Tag Archives: Silicon Valley

Is social media hacking your brain? How Facebook and Snapchat are purposely keeping us addicted

An ex-Google employee has claimed that the Alphabet-owned company and other tech giants, such as Facebook and Snapchat, are purposely designing gadgets and apps with psychological elements similar to that of casino slot machines.

According to former Google “Design Ethicist” Tristan Harris, many of the elite Silicon Valley companies are long-established gambling design techniques such as offering visual reward loops and encouraging ‘winning streaks’ to hook smartphone or tablet users into a constant cycle of checking and engaging with their devices and software.

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This Guy’s Building a Tsunami-Proof Pod in His Silicon Valley Backyard

Chris Robinson has never built a boat or even sailed, and he admits that a tidal wave is unlikely to hit Silicon Valley. But in his Palo Alto backyard, Robinson has spent the past two years building a defense against one: a 22-foot-long, 10-foot-wide, 8.5-foot-high tsunami-proof capsule made of plywood and epoxy.

After watching coverage of the Fukushima disaster and a flood-devastated Japan, Robinson started working on an escape route.

“No one is going to wear a jet pack on their back as they work in their office,” Robinson says, so he imagined a more buoyant solution—drawing inspiration from oil-derrick escape pods and a Canadian artist who constructs wooden spheres that hang in trees and double as hotel rooms.

The tsunami ball under construction.

The former Facebook and PayPal art director used Adobe Illustrator to sketch his tsunamiball plan (he asked some engineers for help calculating whether it would float). “Very early in the project it became about building this interesting object,” Robinson says. “I’m not a survivalist. I don’t even have life jackets.”

He does, however, have an emotional connection to Fukushima—he met his wife there in 1991, when he lived in Japan. “Half the places we went on dates are gone,” he says.

Robinson plans to finish the outer shell by May, then ocean-test the vessel if he can find a crane and truck big enough to haul it over to the Pacific. And if the sphere doesn’t sink, he’ll use Airbnb to rent the tsunamiball for tidal wave-safe overnights in Palo Alto.

Silicon Valley’s Dave Goldberg died after gym accident

Dave Goldberg

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur and SurveyMonkey chief executive Dave Goldberg died of severe head trauma, according to local officials.

Mr Goldberg, 47, husband of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, was found lying next to a gym treadmill on Friday at a holiday resort in Mexico.

Mexican authorities have no plans for a criminal investigation.

The officials said Goldberg still had vital signs when he was discovered, but later died at a hospital.

He reportedly left his room in the resort near Nuevo Vallarta at 16:00 local time to exercise, and family members went to look for him when he failed to return.

He was found at about 18:30 in the gym, lying by a treadmill, with a blow to the lower back of his head.

It was apparent he had slipped on the treadmill and hit the machine, a spokesman for the Nayarit state prosecutor said.

A Harvard University graduate, Mr Goldberg joined SurveyMonkey in April 2009. Before that, he was a entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and technology and music industry executive.

He founded one of the first online music services, Launch Media, in 1994 and led the company until its acquisition by Yahoo in 2001.

Following the sale, Mr Goldberg became vice-president and general manager of Yahoo Music, where he led the company’s global music operations.

From 2007 until he joined SurveyMonkey in 2009, he served with venture capitalists Benchmark Capital.

Dave Goldberg, husband of Facebook exec Sheryl Sandberg, dies suddenly

Sheryl Sandberg David Goldberg
Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg, shown here at a media business conference last year, married in 2004.

Facebook announced Saturday that Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Goldberg, the husband of Sheryl Sandberg, died suddenly on Friday.

“We are heartbroken by this news,” a Facebook (FB, Tech30) spokesperson said in an email to CNNMoney.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a Facebook post, said Goldberg died Friday evening while the couple was on vacation abroad. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Sandberg, one of the most prominent women executives in tech, flew back to the U.S. on Saturday morning, according to the post.

“Sheryl is a very strong person and knows we’re all thinking of her,” Zuckerberg wrote. “She is requesting privacy for now and will update us when she’s ready.”

facebook zuckerberg goldberg

Goldberg, 47, was the CEO of SurveyMonkey. He joined the company in 2009. He had founded online music startup Launch Media, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2001.

“Dave’s genius, courage and leadership were overshadowed only by his compassion, friendship and heart,” SurveyMonkey said in a statement. “We are all heartbroken.

Goldberg and Sandberg married in 2004 and have two young children. At the time, Goldberg was vice president of Yahoo Music and Sandberg was the company’s VP of online ad sales.

Sandberg, who joined Facebook as chief operating officer in 2008, is the author of the best-selling book “Lean In.” She has since become an advocate for equality between women and men — on the job and at home — through her organization LeanIn.org and op/eds and public appearances.

Sandberg has been very vocal about the importance of her marriage. In her book, she wrote about how a “lack of spousal support” can hurt a woman’s career. “My career and marriage are inextricably intertwined,” she wrote, calling Goldberg “a true partner.”

facebook goldberg

News of Goldberg’s death drew a swift outpouring of statements from around the tech world Saturday.

Dick Costolo, the chief executive of Twitter, wrote: “Heartbreaking. One of the truly great people on the planet, Dave was of almost unimaginably remarkable character.

Goldberg’s brother, Robert, set up a memorial page on Facebook, which quickly filled up with condolences.

“We mourn his passing and remember what an amazing husband, father, brother, son and friend he was,” Robert Goldberg wrote. “No words can express the depth of loss we feel, but we want his children to learn how much he meant to all of you.”

This Infographic Reveals How Startups Make Billions

startup chart

From thousands of miles away, Silicon Valley can feel like a magic box: normal people enter and out pop billionaires. But the startup ecosystem is much like the Wizard of Oz, where, when you pull back the green curtain, there stands a man.

There’s actually a fairly systematic process behind the formation, growth and financial success of many startups. Which is not to say that it is a fool’s errand to launch a successful startup and grow it into a billion-dollar company, but only to say that it has been done, and there is a worn path and a mature ecosystem surrounding this routine.

San Francisco-based startup organization Funders and Founders generated the infographic below, breaking down the way an entrepreneur goes from idea generation through to initial public offering. The infographic is based loosely based on famous programmer and venture capitalist Paul Graham’s essay “How to Start a Startup.”

Take a look to get a clearer picture of what goes on in the big black box that is Silicon Valley. Behind the green curtain.

Silicon Valley billionaire wins US bitcoin auction

Timothy Draper, Founder and Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, speaks at the Reuters Global Technology Summit New York in this May 21, 2009, file photo. Venture capitalist Tim Draper won the U.S. Marshals bitcoin auction earlier this week that captured about $18 million for 30,000 bitcoin, according to a statement emailed to Reuters on July 2, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files (UNITED STATES BUSINESS SCI TECH)

A billionaire investor who is campaigning to split California into six states and who funds entrepreneurship classes for nine-year-olds has emerged as the mystery buyer of about $18m of bitcoins auctioned by the US government.

Tim Draper, founder of the Silicon Valley venture capital group Draper Fisher Jurvetson, said he would use his stash of the virtual currency to back a venture selling bitcoin to emerging markets.

The US Marshals service, which confiscated the bitcoin when it shut down the drugs-and-guns marketplace Silk Road last year, said on Tuesday that an auction of 29,656 bitcoin had been won by a single bidder, whose identity it did not reveal.

The auction last week captivated the bitcoin community, many of whose leading entrepreneurs put in bids or arranged consortia of bidders. Supporters of the virtual currency believe it could become a viable alternative to fiat currencies or shake up the expensive and slow international payments system.

“Bitcoin frees people from trying to operate in a modern market economy with weak currencies,” Mr Draper said, in a statement revealing his victory in the auction. “Of course, no one is totally secure in holding their own country’s currency. We want to enable people to hold and trade bitcoin to secure themselves against weakening currencies.”

The billionaire venture capitalist, a strong advocate of free markets, has used his personal fortune before to back quixotic-sounding ideas that further his ideals.

He has launched a campaign to have a proposal put before California voters later this year calling for the state to be broken into six , in order to make its government more responsive.

Mr Draper blogs under the name The Riskmaster , which is also the title of a song honouring entrepreneurs that he wrote and occasionally performs. His private initiatives to promote entrepreneurship include the Draper University of Heroes in Silicon Valley.

The grandson of general William Draper, who is often described as Silicon Valley’s first venture capitalist, he is the third generation of the family to make a fortune in start-up investing. Draper Fisher Jurvetson was an earlier backer of companies including Hotmail, Baidu and Tesla Motors .

His son, Adam, runs a bitcoin start-up incubator, and the father-and-son duo are both investors in Vaurum, a bitcoin trading platform where Mr Draper’s new bitcoin will be used for liquidity in ventures aimed at emerging markets.

“We’ve been brainstorming to come up with new ways to help grow global bitcoin adoption, and what we came up with is a way to leverage our exchanges and utilise the auctioned pool of bitcoins, as well as market making strategies, to help provide liquidity in these underserved markets,” said Avish Bhama, Vaurum chief executive.