Security & Privacy

Could Privacy Become a New Form of Currency?

It's becoming increasingly clear that the latest digital technology is killing privacy. As Robert Scoble said at our latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, the future will be dominated by surveillance technologies like sensors, wearable computing, and location data. So, I asked California's Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom what, exactly, does the end of privacy mean from the perspective of a politician? Newsom was refreshingly blunt. "We never had it," he replied. "So it's like welcome to my world."   More


Four Reasons Facebook Became a Colossus


The first time I met Mark Zuckerberg I told him he seemed like a natural CEO. He acted offended. "I never wanted to run a company," he said bluntly. Then he added, perfunctorily, "A business is a good vehicle for getting stuff done." But that was September 2006. Facebook was just two-and-a-half years old. He impressed me so much I went back and wrote a column for Fortune, where I worked, entitled Why Facebook Matters. Now the company is ten. (It launched February 4, 2004.) Zuckerberg is 29, not 22. He is no longer embarrassed to be a businessman. By a lucky coincidence of timing, Facebook's quarterly results announced just last Wednesday were spectacular. As the company hits this historic landmark, its financial foundation is provably rock-solid.   More


Can the Internet Make Politics More Collaborative?

So what is politics? Is it something we do once every couple of years—electing politicians who then are supposed to do stuff for us? Or is it a collaborative space, what the ancient Greeks called a "polis," where citizens go to improve their community? According to California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, we need to change our politics from what he calls a "referendum process" to something more collaborative. More polis, less petition, Newsom says. And that's where the Internet comes in.   More


Could Mobile Banking Apps Help You Spend Less?

Simple is one of several apps that help users track what they spend on items like food and dining.

With the holiday season behind us, you might be among the many Americans looking at their checking and credit card statements wondering just where their money went in December, or possibly even all of 2013. If so, 2014 may be when new apps help you get control of your finances. Several simple new tools leverage social media and mobile technologies to help manage your money and spending. Moven, Simple, and GoBank give users who have FDIC-insured, bank-backed debit cards links to mobile apps that provide services including expense categorization and spending alerts, as well as tools for budgeting, saving, and transfering money.   More

Security & Privacy

Report: Internet Is Faster, More Susceptible to Attack

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Internet speeds around the world are up, but so are cyber-attacks, says Akamai in its latest “State of the Internet” report. Released quarterly by the Massachusetts-based content delivery network Akamai Technologies, the report analyzes global statistics on key indicators of Internet connectivity. Findings from 2013’s third quarter disclosed some good news, showing upward trends in both global connection speeds and broadband adoption rates, but also warned of long-term growth in attack traffic—a majority of it coming from China, Indonesia, and the United States.   More

Business Learning Security & Privacy

This Week’s Techonomic 5

A still from "Koyaanisqatsi."

Welcome to the first installment of our Techonomic 5, a brand-new series spotlighting techonomic happenings from around the Web and beyond. Every two weeks, our editorial team shares its picks of the top people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech's ever-growing role in business and society. Here's what's grabbing our attention: tech curriculums, Canadian data security, apps for mindfulness, the rise of Netflix, and Kayaanisquatsi director Godfrey Reggio.   More

Learning Startup Culture

Education Experts Say College Becoming Like a Startup

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A global survey of leaders in education arrived at six five-year predictions. But they didn't just say social media will burgeon as a tool, along with "blended learning," in which online and offline methods converge. The leaders surveyed by the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative also think college will become more like a startup, literally. Methods that replicate the atmosphere of startups will emerge on campus. And the influence of the maker movement will lead to actually producing things as a way to learn. Also likely to become more important: data-driven learning and assessment, as well as just plain more online learning.   More

Government Security & Privacy

Investigate NSA to Avert Police State, Privacy Consultant Warns

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Cyber-security expert Jody Westby calls “for the facts to be found out and the truth to be determined” about the NSA surveillance program in order for the nation’s leaders to make “informed decisions about how this country should be operating and the values it should be upholding in the digital age—before it turns into a full police state.” Under the headline, "It Is a Scandal That No One is Investigating the NSA," Westby, who is CEO of Global Cyber Risk, a fellow at the Carnegie Mellon CyLab, and adjunct professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a frequent Techonomy participant, proclaims in a Forbes essay this week that she is stunned that no one but she has called for a full investigation.   More

Energy & Green Tech

Tesla Supercharges Cross-Country Treks

Searching for a fun vacation idea this spring break that’s pretty darned cool and eco-friendly to boot? You could take a cue from Elon Musk, who’s spending his spring break driving cross-country with his kids in his Tesla Model S, going from Los Angeles to New York and stopping along the way at Tesla’s newly unveiled Supercharger stations to recharge. The Supercharger network, announced Sunday, is a string of more than 70 ultra-fast, free-to-use charging stations that span much of both coasts, stretch from Los Angeles to New York via the upper Midwest, and shoot off into eastern Texas.   More

Analytics & Data Partner Insights

How Do Consumers Want to Be Persuaded?

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Persuasion has been a cornerstone of education and business since ancient Egypt. Through the centuries, those who skillfully brought audiences to their own position were seen as wise scholars and merchants. Usually, they were well rewarded. But global access to the Internet has created a virtual landscape where persuasion is open-sourced and citizens and consumers are overloaded with information.   More

Startup Culture

Don’t Worry, Be a Happy Entrepreneur

Bobby McFerrin, the original evangelist of the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" gospel. (Image via Shutterstock)

In terms of satisfaction with their work lives, entrepreneurs are some of the happiest people on the planet, according to a report put out last week by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. The finding was a part of GEM's 2013 Global Report, which examined the special topic of Entrepreneurship and Well-Being.   More


Indiegogo Raises Serious Money

Indiegogo's Danae Ringelmann (center) at Techonomy 2012 with TechShop's Mark Hatch (l) and David ten Have of Ponoko.

Popular crowdfunding platform Indiegogo unveiled plans today to continue its international expansion after announcing a successful Series-B round that raised $40 million in funding. The round was led by Institutional Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with existing investors Insight Venture Partners, MHS Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, and ff Venture Capital also making contributions. Indiegogo enables people from around the globe to launch their own creative and cause-driven campaigns, promoting bottom-up initiatives and democratizing the funding process.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Life Sciences: What to Expect in 2014


Now that we have recapped the major trends of 2013, let's look ahead to what will be exciting in 2014 in life sciences. In the past couple years, scientists have gone from the first proof it was possible to sequence the genome of a fetus using cells from a mother’s blood, to doing it a number of successful ways. Ethical considerations aside, this is a remarkable scientific achievement that has major implications for clinical utility.   More

Global Tech

At Europe’s DLD: Innovation, Anxiety, and Inspiration

DLD, Continental Europe's highest-level technology conference, opened this week in Munich with a panel on European competitiveness. The key takeaway: Snowden's revelations were, as one European executive said, "A gift to the European Internet industry." Fair enough. But even as the halls vibrated with the sound of cards being exchanged between aggressive Euro-technologists and investors and other hyperconnectors from around the world, the ongoing dominance of the U.S. was in evidence.   More

Global Tech

LinkedIn Takes New Step in Slow Road to China

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Online professional networking leader LinkedIn took a big step towards entering the lucrative but tricky China market last week when it created a new China chief position and filled it with an industry veteran as it explores a formal service launch. The move was just the latest in the company’s slow and careful approach to China, and could boost its chances of success in a market that has proven difficult for other global giants like Google, Yahoo, and eBay.   More


Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Vital for American Innovation

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Open borders brought Andrew Carnegie and Andy Grove to the U.S. They also brought Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, a slew of German theoretical physicists to work on the Manhattan Project, and countless investors and entrepreneurs, including me. Immigrants to the U.S. have been transforming the industrial geography and the technology landscape since the 1860s when Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie launched Keystone Bridge Company, which became the cornerstone of his mammoth steel empire.   More

Analytics & Data Business

How Data Will Drive Business Strategy in 2014

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Among all the recent year-end roundups and summaries was a surprising piece of business news. Blockbuster, the last surviving sentinel of the video rental industry announced that it would close its remaining 300 or so company owned stores across the United States. Many have been quick to credit Netflix with the decline of the once formidable Blockbuster. The case of Netflix versus Blockbuster shows that disrupting an entrenched industry requires much more than competitive pricing and improved service: it requires a complete reorientation of business strategy based on a more thoughtful use and understanding of data.   More

Government Startup Culture

Should Politicians Be More Like Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs?

Should all politicians have to launch a startup before entering politics? That’s the question I asked California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, at the latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event held at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto. Newsom, the author of "Citizenville," a kind of digital manifesto for 21st century networked politics, didn’t beat around the bush. “Yes," Newsom replied, sounding more like a startup guy than a career politician.   More

Business Finance

Cash Is Trash: The Future of Mobile Payment

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Just as the magnetic strip revolutionized payment by plastic credit card, near-field communication and other fast-evolving technologies will facilitate the move to payment using mobile technologies. NFC chips inside most mobile phones can transmit banking and payment data when placed near readers. Unlike a debit card, a mobile phone can display interactive payment details. And, instead of the credit card application process of filling out paperwork and waiting for the mail, using a mobile phone to pay requires only the download of an app and linking to bank details. PayPal president, David Marcus, calls it Money 3.0.   More

Global Tech

Chinese Microblogging: Weibos May Be on the Wane


New data is highlighting an online trend that I wrote about last year, namely that microblogs have peaked in popularity and are starting to decline, in a bad sign for leading Web portal Sina as it rushes to monetize and list its popular Weibo service. Frankly speaking, I’m not too optimistic anymore about the prospects for Sina Weibo, which is really just a copy of U.S. social media pioneer Twitter and hasn’t shown much ability to innovate in the rapidly changing social networking space.   More