shannon Liss-Riordan has been compared to “a pit bull with a Chihuahua in its mouth.”

In a career spanning almost 20 years, the Boston lawyer has gone after corporations that have either harmed consumers or their own employees. She’s represented workers against Amazon, Uber and Google and has styled…


L.A. Times – Business

Silicon Valley Swap: Apple Gets Back Top Engineer From Tesla

August 10, 2018 |

One Silicon Valley wheel just circled back to its starting point. A top Apple engineer who left in 2013 to join Tesla as its chief vehicle engineer is back with his former employer. The Verge reports that Doug Field, who’d been the VP of Mac hardware for the Cupertino giant,…
Newser

‘Silicon Valley’ actress Alice Wetterlund slams ‘bully’ TJ Miller, says male costars ‘enabled him’

July 19, 2018 |

Comedian and actress Alice Wetterlund blasted the cast and crew of “Silicon Valley” for allegedly enabling troubled former star TJ Miller‘s boorish behavior on and off the set of the HBO hit.
FOX News

Why Silicon Valley doesn’t mind rising gas prices

July 8, 2018 |

Gas prices have been steadily climbing since February 2016. In June, the average U.S. retail price of a gallon of gasoline was $ 2.97, up more than 20% from the same time last year. The nation is a few cents away from a psychological milestone, $ 3 a gallon. Meanwhile, the price of a barrel of crude…


L.A. Times – Business