Bloomberg TV interviewed me at the Dublin Web Summit last week, asking for some of my predictions for what are going to be the future of tech. They also interviewed a few others, including the amazing Joe Green (Causes, NationBuilder) and David Shing (AOL’s Digital Prophet).
They didn’t have time to air all my predictions, but I’m glad they picked one of my favorites: biofeedback and technology enhancement of health. Check out the full video above if you want to learn more.
Just days after Hipmunk’s June funding announcement, a company called i2z Technology LLC told the travel start-up that it has to buy a license for a 1994 patent that covers a method for displaying data in multiple computer windows.
Despite its high-tech sounding name, i2z is simply a Texas shell company run by a California lawyer that is targeting internet and travel companies including Kayak, Google, Yelp and Microsoft. Under i2z’s business model, known as patent trolling, firms that don’t make anything collect patents in order to extract licensing settlements from companies that do.
Hipmunk is just the latest target of a shell corporation whose only purpose is to sue innovative companies. Lodsys did the same thing to small iOS developers, and even big companies like Apple aren’t immune.
Developing an awesome technology and defending it is great, as is acquiring patents to protect yourself from a patent lawsuit (like what Facebook did when Yahoo sued it).
But creating a company for the sole purpose of snagging patents and suing other companies? Those people don’t even deserve to practice law. They’re the scum of the earth. We need to find a way to enact some real patent reform and end this despicable practice.
Why do people decide to share what they share? What makes something go viral? What kind of things can companies do to encourage more sharing from their users?
These are the types of questions that my friend Matt Schlicht and I ask ourselves pretty much every day. Studying why people share helps us understand human nature.
Matt, the co-founder of Tracks.by (a company I advise), has come up with a few theories about social, but he needs to test them. That’s why he’s decided to start a Social Experimenter’s Newsletter to try and test out his theories.
I encourage you to sign up for Matt’s Social Experimenter’s Newsletter. It will be a fascinating look into why we share and how we can encourage more of it.
Women are still paid far less than men on average. Women make approximately 0.77 cents to every dollar a man makes, according to Time Magazine.
There are a lot of contributing factors to this problem, but one that a lot of people don’t focus on is how most women are losing out during the salary negotiation.
I ran across an extraordinarily interesting thread on Reddit today. The thread is by a person who performs the salary negotiations for a large multinational technology company.
“I regularly hire women for 65% to 75% of what males make,” the anonymous Redditor says. “I am sick of it.”
More from the thread:
“Our process, despite the pay gap, is identical for men and women. We start with phone interviews, and move into a personal and technical interview. Once a candidate passes both of those, we start salary negotiations. This is where the women seem to come in last.
The reason they don’t keep up, from where I sit, is simple. Often, a woman will enter the salary negotiation phase and I’ll tell them a number will be sent to them in a couple days. Usually we start around $45k for an entry level position. 50% to 60% of the women I interview simply take this offer. It’s insane, I already know I can get authorization for more if you simply refuse. Inversely, almost 90% of the men I interview immediately ask for more upon getting the offer.”
This problem continues to the counteroffer. Men will simply put out a higher number, while many women in this person’s experience don’t even put out a number, so the negotiator continues to lowball it.
You may say that this type of salary negotiation is unfair, but this is how markets work — two sides haggling over perceived value. The fundamental issue here is how women perceive and carry themselves during these negotiations and how often they ask for a raise.
This is an issue that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, a woman I deeply admire, has continually noticed. “Women systematically underestimate their own abilities,” Sandberg told an audience during her famous TED Women talk. 57% of men negotiate a higher salary for their first job out of college, while only 7% of women do the same.
Fighting this issue is not just about laws and regulations, but awareness and mindset. Tell that young college senior niece or daughter of yours that she is worth more and that she should be confident in demanding more. If a company doesn’t accept her terms, it’s their loss and not hers.
I’ve embedded Sheryl’s TED talk for good measure. Let me know what you think of the male-female salary gap issue in the comments.
“There are still a lot of daily deals startups in the market right now. My day isn’t complete without at least three pitching me for a story on Mashable. But while more daily deals startups may be getting off the ground, the big players are clearly realizing that this business is being commoditized by intense competition and fatigue by consumers and local businesses. Fifty-two percent of U.S. consumers say they feel overwhelmed by the number of daily deals emails hitting their inboxes.”
Groupon Now hasn’t taken off the way the company wanted it to, and the antics of its CEO aren’t helping. I really, really hope they can mastermind a turnaround, but my prediction is that Groupon isn’t even close to the bottom yet.
(Side note: I’m not a professional stock analyst. Don’t depend on me for your stock picks.)
But most of all, I learned so much from the thousands of entrepreneurs that I have met. I will not forget their struggles, their triumphs and their ideas. I wish I could have written more of their stories. It was a true honor.
As for what’s next: I am considering several opportunities right now and will definitely keep you all posted as to my future plans. I want to leverage the national platform that I have built and use it to help, empower and reach as many people as I can. I’m exploring options in the media world, the entertainment world, the startup world, the venture capital world and elsewhere. But as always, I’m open to suggestions.
I do intend to continue writing and commentating about the technology and entrepreneurial world, though. Therefore, I will continue my Social Analyst column on BenParr.com for now.
As I’ve told many people, the driving philosophy in my life is this: I have the ability and thus the responsibility to change the world for the better. I want to find a way to empower every person on the planet, so they can pursue their dreams. Today begins the next stage of my journey to fulfill that purpose.
On Sunday, I made another appearance on NBC’s Press:Here. In this edition of the program, NBC’s Scott McGrew, BBC’s Maggie Shiels and I interviewed Michael Shermer, best known for founding The Skeptics Society, creating Skeptic Magazine, hosting Exploring the Unknown and contributing a monthly column to Scientific American.
The conversation covered all the bases: the end of the world, whether vaccines cause Autism, and the impact the web has had on our belief in the odd and the supernatural.
In addition to interviewing Shermer, we also chatted with Samsung’s Jim Elliott about the solid state drive (SSD). Check out both interviews via the videos below:
About a year ago, my friend Amber Rae asked me to contribute to an ebook she was writing. It was about the “ah ha moment” — the “moment when everything clicks and you know precisely what to do next.”
Amber Rae collected a lot of those stories, and eventually she turned it into Revolution.is, a collection of “weekly stories from change-makers and culture-shapers who take initiative, trust their gut, and create revolutions in their work.” The blog already has a fantastic group of stories, and this week it published mine.
From my mini-essay:
“Before I became the Editor-at-Large of Mashable, I lived and worked in Chicago. In 2008 when I graduated from Northwestern University, I started working for a startup. A few months after taking the job, the company folded and I was left to fend for myself in the job market.
At about the same time my entrepreneurial mentor asked me to join him in building up and expanding a popular health website. Although I wasn’t specifically passionate about health, I was excited about joining my mentor in the task of growing the company. When he left the company a short while later, the excitement withered away.
The job was fine and I did a great job maintaining the website, but I started to realize that my “comfortable” job wasn’t testing my limits or cultivating my passions for entrepreneurship and technology. I knew that I had to make a change.
I didn’t have a singular “ah ha!” moment, but rather a series of thoughts and conversations that led to a decision.”
I highly encourage you to check Amber’s blog out, especially if you’re looking for some inspiration.
The good people over at Dublin-based Websites Made Easy recorded and edited a talk I gave at the Dublin Web Summit in March. My talk, “The Top Questions in Technology,” focused on fostering a discussion around the big issues that have kept the tech world buzzing, including whether we’re in a tech bubble and what part of the world will become the next Silicon Valley.
Thanks to the cuts, the video’s short, sweet and gets right to the core parts of my talk. It also gives you an idea of my speaking style (“high energy” doesn’t quite describe it). As always, if you’re interested in having me speak, check out my Speakergram page.