Lesbians Who Tech, A New Digital Ad Platform, and Ray Dalio Warns of Revolution

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DAYLIGHT  

Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, says capitalism needs to be reformed: “I think that most capitalists don’t know how to divide the economic pie well and most socialists don’t know how to grow it well, yet we are now at a juncture in which either a) people of different ideological inclinations will work together to skillfully re-engineer the system so that the pie is both divided and grown well or b) we will have great conflict and some form of revolution that will hurt most everyone and will shrink the pie.

“I believe that all good things taken to an extreme can be self-destructive and that everything must evolve or die. This is now true for capitalism. In this report I show why I believe that capitalism is now not working for the majority of Americans, I diagnose why it is producing these inadequate results, and I offer some suggestions for what can be done to reform it.”

THE ECONOMY

Good news: The US added 196,000 jobs in March: “The solid job gains that have come to define the current economic expansion resumed in March. The gain in hiring, though widely forecast, will clear some of the doubts hanging over the economy.  Though the economy is expected to slow this year from the strong pace of 2018, Friday’s report was a welcome sign that job creation remains robust.”

MARKETING

Snap is building an ad network to run inside other apps: “The ad platform, which is called the Snap Audience Network, is akin to Facebook’s Audience Network, which has been around since 2014. App developers that sign up for the program will fill their ad inventory with the same full-screen, vertical video ads that appear inside the Snapchat app. In exchange for selling these ads on behalf of the app developer, Snap will keep a portion of the ad revenue. Any company with a need for video ads but that doesn’t have a large sales team would be a prospective client.

“Snap hopes advertisers will use the Snap Audience Network to reach a larger group of people than if they advertised on Snapchat alone—an important point considering Snapchat’s user base is no longer growing.”

The New York Times takes a crack at explaining TikTok: “It’s an app with lots of teens, and lots of music, and lots of, well, everything. It’s ruled by mysterious algorithms, which shuttle users around its sprawling platform however they please, for whatever purposes their creators decide. It’s an app that’s unapologetic about wasting your time. It’s also, apparently, a good way to waste some time at work.

“Perhaps you’re curious to see the kitchens of every restaurant chain you’ve ever been to, at their best and worst, or to watch a carefully choreographed super-speed dishwashing routine, or about how Kind bars get made, or how to run casing down a freshly drilled oil well?”

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HUMAN RESOURCES

Leanne Pittsford wants to turn Lesbians Who Tech into a platform that helps companies hire diverse employees: “In 2019, the organization is entering an inflection point, as what was once a conference-media business with a charitable arm aims to become a scalable technology company. ‘We already work with more than 150 companies looking to retain or recruit diverse talent,’ Pittsford said.

‘Our partners were asking: How do we track hires? How do we actually hold ourselves accountable?’ Now, she and LWT are building Include.io, a digital tool that aims to do precisely that.”

Bay Area tech companies are seeking fewer H-1B visas to hire foreign workers: “The downward trend reflects a shift in the hiring practices of not only the nation’s largest technology companies but also of small to mid-size businesses that often scramble to fill vacant tech positions with highly skilled foreign tech workers.

The drop comes amid calls by President Donald Trump and some computer associations like the Programmers Guild for companies to focus on hiring existing American tech workers. Currently, the H-1B lottery awards 65,000 new visas each year to skilled workers from foreign countries, with an additional 20,000 H-1B visas going to those with a masters or doctorate degree from a US institution.”

TRADE

President Trump signed a trade memorandum targeting counterfeit products, an industry that approaches $500 billion a year. “The departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Commerce have been instructed to put together a data report with sales of counterfeit goods online and how they are being monitored, per CNBC. They have 210 days to present the information, and the administration will then provide recommendations and legislation. Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro said, in an op-ed with the Wall Street Journal, more than 40 percent of the goods investigated by the Government Accountability Office were found to be counterfeit.”

Global companies are moving their supply chains away from China: “Now companies in a number of industries are reducing their exposure to China. GoPro, the mobile camera maker, and Universal Electronics, which makes sensors and remote controls, are shifting some work to Mexico. Hasbro is moving its toy making to the United States, Mexico, Vietnam and India. Aten International, a Taiwanese computer equipment company, brought work back to Taiwan. Danfoss, a Danish conglomerate, is changing the production of heating and hydraulic equipment to the United States.

“Mr. Trump’s victory in this department is not unalloyed. Despite his promises to bring jobs back to the United States, most of the work is shifting to other countries with lower costs. Reshaping global supply chains also takes time, and China will remain a vital manufacturing hub for decades to come.”

POLICY

President Trump has picked a new head of the SBA: “Jovita Carranza is currently an adviser to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, oversees the Office of Consumer Policy and works with the Federal Reserve. She served as deputy administrator for the Small Business Administration under President George W. Bush. Ms. Carranza also spent more than 20 years at United Parcel Service, where she rose from a box handler during the night shift to the president of Latin American and Caribbean operations, according to her Treasury Department biography.”

STARTUPS

Fora, which makes plant-based FabaButter, figures it’s only a matter of time before it finds a partner in the dairy industry: “‘At first, there’s always going to be backlash when something new comes out. It’s just human nature essentially. But I think over time, people will understand [these are] big opportunities for plant-based brands, and I believe a lot of the claims these [dairy] organizations use are pretty baseless and won’t stand up to changing consumer trends across the US right now.’ … ”

Dairy lobbyists are, of course, among the strongest opponents of labeling dairy-free products as dairy products. That’s especially true given that traditional milk sales in the US fell by $1.1 billion in 2018, according to The Dairy Farmers of America, which has the industry even more worried about substitutes. Plant-based milk now represents 15 percent of the total milk market.

COMPUTER SECURITY
Online security firm UpGuard sent out a report indicating millions of Facebook users’ records are unprotected. “More than 540 million Facebook records—including users’ comments, likes, account names and more—were left exposed on an Amazon cloud-computing server, researchers announced on Wednesday, marking the latest major privacy and security mishap to plague the social-networking giant. …

“The report from UpGuard comes almost a year after revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, improperly accessed 87 million Facebook users’ personal data with the aid of a quiz app. But the fact that such a vast, full cache of sensitive personal information could be accessed by anyone online raises fresh questions about Facebook’s efforts to protect its users’ privacy and prevent abuse from third-party developers who have access to it.”

SPOTLIGHT

Upcoming Oxford Event

Commerce Dinner

May 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m. EST

Murphy’s, 997 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306.

Contact events@oxfordcenter.com for more information.

And that’s what’s ahead.

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