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Posts Tagged ‘Silicon Valley’

Can HBO’s Silicon Valley Improve Silicon Valley’s Reputation?

Yesterday HBO debuted the trailer for Mike Judge‘s sitcom Silicon Valley.

Looks like a Big Bang Theory/Workaholics mash-up: they’re nerds, but they aren’t one-dimensional punchlines; they’re Millennials, but they don’t spend all their time figuring out how they can manage to do less work.

In an amazing coincidence, Napster/Facebook guy Sean “Don’t Call Me Justin” Parker used the same weekend to offer a pitch-perfect demonstration of why SV may want to update its operating system.

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Do Tech Blogs Give Free PR to Silicon Valley? Valleywag Says Yes.

A couple of months ago New York magazine’s economics writer Kevin Roose asked whether tech journalists are generally afraid to write “objectively” and/or criticize their subjects. In other words, do the sites reporting on Silicon Valley residents—from Google-sized giants to tiny dorm-room startups—simply rework press releases penned by the companies they cover?

Interesting question; for one site, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

In a New York Times interview, blogger Sam Biddle of Gawker Media’s “tech industry gossip dartboard” Valleywag states that his goal is to make light of the digital world’s “lack of self-awareness” in the midst of so much overwhelmingly positive publicity. He specifically says that many other sites “[do] the bidding of the industry” they cover by hyping every single product rollout as the greatest thing since electricity and refusing to cast any related “thought leaders” in a less-than-flattering light.

Sounds a little dramatic, but he may be onto something here…

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Is Apple ‘Not a Sustainable Business Culture’?

Apple CEO Tim Cook Apple may have a bit of a PR problem on its hands thanks to a former executive who doesn’t seem to mind voicing his very frank opinions of the company’s top brass to all interested parties.

David Sobotta spent nearly twenty years in sales at what is now the most valuable business in history. He started writing an Apple-centric blog after leaving the company in 2004, and last month he published “The Pomme Company“, an e-book offering readers a “look inside one of America’s most secretive companies” from someone who was there for the long haul.

Apple execs, however, are more concerned with an interview between the writer and Dan Lyons of Readwrite titled “What’s It Like to Work for Tim Cook“. Turns out Sobotta wasn’t a big fan!

Sobotta calls Cook “one of the three people directly responsible for saving Apple” and admires the chief’s chutzphah; he wasn’t surprised by the decision to cut two top execs loose last month in a management shake-up move. But he refers to the current CEO as a technological “lightweight” who has “no personal loyalty”. He doesn’t have anything good to say about Cook’s management style either, claiming that “The people I saw him hire were not good ones” and that “he is poor judge of character.”

His final proclamation? “It is going to get worse at Apple. It is not a sustainable business culture.”

Wow, that’s more than a little harsh, Dave. Tell us what you really think!

Will Sobotta prove to be a big problem for Cook and Apple, or this just more of the usual Silicon Valley infighting, best ignored by all but fanboys and tech bloggers?

Computer History 101 Off California’s Highway 101

Visitors won’t find advance prototypes of the next model of Apple’s iPhone or iPad at Mountain View, California’s Computer History Museum. Instead, its Revolution exhibit takes a look back at the first two thousand years of computing. The twenty galleries contain an awe-inspiring display of computer related lore from the early abacus, slide rule and punched cards to programming languages, super computers, robots, and video games to more recent tablets and mobile devices.

As the multimedia collection demonstrates, these inventions were used in nearly every facet of life: by governments during wartime to crack enemy codes, by healthcare companies for breakthroughs such as electronic pacemakers, as well as for automobile dashboards, synthesized music and sneakers with microchip technology. Several reminders of short-lived companies, brands and products are also on hand, namely DEC/Digital Equipment Corporation, and Atari’s Pac-Man game.

Colorful visuals abound for those who are less tech-inclined. Among these are the Google Street Views car with a camera and GPS on top and the Noogler propeller cap given to new Google employees. At the museum’s entrance is a statement about fashion, entrepreneurship and capitalism. It’s a dress covered with red dollar bills, worn by Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems, to celebrate the startup’s IPO in 1990.

An article in Sunday’s New York Times focused on female Silicon Valley executives, including Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, preferring more fashionable work attire than their predecessors. Lerner’s dress was an even more striking commentary about the Silicon Valley lifestyle.

Who Let the Dogs In? Man’s Best Friend Gains Entree and Influence

Lately canines have been getting the attention and red carpet treatment they deserve. No longer stay-at-home dogs, they now accompany their owners to venues such as banks (right), hotels, ballparks, and even the alter. They have certainly earned their reward, since they play a role in many aspects of humans’ lives, including serving in the military, as seeing-eye dogs, companions and as conversation starters for singles.

Dog owners represent a sizable and devoted audience, and their spending has been relatively recession-proof. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households own at least one dog, and if people with an affinity for dogs are included, that number is far higher.

Madison Avenue and Hollywood have long featured dogs based on their enormous popularity, and now other industries have followed suit. Here are ten examples of dogs’ increased exposure, ranging from media, entertainment and travel to sports and politics.

  • Madison Avenue often chooses dogs for its high profile ads, such as the Volkswagen spot called “The Bark Side” starring a canine chorus that aired during this year’s Super Bowl.
  • Hollywood celebrated Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who nearly stole the show at the Oscars this year based on his performance in The Artist.
  • Silicon Valley companies are known for allowing dogs on their campuses. DogPatch Labs is a startup incubator, and new site MatchPuppy.com find play dates for dogs and their owners.
  • In social media some dogs have a voice with their own Twitter accounts. Among YouTube’s most popular videos are those with canines (including nearly 17 million views for VW’s ad)
  • Jonah Peretti, founder of BuzzFeed, readily acknowledges that dog related content (especially beagles) generated much of his site’s traffic. (Huffington Post is better known for cat videos)
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