Tag Archives: Companies

The 1 Ridiculous Question Big Companies Now Ask Job Candidates
July 23, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It used to be that big companies didn’t have searching job interviews.

They’d just check whether candidates went to the right universities and, as long as they had no obvious personality difficulties, they were offered a job.

Things have changed. HR people think they’re far smarter now because they have smart tools.

And, indeed, the smartest modern tool of all — the algorithm.

I’m, therefore, prostrate from a lack of surprise that algorithms are now screening candidates for their deeper psychological aspects, just as they do when they decide which shoes you should buy.

The Cambridge Code was once merely a chat about which Cambridge college you went to.

Now, it’s a set of 55 questions that apparently uncover your “subconscious latent potential.”

This test, according to its creators, is deeply revelatory.

“Our algorithm has enabled a new approach to assessing individuals providing an x-ray of the subconscious mind,” they say.

I’m not sure about you, but I wouldn’t like some capitalist concern x-raying my subconscious mind. 

I’m strange.

Would they really understand what they see? Don’t they realize that my subconscious has been through interesting times and, especially when it comes to dream time, it can be vivid in its approach?

Oh, but some of the questions apparently ask you about how you’ve handled conflicts with your lover or your parents.

I’ve already prepared my answer: Mind your own bloody business.

I’ve come here for a job, not a shrink session. 

Still, the questions make for high titillation.

Sample: When you have done something well, who do you want to know?

Your choices — because, of course you can’t answer Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr — include my partner, God and no one.

But what if God is no one? What if God is my partner? The philosophical conundrums here are considerable.

One question, though, might sever the relationship between a candidate and their equilibrium.

That question? Have you ever had an imaginary twin?

Currently, I’m having an imaginary wish to lock these people in a room with a baby alligator and ask them, every hour on the hour, whether they’re imagining they might have made someone angry.

You will, perhaps, adore two of the answers you’re allowed to give to this question: 

1. Now it has been mentioned, I would really like one.

2. I live the thought of being understood and not being alone.

Now it has been mentioned, I live the thought of wondering what goes through the minds of people who think they’re so clever in assessing people.

I live the thought of wondering why they think they can mine someone’s subconscious in order to work out whether they’d be good at managing, say, a rail network or a psychiatrists’ convention.

Here, though, is one additional joy.

Dr Curly Moloney, one of the founders of this putative successor to the DaVinci Code, says she hired two candidates by using this fine test.

Yes, without ever meeting them.

Because these days, you’re not hiring a person. You’re hiring, well, what, a number? 

Subconsciously, that is.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , ,
How Companies Can Safeguard User Privacy in the Data Era
July 18, 2018 6:56 am|Comments (0)

Many companies use data they collect about you to make the online services and connected devices you use that much more convenient. But that vast trove of personal information can also come with a number of risks like hacking.

The complexities of how companies can best navigate this reality was the focus of a round table discussion at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo. on Tuesday.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president at Microsoft and former leader of its Windows and devices group, talked about his company’s efforts to replace passwords with biometrics, the use of fingerprints and eye readers instead of passwords. But he quickly pointed out the privacy concerns about using biometrics while another participant pointed out, ominously, that many peoples’ fingerprints are already available online.

Hal Lawton, president of Macy’s, said his company is “using AI to look for behaviors” online that may signal security concerns. But Cliff Justice, a partner at consulting firm KPMG, mentioned that sophisticated hackers are now starting to use AI to power their attacks.

“It’s a marathon. It’s a race,” Lawton said. “An arms race,” agreed Kirsten Wolberg, chief technology and operations officer of digital signature firm DocuSign.

“We are constantly struggling as companies to make sure we have the best experience for customers and at the same time ensure their security,” said Nat Natarajan, chief technology and product officer at Ancestry.com.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , ,
How Unscaled Companies Are Rewriting The Rules Of Business And Policy
June 2, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

In his recently released book, Unscaled, venture capitalist Hemant Taneja writes about the next chapter in the Silicon Valley story.   The book chronicles Silicon Valley’s transition over the last few years from an enterprise software-focused community to one developing platforms for all facets of society.  Taneja, who has been a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist in Boston and the Bay Area, uses several of his portfolio companies, including Stripe and Snapchat, as examples of the ambitious technology platforms that entrepreneurs are building.

The prequel to this story is the well-chronicled rise of “social, mobile and cloud” – or social media, mobile phones and tablets, and the migration to cloud computing solutions.  Taneja adds two important links to this chain – artificial intelligence and Big Data.  With new tools for AI and analytics, and an already reduced cost of doing business, writes Taneja, even early-stage Silicon Valley startups have been able to compete head-on with large companies in their core business areas.  Instead of just developing software to make business more efficient, startups are becoming platform enablers of commerce using Big Data, analytics and AI to increase the speed of product iteration.  Taneja uses Stripe, Snap and Warby Parker as examples of companies that have remained, by and large, extraordinarily product-focused, and were able to ignore other things that go with being a global company, such as infrastructure, human resources and operations, until they had to.  They “rent” as much as they can for as long as they can.

When speaking with Taneja, he recognizes, as do most Silicon Valley veterans, that this model doesn’t yet work well for more complicated sectors, such as life sciences, space, hard sciences, or anything requiring the management of intellectual property, which defies iteration.  While many scientists are trying to use Silicon Valley principles to speed drug discovery and share knowledge (pre-patent), there are vested interests and government regulations that prevent them from doing so.   Today software for the sciences is still predominantly about efficiency.  It will slowly move towards discovery, and according to Taneja, will help shift the biotech and pharma sectors from the blockbuster model to more narrowly targeted communities and populations.

The recent scandals at Facebook and Uber underline the growing pains facing fast-growing, unscaled companies that are readily embraced by consumers but unprepared for their responsibilities as a corporate actor.    “Move fast and break things” might have been okay in the past, but not in an economy where a small startup is also a household brand.  Taneja cites Warby Parker as an example of a company that has been thoughtful about its growth, and identified the right time to invest in corporate leadership, infrastructure and HR as it moved from a web-based retailer to bricks and mortar stores.

Hemant Taneja

AI and a new generation of startups

The book also provokes some important public policy questions that have yet to be discussed in Washington or state capitals.   Taneja talks about Khan Academy, a non-profit online learning platform used by an enormous number of schools and families around the world. And yet, the tenets of Khan Academy’s successful use of technology to simplify and teach concepts has yet to be embraced in education policy or practice.

Likewise, the unscaled phenomenon and the rise of unicorns presents interesting questions for our oversight of the corporate sector.  Is a unscaled company like Airbnb a monopoly?  It has the largest share of rooms of any hospitality brand, but has minimal assets.  It’s not like Microsoft or ATT – where market share could be measured in traditional ways and anti-competitive practices could be monitored and remedied with oversight.  Its not clear how that our federal agencies or policies are prepared to regulate an Airbnb or Uber in this way.

Taneja talks about the importance of connecting technology, and it’s often-insulated workforce, with the values of society.  He hopes the book leads to a discussion about responsible innovation that focuses on transparency, accountability and plain English explanations about technology and its impact.  He calls for an “algorithmic canary” for bad actors in technology that sounds the alarm for industry and the general public before its too late.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , ,
Exclusive: U.S. to reveal winners of drone program that has attracted top companies
May 8, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Major technology and aerospace companies including Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Intel Corp (INTC.O), Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), Raytheon Co (RTN.N) and Airbus SE (AIR.PA) are vying to take part in a new slate of drone tests the United States is set to announce on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich talks about the new Yuneec Typhoon H drone, which he said was the first consumer drone equipped with Intel’s RealSense sense and avoid technology, during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, U.S., January 5, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

The wide interest in the U.S. initiative, launched by President Donald Trump last year, underscores the desire of a broad range of companies to have a say in how the fledgling industry is regulated and ultimately win authority to operate drones for everything from package delivery to crop inspection.

The pilot program will allow a much larger range of tests than are generally permitted by federal aviation regulators, including flying drones at night, over people and beyond an operator’s line of sight.

The U.S. Transportation Department is set to announce 10 winning state, local or tribal governments to host the experiments out of 149 applicants. Secretary Elaine Chao will make the winners public on Wednesday. The governments in turn have partnered with companies who will play a role in the tests.

FILE PHOTO: An Amazon Prime Air Flying Drone is displayed during the ‘Drones: Is the Sky the Limit?’ exhibition at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

At least 200 companies applied as partners in the program, a U.S. official said.

Companies including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Boeing Co (BA.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) have also expressed interest in the program, the sources said, though it was unclear whether they all had joined applications and what they would be testing.

Qualcomm confirmed it is on at least three applications, and Intel said it hopes to participate in the program. The other companies did not immediately answer requests for comment.

Changes to U.S. policy that result from the tests are not expected for some time. Package delivery, which can be particularly complex, might not take place until later on during the program.

Earl Lawrence, who directs the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s unmanned aircraft systems integration office, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that many of the other projects “could go forward under the FAA’s existing rules, including with waivers where appropriate.”

He said after “the 10 selections for the pilot program are announced, the FAA will be reaching out to other applicants, as well as interested state and local authorities, to provide additional information on how to operationalize their proposed projects.”

The FAA is also working on proposed regulations to ensure the safety of drones and their integration into U.S. airspace.

The initiative is significant for the United States, which has lagged other countries in drone operations for fear of air crashes. That had pushed companies like Amazon to experiment overseas.

In the United Kingdom, the world’s largest online retailer already sends some packages by drone. It completed its first such mission in late 2016, taking 13 minutes from click to delivery.

Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis and Paul Lienert; editing by Chris Sanders and David Gregorio

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
U.S. considering restrictions on China's telecoms companies: WSJ
May 2, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is considering executive action to restrict some Chinese companies’ ability to sell telecommunications equipment in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The move, which if implemented would likely affect Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp, two of the world’s major telecommunications equipment manufacturers, was based on national security concerns, the Journal said, citing several people familiar with the matter.

U.S. lawmakers and the Trump administration have pressured U.S. companies to not sell Huawei or ZTE products, saying they potentially could be used to spy on Americans. Earlier this year they pushed AT&T to drop a deal with Huawei to sell its smartphones in the United States.

The White House did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Representative of Huawei and ZTE could not be reached immediately for comment, though both have denied allegations that their products are used to spy.

Any executive action would come on the heels of a series of U.S. moves aimed at stopping or reducing access by Huawei and ZTE to the U.S. economy, including recent restrictions on U.S. suppliers of ZTE set by the Commerce Department, amid allegations the companies could be using their technology to spy on Americans. [nL3N1RX1NT]

The U.S. Department of Defense has already stopped selling mobile phones and modems made by the Chinese technology companies Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp in stores on its military bases, citing potential security risks.

As of April 25, the Pentagon ordered that these and related products be removed from its stores worldwide, according to Pentagon spokesman Major Dave Eastburn.

“These devices may pose an unacceptable risk to the department’s personnel, and mission,” Eastburn said.

The Army and Air Force have more than 3,100 stores around the world, and also sell goods online to military personnel. The Navy Exchange has more than 300 stores worldwide, as well as stores aboard more than 100 ships.

Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by David Alexander and James Dalgleish

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , ,
Biotech companies Alnylam, Dicerna settle trade secrets case
April 20, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

BOSTON (Reuters) – Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Friday that Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc will pay it $ 25 million in cash and stock to resolve a lawsuit claiming it stole trade secrets about gene-silencing technology used to develop drug treatments.

The settlement between the two biotech companies resolves a lawsuit that Alnylam filed against Dicerna in 2015. The accord came ahead of a jury trial that was set to begin on Monday in state court in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Under the agreement, Dicerna said it will pay Alnylam $ 2 million up-front plus 983,208 shares of its common stock.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Dicerna said it will also pay Alnylam another $ 13 million over the next four years, the timing of which is dependent on revenue Dicerna receives pursuant to future RNAi technology-based partnerships under its GalXC brand.

Alnylam, also Cambridge-based, in a statement said the deal would also place certain restrictions on Dicerna. Neither company admitted wrongdoing.

Dicerna’s stock was trading at $ 13.20 midday on Friday, up 29.12 percent. Shares in Alnylam were trading at $ 97.59, up 1.46 percent.

Alnylam’s lawsuit accused Dicerna of misappropriating confidential information related to RNAi technology Alnylam acquired when in 2014 when it bought a Merck & Co Inc subsidiary in a deal it valued in court papers at $ 325 million.

RNAi, or RNA interference, prevents a defective gene from making disease-causing proteins.

The lawsuit said Dicerna, which unsuccessfully tried to acquire RNAi assets from Merck, used confidential information it reviewed while considering the potential transaction in violation of a confidentiality agreement.

Alnylam contended Dicerna also hired several Merck scientists who had been involved in developing the technologies its rival acquired as part of an intentional scheme to gain access to trade secrets and confidential information.

Alnylam in court papers filed in Middlesex County Superior Court said the scheme allowed Dicerna to develop “strikingly similar” technologies within a year and unjustly enriched the company by up to $ 325 million.

Dicerna denied the allegations. It filed a counterclaim alleging Alnylam was pursuing a frivolous lawsuit that improperly interfered with its funding sources and partnership opportunities in order to crush its smaller competitor.

Dicerna sought $ 42.2 million in damages. It also filed a related federal antitrust case against Alnylam, which is also being settled.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Tom Brown

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
U.S. biotech companies Alnylam, Dicerna settle trade secrets case
April 20, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

BOSTON (Reuters) – Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc on Friday said that it will pay $ 15 million plus stock to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc to resolve a lawsuit claiming it stole trade secrets about gene-silencing technology used to develop drug treatments.

The settlement between the two biotech companies resolves a lawsuit that Alnylam filed against Dicerna in 2015. The accord came ahead of a jury trial that was set to begin on Monday in state court in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Under the agreement, Dicerna will pay Alnylam $ 2 million up-front plus 983,208 shares of its common stock, worth around $ 13.7 million based on the stock’s price at midday on Friday. Dicerna’s stock price was up 38.68 percent.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Dicerna said it will also pay Alnylam another $ 13 million over the next four years, the timing of which is dependent on revenue Dicerna receives pursuant to future RNAi technology-based partnerships under its GalXC brand.

“With today’s announcement of a settlement with Alnylam, we are now able to focus the entirety of our resources on the advancement of our key clinical and discovery programs,” Dicerna Chief Executive Douglas Fambrough said in a statement.

Alnylam, also Cambridge-based, did not respond to a request for comment.

Alnylam’s lawsuit accused Dicerna of misappropriating confidential information related to RNAi technology Alnylam acquired when in 2014 when it bought a Merck & Co Inc subsidiary in a deal it valued in court papers at $ 325 million.

(Corrects settlement amount in first paragraph to say $ 15 million)

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Tom Brown

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Self-Driving Cars Companies Are Using Remote Babysitters, And More Car News This Week
February 2, 2018 6:30 pm|Comments (0)

Is there anything more satisfying than finder a quicker way to your destination? You might be in a car, or on foot, or you’re building a software product or a company culture and suddenly—Jeez, that was easier.

Sometimes, it works. As transportation editor Alex Davies reported this week, companies building self-driving cars have found that it’s important—necessary, even—to use remote drivers, sitting behind screens miles away, if they want to get their less-than-perfect tech on the road. Sweet. Alex also took a look at Nuro, a brand new self-driving mini-truck startup that wants to deliver your snacks to you, so you never have to leave your block again. Also sweet.

Sometimes, however, shortcuts are a bad idea. Uber bought an ex-Waymo engineer’s autonomous truck startup because it thought the engineer’s company could give it a tech boost. But Waymo sued, and the two tech giants are set to face off in court next week. State governments thought they could go green quickly by buying “recycled” pavement—but they might not be saving money, or the environment, in the long run. Pick your timesavers carefully, kiddos.

Plus, news about an Alphabet company’s new effort to organize cities’ travel data, a Pax Britannica among tech companies for the purpose of building safer streets (and protecting their business models), and a place to find everything you have ever wanted to know about autonomous vehicles. Let’s get you caught up.

Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

  • A blockbuster trade secrets lawsuit between Waymo and Uber is set to kick off Monday. Here’s what you need to know about the self-driving tech dispute—and why you really, really must pay attention.

  • Alex uncovers a secret fact about the growing autonomous vehicle sector: Almost every tech developer is leaning on remote drivers, who can guide cars through problem spots from miles away. Self-driving…to a point. For safety’s sake, of course.

  • Ford looks out into the horizon and sees the sunset of the personal automobile—in cities, at least. So it’s building a cloud platform, an operating system for the city of the future.

  • Sidewalk Labs, Alphabet’s urban solutions company, is doing something similar, trying to put all public and private city transportation data in one, accessible, shareable space. Say hello to its new spin-off company, Coord.

  • Fifteen tech companies came together to sign onto ten new, very nice-sounding “commandments” for livable cities. They include open data, equity, and a zero-emission future. But don’t give anyone too much credit. Those companies still have to make actual changes to the way cities operate, writer Jack Stewart warns.

  • A new report suggests American public transit needs to adapt to meet the future—and can’t blame all its problems, or pin all its hopes, on mobility companies like Uber and Lyft.

  • In a vague-ish announcement, Waymo says it’s purchasing “thousands” of new Chrysler Pacificas that will operate without a driver at the wheel.

  • Hello to Nuro, a new self-driving delivery truck startup from fancy Google alums. The company is betting it can deliver stuff sans humans in three to five years.

  • I take a deep dive into the science of “green” pavement. If done wrong, pavement could hurt the local ecosystem; if done right, that black and grey stuff beneath your feet could do its part to save the world.

  • Need to get up to speed on what self-driving cars even mean? Check out WIRED’s new guide, a constantly updated deep dive.

Car-Table Hybrid of the Week

The world is a wide and wondrous place, so of course you can plunk down some undetermined sum of money to buy a car frozen into a table, à la Han Solo Chez Jabba. The specially commissioned, 10-car/table collection is from the chrome nerds at Discommon.

Discommon

Required Reading

News from elsewhere on the internet.

  • Because Uber and Waymo shouldn’t have all the fun, this week the beseiged electric car company Faraday Future filed suit against its former CFO’s new startup—for trade secret theft.
  • Joby Aviation, which has raised $ 130 million in funding, unveils its new flying car cough electric plane-drone hybrid cough. The company wants to operate its own airborne ride-hailing service.
  • Self-driving vehicle startup Phantom AI gets into a scary crash while operating semiautonomous features—and while TechCrunch reporters were inside.
  • Uber teams up with electric bicycle-sharing company Jump for a San Francisco pilot project. Users will be able to track down a bike and and pay for a ride within Uber’s app.
  • California startup Udelv staged an autonomous vehicle grocery delivery in the Bay Area this week. It wants dozens more of its orange robots on the roads soon.
  • If you’re the type of car nerd who watches the Super Bowl for the commercials, here’s everything you need to know before the game.
  • Is this German man a hero or a villain?

In the Rearview

Essential Stories from WIRED’s canon

India’s Silicon Valley nearly doubled in population in less than two decades. But it turns out you can’t take shortcuts to economic development without caring for the natural resources. Last May, Samanth Subramanian explored why Bangalore, once land of hundreds of lakes, is now dying of thirst.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Kanye West Gives Kim Kardashian West Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Worth of Stock in Five Major Companies
December 27, 2017 6:00 pm|Comments (0)

Kim Kardashian West revealed what husband Kanye West gave her this Christmas: Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in major companies including Disney, Apple, and Amazon. In an Instagram story—visible to her 105 million followers—shared on Tuesday, the reality TV star and entrepreneur shared how Kanye delivered the stock-ing stuffer.

“So for one of my Christmas presents from Kanye, he gives me this little box with a Disney Mickey toy, Apple headphones, Netflix [and] Amazon gift cards and Adidas socks,” Kardashian says, as her camera pans over the box of gifts. “And I’m like ‘that’s so sweet, thanks!’”

“But then, I open the next box and it is stock to Amazon, where he got the gift cards, stock to Netflix, stock to Apple—hence the little headphones—Adidas stock and Disney stock,” she says in the next installment, revealing stock certificates for the five companies. Kardashian wrote “best husband alert!” as the caption.

While most of the certificates are hidden from the camera, viewers of the Instagram story can see that Kim was gifted 920 Disney (dis) shares, which the certificate says are valued at around $ 100,000. The Instagram story also shows that she was given 995 Adidas (addyy) shares, which would also have a total value of around $ 100,000 at current prices.

Several of these companies saw their stocks soar and crush the broader stock market in 2017. Netflix (nflx) was up 51%, Apple (aapl) 47%, and Amazon (amzn) 57% year-to-date, according to CNBC.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Top 25 Most Innovative Growth Companies 2016
March 13, 2017 10:55 pm|Comments (0)

All articles

Posted in: Web Hosting News|Tags: , , , ,