A book review of one of the most widely-discussed books published on Silicon Valley in some time. The story of Theranos is now widely known due to the work of John Carreyrou at the Wall Street Journal, and this is the complete story with a bunch of details filled in. For such an important book on business ethics though, I found the book to be a bit pedestrian — for all of the fraud (and there are heaps of it), it’s hard to really feel that anyone
Two pieces on the challenges of 5G. The first is an analysis around Apple’s use of 5G in its popular line of iPhones. The company made no announcements this week, and that’s the challenge for Apple given the timing of its product launches, particularly around China. China will have commercial 5G service late this year to early next year or so, but the next edition of the iPhone likely won’t come out
Summer is finally over, and I’ve had lots of travel the past few weeks to Seoul, Tokyo, and SF. TechCrunch just hosted the largest Disrupt ever, with thousands of attendees streaming across Moscone last week. I got to interview some amazing people, and the videos will hopefully come in the next edition of this review.
With work on internal projects and travel, writing slowed down to a crawl in August, which is why this review hasn’t been posted in some time. That said, some great news stories from August, plus some analyses as I walked and talked around San Francisco.
Data sovereignty is one of those slow-boiling issues that are easy to miss, but incredibly important to stay on top of. I have been focusing a lot on China’s data sovereignty policies, including its relatively new cloud computing law, but this week I shine the light on India. The country is promulgating a revamped data localization law that would require Indian data to be stored in local data centers. It’s a laudable goal for locals, but extraordinarily complicated for cloud providers who have to handle the data governance rules.
This was a response to a recent Columbia Journalism Review essay about the need to completely rebuild the tech press from scratch. I feel as though this vastly overstates the problem, which is essentially that tech has grown to affect every facet of human existence, and it is really the non-tech press who need to raise their standards. In addition, I argued for the importance of dynamic range in the coverage of tech. A small startup is worthy of more praise than a massive behemoth tech company, and the level of criticism should expand as companies grow.
Another week spent heads down on some new initiatives I am working on. Two interesting companies that I covered this week are Brat and Even, which both raised a bunch of money from investors. And if you are in SF in early September, definitely head to Disrupt SF and watch a great panel on the future of insurance tech.
This past week, I was in Zug, Switzerland for TechCrunch's one-day conference on blockchain. I had a blast meeting so many interesting people, and learning a lot about the blockchain ecosystem. I had two on-stage interviews, and the videos are in the list below. I covered one panel for TechCrunch, and had a de rigueur article on China venture capital because no one can have enough of that, can they?
Chinese venture capitalists are putting in more dollars than their American counterparts, and the distinction between top tech companies in China and the U.S. is even more startling. But is that the whole story? Part of the change is blockchain,
One of my personal pet topics is how to extend ownership of equity to more people (the equity of equity, essentially). Paired is trying to do this in loyalty, where they offer you fractional shares in the companies you shop at. It's a novel idea, and while it won't dramatcally change the dismal economcis of our society, it could definitely be a step in the right direction.