Tag: tech

The fourth post of pre-Christmas 2018: April

Sunday, 16 December, 2018

The winner of the FT and McKinsey Business Book of 2018 Award was Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal. His brilliant account of the spectacular rise and scandalous fall of Theranos, the high-tech blood-testing company, raises questions not only about the culture at this particular start-up — valued at more than $9 billion at one point — but of Silicon Valley and its sycophants, who boost every “breakthrough” as if it were the Second Coming. Accepting the award, Carreyrou said that readers of Bad Blood should note that the “move fast and break things” tech doctrine doesn’t work very well “when lives are at stake.”

Continuing with our review of the year, our post on 12 April was about the totally fraudulent Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos.

*********

If you think Mark Zuckerberg is having a tough week, consider the (mis)fortune of Elizabeth Holmes. Remember her? The CEO of Theranos was the poster girl for all those who bought and sold the delusion that a photogenic founder was an essential first step on the road to unimaginable riches. And, sure enough, gullible investors and sycophantic media beat a path to the golden door in the Valley in the hope of turning blood into treasure. And they ponied up an incredible $1.4 billion along the way.

Zuckerberg may have been on the hot seat, but Holmes is in deep water. Consider the letter she recently sent to shareholders regarding the company’s looming default on a $100 million loan. Snippet:

“The most viable option that we have identified to forestall a near-term sale or a potential default under our credit agreement is further investment by one or more of you. In light of where we are, this is no easy ask. However, given your support of the company over the years, we wanted to provide this opportunity before we proceed too far down the current path.”

Holmes is a fraud, but one has to admire (almost) the chutzpa of “this is no easy ask”.

Miss Fortune

**********

Tomorrow, here, the fifth post of pre-Christmas 2018 is from May and its title, Seán Sa Cheo, refers to the risky business of climbing mountains in foggy conditions.


The binary technology universe: USA & China

Monday, 9 July, 2018

Here’s an infographic from Visual Capitalist, which “creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing”, that’s doing the rounds.

Binary tech

And who are those Top 20 tech companies? From top, with Apple valued at $915 billion, to bottom, with Meituan-Dianping valued at $30 billion, here’s the list:

Apple (USA), Amazon (USA), Alphabet (USA), Microsoft (USA), Facebook (USA), Alibaba (China), Tencent (China), Netflix (USA), Ant Financial (China), Salesforce (USA), Booking Holdings (USA), Paypal (USA), Baidu (China), Uber (USA), JD.com (China), Didi Chuxing (China), Xiaomi (China), eBay (USA), Airbnb (USA) and Meituan-Dianping (China).

Note: The German software company, SAP, is valued at $140 billion and targeting $270 billion so its absence from the list is puzzling. Why is Salesforce in 10th position and not SAP? Let’s see what Visual Capitalist has to say.


Richard Bruton has lunch with 50onRed

Wednesday, 8 June, 2016 0 Comments

The Irish politician Richard Bruton is the country’s Minister for Education and Skills. Previously, he was the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and it was in this capacity that he broke bread on 29 October 2014 with 50onRed — “great tech company based in Philadelphia keen to learn about Ireland,” he tweeted enthusiastically during (or after) his working lunch. But 50onRed kept the secret sauce well hidden from all.

Richard Bruton has lunch with scammers

“Tyler wasn’t the only one surprised to find out what 50onRed really did. I spoke to more than a dozen former employees of 50onRed and its affiliated companies for this story and most of them said they didn’t know that 50onRed injected ads when they joined the company. (Nearly all of them requested anonymity, fearing legal retribution from 50onRed.) There was a new-employee learning curve, Tyler said. One person realized what was going on while working on the browser extensions themselves, while another said he started digging when the company’s jargon just didn’t add up to him.”

That’s a snippet from “The Perks Are Great. Just Don’t Ask Us What We Do” by Juliana Reyes in Backchannel, the Medium.com in-house technology publication. Around the time of Minister Bruton’s working lunch, “something snapped,” writes Reyes. “Executives started leaving after just a few months. Rich Sayer, 50onRed’s COO whom former employees said ran the company, left quietly in August 2014. Seven more high-ranking employees followed suit, several of whom joined the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon.”

Food for thought.