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Opinion

Mobile Is a Fundamental Sea Change for All Businesses

One of my favorite pundits for decades has been Bill Gurley, a partner at Benchmark Capital in Silicon Valley. Gurley recently penned this authoritative article on the many reasons why those who miss the transition to apps may miss the next generation of users. This is not the next generation of web/mobile/Internet users. This is the next generation of customers—period. The App economy is global, it is ubiquitous, and it is growing with astonishing speed, as he notes. Gurley's long background as a PC security analyst, author, conference organizer, and for the last decade or so venture investor position him uniquely. His perspective is essential.   More

Learning Opinion

Every Classroom Needs a Camera, and Here’s Why

Let’s imagine every classroom installed a camera (and software) that could record, store, and manage the lecture and materials so they were available to students anytime and anywhere on any device. What improvements would that bring? The universities and colleges that have done just that using Echo360’s edutech software (in which my firm, Revolution Growth, is an investor) have improved student outcomes and instructor efficiency. More students pass the class, and with higher grades. Fewer teachers are required for entry-level classes, and valuable time is spent on more personalized instruction.   More

Government Opinion

Did Obama Just Destroy the U.S. Internet Industry?

News about the National Security Agency's PRISM program and its privileged access to internal user data at nine U.S. Internet companies has unleashed a torrent of justified anger and hand-wringing. But the worries do not go far enough. Almost everybody is still looking at this through a narrow domestic lens. Our values and goals may be more challenged than you think.   More

Jobs Learning Opinion

Class of 2013: Narcissism or Altruism? In a World of Abundance, Time to Decide

I'm jealous of anyone graduating college today. You are stepping as a newly-burnished adult into an era of unprecedented promise, innovation, and opportunity. The world you will witness and contribute to can be fairer, wealthier, and more peaceful than any that people have ever known. What makes all these glories possible is the exponential pace of change driven by technology. Your generation takes that for granted, and revels in it. But it makes those older than you deeply uncomfortable, and many simply refuse to see it. That puts a lot of responsibility on you.   More

Government Jobs Opinion

The Knives of Class Warfare Turn Towards Tech’s Plutocrats

I have lots of quibbles with Joel Kotkin's recent essay published at the Daily Beast and already echoing elsewhere. He gets numerous facts wrong, and some of his assumptions are silly. But anyone in tech better pay close attention to his thorough summing-up of the numerous ways that tech's billionaires and their often-wealthy allies increasingly aim to influence social policy at a time when more and more Americans (and others in the developed-world middle class around the world) find middle-class life out of reach, and poverty grows among the less educated.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Opinion

Why VC’s Shortchange Healthcare IT—And How to Change It

Some are celebrating the increasing levels of venture capital flowing to health information technology startups. But I’m in the business of cloud-based electronic health record services, and I’m not celebrating. In fact, I consider current levels of VC funding for my industry to be tragic. In a 2013 first quarter report, Mercom Capital Group reported that “the sector continues to explode in another record quarter with almost half a billion dollars ($493 million) raised.” But VC levels pale in comparison to what the federal government has ponied up: $30 billion under the HITECH Act to encourage adoption of health IT.   More

Business Opinion

Ted Leonsis: Top 13 Trends for 2013

The Great Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.” He was talking about hockey, but in reality it’s relevant in almost all facets of life. 2012 was an eventful year full of ups and downs. The domestic housing market took an upward turn, but international events and budget issues in D.C. pulled us back as we entered 2013. Looking at my crystal ball, there are a number of trends I see happening for the rest of the year. I predict the economy will show signs of improvement with investors eager to deploy capital, but this may be the Year of Fallen Angels—overfunded, overvalued, overhyped companies are going to struggle to raise the additional capital they need.   More

Global Tech Opinion

Chinese Media Take Aim at Microsoft

A new attack on software giant Microsoft by an English-language Chinese broadcaster looks like a relatively minor affair and would probably not even qualify as news in most Western markets. But this is China, where all media are owned by the state and often support each other by speaking with a single voice. That means this new criticism by China National Radio could be just the opening shot against the world’s largest software maker, similar to an ambush faced by rival Apple just weeks ago.   More

Opinion

Who Says the Internet Isn’t Making Life Better?

A standard trope these days is that we in the middle class have been slogging through a couple of decades of woe. Wages are stagnant. Our standard of living isn’t improving. The grand forces of our time—the Internet and globalization—are failing to better our lives, and may be making things worse. The numbers prove it. But here’s the problem: the traditional numbers used by the government and economists measure the wrong stuff for the twenty-first century.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech Opinion

Alibaba Dips Toe in Developing Markets

Finally there are some interesting news bits on e-commerce leader Alibaba that don’t involve its highly anticipated IPO, including a push into developing markets and a new tie-up with global payments giant MasterCard. Of the two bits, the former is more intriguing because it represents a major move for the company outside the Chinese-speaking world for its highly successful consumer-oriented e-commerce services. The latter tie-up is interesting because it involves a big name like MasterCard, even though actual details are scarce and probably won’t get worked out until some point in the future.   More

Cities Opinion

Shanghai Street View: Garbage Disposal

What started as local news of hundreds of dead pigs found floating in Shanghai's Huangpu River has suddenly morphed into a major story, captivating global audiences with its graphic images and air of mystery about where the corpses came from. The news has now traveled to much of the world, including the U.S. city of Denver, prompting even my brother to take notice and send me an email warning not to drink the Shanghai tap water.   More

Jobs Opinion

The Real Key to Innovation: A Great Place to Work

In the echo chamber of discussion since Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer ordered her employees to end telecommuting and move back into the office, there’s been a general consensus that telecommuting may make employees happier, but it’s not always good for the company or—especially—innovation at a company.   More

Business Opinion

Alibaba Dresses Up With New CEO

The Internet world is buzzing this week with word that Alibaba founder Jack Ma will hand over his CEO title to another company executive, ushering in a new generation of leadership for China's leading e-commerce firm. But this change looks largely superficial to me, and is most likely designed to please investors as the company gets set for its multibillion-dollar IPO that could happen later this year. Instead of chief executive officer, the title of chief administrative officer would probably be more appropriate for the role that Alibaba's incoming number-two man Jonathan Lu will play.   More

Jobs Opinion

How Technology Has Failed Remote Workers

A 94-second Walter Cronkite video from 1967 has been making its way around Facebook and Twitter. Cronkite stands by a desk bristling with a half-dozen computer-ish devices and talks about the “home office of the twenty-first century.” We’ll be connected by video. It will almost match being in the office. “We may not have to go to work—work will come to us,” the newsman tells us. Well—here we are, still waiting. The home office experience doesn’t replicate the actual office experience. Like flying cars and refrigerators that order more milk on their own, the technology has so far failed to meet the vision.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech Opinion

Regulation Could Mean E-Commerce Slowdown in China

China's unruly e-commerce sector could be set for some big changes in the year ahead, with executives from both inside and outside the industry calling for moves to bring order to an unruly space that has been plagued by cutthroat competition. Perhaps most significantly, a top executive from the traditional retailing sector is calling for e-commerce firms to pay more taxes, a move that could make online purchasing more expensive and less attractive to cost-conscious consumers. Other executives are calling for tighter regulation of the sector, which has evolved into a free-for-all due too much investment and lack of government oversight.   More

Opinion

Working at Home: Mayer May Be Right

Does proximity matter for innovation? Marissa Mayer thinks it does, and has been getting chastised for it. The Yahoo CEO recently ordered her fellow Yahooligans to stop working from home and come into the office. She believes that proximity creates a better atmosphere for innovation. Yahoo’s human resources chief Jackie Reses explained in a memo: “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.” But that’s not where we’re supposed to be heading in the age of the Internet.   More

Learning Opinion

MOOC Mania and the 99%

Are these new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) the silver bullet to improving higher-education? They certainly are getting plenty of hype. I can understand the fascination with MOOCs, as they are a romantic idea: millions of people in India learning calculus in their pajamas. But while MOOCs are a positive innovation, they are not the solution to making education more affordable or improving learning outcomes.   More