opinion

The slow corrosion of techno-optimism

Two weeks from now, the Swahilipot Hub, a hackerspace / makerspace / center for techies and artists in Mombasa, Kenya, is hosting a Pwani Innovation Week, “to stimulate the innovation ecosystem in the Pwani Region.” Some of its organizers showed me around Mombasa’s cable landing site some years ago; they’re impressive people. The idea of the Hub and its forthcoming event fills me with unleavened enthusiasm, and optimism … and a bleak realization that it’s been a while since I’ve felt this way about a tech initiative. What happened? How did we go from predictions that the tech industry would replace the hidebound status quo with a new democratized openness, power to the people, now that we all carry a networked supercomputer in our pocket … to widespread, metastasizing accusations of abuse ...

Ingraham: Refusing to accept the agony of defeat

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Three challenges facing blockchain technology

Jonathan Johnson Contributor Nearly five years ago, Overstock.com became the first major retailer to accept bitcoin as a form of payment. It now accepts many top cryptocurrencies. As a member of the senior executive team and board of directors at Overstock.com, I had a front-row seat to those decisions. It didn’t take long for the Overstock team to realize that bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology held great promise beyond cryptocurrencies. We also knew that for blockchain technology to reach its full potential, the startup companies advancing its use would need both financial and human capital support. Overstock set up a venture capital blockchain incubator, Medici Ventures, to do just that. We believe blockchain technology will eventually impact many industries. We are already invo...

Mark Levin: It’s time to stand up on Election Day

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Ingraham: Democrat tricks vs. Trump treats

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Tucker: How the left uses tragedy to control free speech

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Hilton: My plea to the liberal ‘Never Trump’ elite

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The tools, they are a-changing

Building web services and smartphone apps, which is most of what I’ve been doing professionally at HappyFunCorp1 for the last decade or so used to be pretty straightforward. Not easy, but straightforward, especially when the client was a consumer startup, which so many of them were. The more we did the better we got at it. Design and write two native apps, usually iOS first and Android second. Don’t skimp on the design. Connect them to a JSON API, usually written in Ruby on Rails, which also powered the web site. There’s always a web site; consumers might only see the side which is a minimal billboard for the app, but there’s essentially always also an admin site, to control features and aspects of the app. Design isn’t as important for the admin site, so you can build that in something cr...

Should cash-strapped Snapchat sell out? To Netflix?

Snapchat needs a sugar daddy. Its cash reserves dwindling from giant quarterly losses. Poor morale from a battered share price and cost-cutting measures sap momentum. And intense competition from Facebook is preventing rapid growth. With just $1.4 billion in assets remaining at the end of a brutal Q3 2018 and analysts estimating it will lose $1.5 billion in 2019 alone, Snapchat could run out of money well before it’s projected to break even in 2020 or 2021. So what are Snap’s options? A long and lonely road Snap’s big hope is to show a business turnaround story like Twitter, which saw its stock jump 14 percent this week despite losing monthly active users by deepening daily user engagement and producing profits. But without some change that massively increases daily time spent while reduci...

Blood money

Some years ago an investor I met at a TechCrunch event invited me out for a coffee. This happens a lot; as a weekly columnist here I am deemed an official Media Influencer, and people in turn want to influence me, until they realize I’m just going to ignore them and write about whatever weird idea comes into my head instead. I accepted this invitation, though, because this guy’s job was unusually interesting, in a bad way — he represented a venture fund affiliated with the Kremlin. This was before Russia was the democracy-manipulating enemy it is today, but just after Russia passed its “anti-gay law,” so angry anti-Russian sentiment was exceptionally strong. It was fascinating to me watching this man squirm around the topic: I’m a Bay Area guy, he told me, I’m pro gay rights, pro gay marri...

Gingrich: Midterms defined by ‘Kavanaugh’ and ‘caravan’

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Shapiro: Midterms will not be a walk in the park for Dems

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