Ann is a freelance writer who covers travel and culture, social problems and solutions, and emerging technologies. Formerly, she managed Techonomy editorial and assisted Techonomy’s CEO. She has written for BBC, VICE, Roads & Kingdoms, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and Courthouse News, among other publications.
Written ArticlesView All
#MeToo Comes Out of the Shadows
As the tech industry’s issues with sexual harassment, workplace mistreatment, and abuse of power move into public view, employees are holding their companies accountable with displays of activism.
By Ann BabeNov 12, 2018
Can Government Learn to Fail Fast?
Code for America's Jennifer Pahlka fully acknowledges that tech and government do not mix well, yet she is determined to raise the bar. She's going to need everybody's help.
By Ann BabeNov 12, 2018
WWW Inventor Wants to Take Back the Web
Kicking off the Techonomy 2018 conference Sunday in Half Moon Bay, Ca., Tim Berners-Lee shared his plan for how to “reset” the web and help users regain control from the corporate powers that have usurped it.
By Ann BabeNov 11, 2018
Life on WeChat
WeChat is China's version of Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and even Amazon all rolled up into one. What makes connected networking different in Asia? What can we learn about China and about the internet from the devoted users of WeChat?
By Ann BabeJan 4, 2018
“The Internet Under Attack Is Civil Society Under Attack”
As the Internet becomes more and more vulnerable, civil society is under threat. Is it already too late? A panel at Techonomy 2017 paints a dire picture.
By Ann BabeNov 7, 2017
Urban Space: Missed Opportunities and Looming Changes
In what has become a recurring theme of Techonomy 2017, the technology is outracing society’s capacity to thoughtfully integrate it. Monday’s sessions on the future of cities was no exception.
By Ann BabeNov 7, 2017
The Global Healthcare Revolution Will Be Technologized
Improving global health is the biggest story of all, and tech is playing a major role. Telemedicine, drone deliveries, and 3D printing are all helping people in less-developed countries get healthier. This article from our latest Techonomy magazine visits Haiti, Malawi, and Kenya, where groups like Doctors Without Borders and Chicago's Field Ready are applying tech to bring relief and hope.
By Ann BabeAug 17, 2017
How Connections Help Place the Displaced
In the midst of a devastating refugee crisis in Syria and elsewhere, startups across the globe are now applying networked technology to help the displaced. Both for-profit and nonprofit organizations are helping people find homes, jobs, skills, and other tools. There's much to be done, and tech startups are leading the pack.
(From the latest Techonomy magazine.)
By Ann BabeJul 20, 2017
New Tools to Tackle the Business Diversity Crisis
Almost every company is embarrassingly uniform in its ethnic and gender makeup, even as data increasingly shows that in diversity is strength. Now, finally, software and other tools are emerging that may help bring a more natural human variety to organizations. Hiring women, minorities, and people who generally don’t look and think like the boss is not just good for society. More diversified workforces help create more profitable and faster-growing companies.
By Ann BabeApr 20, 2016
10 Great Talks by Women at Techonomy
In honor of women around the world leading the way toward a more equitable future, on this International Women's Day we assembled ten of our favorite talks by women at Techonomy conferences over the years. There are plenty more where these came from.
By Ann BabeMar 8, 2016
Google Crashes Self-Driving Car—And Everyone Is OK with That
Google released its February Self-Driving Car Project report yesterday—which for the first time ever includes a crash it caused. Reported to the California DMV Feb. 14, the collision was minor: at Mountain View’s El Camino Real and Castro Street intersection, Google’s Lexus RX SUV, while in autonomous mode, “made contact with the side of a passing bus traveling at 15 mph,” according to Google’s monthly report.
By Ann BabeMar 2, 2016
Watch SpaceX Attempt to Make History
SpaceX will today launch its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and then attempt to land it upright on a droneship in the Atlantic. If the mission is successful, it will go down in history, making strides toward more sustainable space travel, revolutionized by reusable rockets. But Elon Musk isn't holding his breath.
By Ann BabeFeb 25, 2016
Power to the Period People
Why have we seen almost no innovation in the feminine hygiene space? Mostly because we even feel the need call it “feminine hygiene” at all, softening our speech with terms like “that time of the month” and “women’s troubles” to cover up the embarrassment. The taboo of menstruation means innovators feel uncomfortable tackling its management, leaving today’s women and girls stuck with basically the same products available to them 75 years ago. One company is working to change that: Thinx.
By Ann BabeFeb 24, 2016
What Will Tomorrow’s Election Look Like in the Youngest Country in the World?
Uganda, where more than three-quarters of the population is under age 30, will elect its next president Thursday. The country’s elections are democratic, but many expect the race to be rigged in favor of incumbent president Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 30 years. Despite strong anti-Museveni sentiment among youths who can't find work as well as new biometric technology that will verify voter identity, some feel nothing can be done to stop the corruption.
By Ann BabeFeb 17, 2016
The Internet of Things: Citizen Friend or Foe?
Two hundred forty years ago, our founding fathers could never have imagined the revolutionary tech we’d have today to engage with our government programs and officials. On this Presidents' Day 2016, the citizen-engagement landscape includes developments that range from e-voting to online petitioning, which are making it easier than ever for everyday people to interact with their city, state, and national governments. Today, the Internet of Things is emerging as another way for citizens to talk with their governments.
By Ann BabeFeb 15, 2016
How Tech Is Helping Relief Efforts in Nepal
As Nepal faces the aftermath of April’s devastating earthquake that claimed over 7,500 lives, technologies like drones, people finders, and crowdsourcing platforms are playing a role in disaster relief. Drones, so often associated with the violence of military warfare, are contributing to emergency-response efforts in Nepal by videoing and mapping the disaster zone. Using thermal sensors and ultra-zoom lenses, camera-equipped drones scan the wreckage and identify survivors. And soon, unmanned aerial vehicles might also be able to deliver critical medical supplies, food, and water to hard-to-reach areas.
By Ann BabeMay 5, 2015
Driverless Cars Debut Soon—But Will We Be Ready for Them?
Is operating a driverless car legal? With Tesla, Audi, and Cadillac all set to roll out vehicles featuring autonomous functions over the next year—in a legal climate where the federal government and a majority of states lack any regulation at all—the question is difficult to address, but urgently demands an answer. Many automakers say that if a state doesn’t expressly bar hands-free driving, it’s permitted. And legal experts agree. But they also point out that how police officers elect to actually handle driverless cars is another matter.
By Ann BabeMay 4, 2015
Biomimicry Enters Academic Mainstream with ASU Center
Arizona State University will launch a new Biomimicry Center devoted to the research and development of initiatives that use nature’s own time-tested strategies to tackle our biggest sustainability challenges. A joint venture of ASU and Biomimicry 3.8, the Biomimicry Center will kick off March 3 with an interactive symposium of lectures, discussion, and hands-on activities at ASU’s Tempe campus. The center’s aim is to bring together the expertise of a wide range of disciplines—including biology, chemistry, engineering, business, material science, psychology, design, and architecture—to create a new multipronged approach to sustainability.
By Ann BabeFeb 18, 2015
LinkedIn’s Hoffman: Impact of Social Networks Will Only Grow
Entrepreneur and investor Reid Hoffman has backed or helped build over 50 ventures, including groundbreaking companies like PayPal, Facebook, Groupon, Flickr, and of course professional networking juggernaut LinkedIn, which he co-founded. So what does one of the country’s most prolific investors think about the future of social networking, a phenomenon some say is already dying? “We are in the first inning,” Hoffman says. “People are still learning what does it mean to have these networks be a fundamental part of their life.”
By Ann BabeFeb 12, 2015
Can Open-Source Voting Tech Fix the U.S. Elections System?
American voting technology is trapped in the last millennium. This lifeline to democracy is kept secret—closed off from public inspection and controlled by large businesses. It is decades old to boot. Our voting methods ought to be at least as cutting edge as our selfie apps, but they’re not. Open-source technology could offer a solution that upends the entire elections technology market, dislodging incumbent voting machine companies and putting the electorate at the helm.
By Ann BabeFeb 4, 2015
Boon or Bane?: The Unknown Future of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is changing the nature of everything from jobs and the economy, to warfare, communications, privacy, and ethics. But its long-term impact remains to be seen. Will A.I. lead to a better, brighter future, or move us toward disaster? “Like every powerful technology, A.I. is potentially dangerous,” said Facebook's well-regarded A.I. Research Director Yann LeCun, speaking at a Data Driven NYC event on Tuesday.
By Ann BabeDec 22, 2014
Texting to Stop Ebola: African Telecoms Launch SMS Fundraiser
In the fight against Ebola, African telecoms are asking cell phone users to text to save lives. Partnering with the African Union Commission, 41 telecommunications companies across the continent have launched the “United Against Ebola” campaign, an SMS initiative that raises money from every user who texts “Stop Ebola” to 7979. Rwanda is one of the latest countries to join the campaign, which began Dec. 1 and runs through February 2015.
By Ann BabeDec 16, 2014
Baby Wearables: The Next Big Thing in “Smart” Parenting?
With the seemingly endless variety of smart wearables out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, not only by the options available but also by the data produced. What does all the data mean, how is it applied, where does it go, and does it really improve your life? Or just further complicate it? Compound all of these questions with the fact that today’s wearables aren’t just tracking you, they’re also tracking your baby. We’ve already seen Huggies’ TweetPee, a wetness sensor that clips onto diapers and wirelessly connects with an app, Tweeting at parents when a diaper needs changing. And diaper alerts are just the tip of the wearable iceberg.
By Ann BabeDec 5, 2014
Apple’s Surge in iPhone Sales Matched by Mac
“No company gets attention like Apple. No company,” says Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick—whether it be from the development of new products like the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, or from news of the company’s profits and sales. On Tuesday, the tech colossus reported its fourth-quarter earnings, announcing some formidable figures, including a whopping 21-percent jump in iPhone revenue. It’s no surprise that that increase was due in large part to high demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. But what did surprise some is the fact that that surge was matched by a 21-percent increase in revenue from none other than the Mac.
By Ann BabeOct 23, 2014
Smartphones Could Help Mitigate Bipolar Disorder
People who suffer from bipolar disorder may soon be equipped with another line of defense in their battle against manic and depressive episodes. Not with more psychologists or prescriptions, but, surprisingly enough, with their smartphones. A new app from the University of Michigan is experimenting with using voice analysis to detect impending mood swings and alert doctors before an episode becomes a crisis, or worse, an attempted suicide. The app works by listening to a patient's' phone calls, and automatically recording, encrypting, and analyzing them to produce data sets.
By Ann BabeJul 22, 2014
Dutch Surgeon Successfully Implants 3D-Printed Skull
3D printing has gained popularity as the cool do-it-yourself way to manufacture your own art pieces, knickknacks, and playthings. But the technology is capable of so much more—printing everything from food to housing to combat supplies—and it's recently been making big strides in the world of medicine, too. This past spring, Dutch brain surgeon Dr. Bon Verweij achieved a medical breakthrough when he performed the first operation using a 3D-printed skull.
By Ann BabeJul 3, 2014
Citizen Scientists Accelerate Bio Progress
As advances in the biological sciences expand, so does their influence on every facet of life. And the people powering that expansion are not just traditionally trained scientists-they’re also regular folks like you and me. The "Participatory Biology" at Techonomy Bio convened traditional scientists Ryan Bethencourt of Berkeley BioLabs and UC Santa Cruz professor David Haussler with Eri Gentry, a self-taught scientist who left the world of finance to co-found the Bay Area biotech hackerspace BioCurious.
By Ann BabeJun 27, 2014
Snacking on Smog: A Building That Eats Our Pollution
The latest foray into air-purifying architecture is a 9,000-square meter "urban forest" in Milan, set to be unveiled at the city's Expo Milano 2015. The massive smog-eating building, called the Palazzo Italia, will mimic the function and appearance of trees while also supporting the expo's theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life." The secret of Palazzo Italia is photocatalytic concrete, a special substance that, when in contact with ultraviolet light, captures nitrogen dioxide pollutants and converts them into harmless salts that can be washed away with the next rainfall.
By Ann BabeJun 19, 2014
Digital Medicine: Diagnostic Stickers and Pills That Talk Back to You
Often, the biggest battle in monitoring our health is remembering. Remembering to take our prescriptions every day (and ideally at the same time) to manage preexisting conditions. Remembering to track developing symptoms to diagnose new diseases. It's a lot to remember, but there are plenty of apps out there to help us. Still, no matter how many apps we download, how can we be sure they actually get us to do what we're supposed to? New sensor technology in the form of wearables—and even ingestibles—could increasingly play that role in our lives.
By Ann BabeJun 12, 2014
Writing the Rules of the Sharing Economy
The sharing economy has been called the next big disruptor. But is it disrupting enough? Fast enough? Broadly enough? The answers depend on whom you ask. As sharing expands into more industries and infiltrates more cities, it’s hard to keep up with the changes and understand whether they amount to progress. “We should be looking forward and asking ourselves, ‘What kind of future do we want to create?’” said Airbnb Co-founder and CTO Nathan Blecharczyk at the Collaborative, Peer, and Sharing Economy Summit at New York University last week. The summit sought to take a big-picture look at the much-hyped sharing economy, examining not only what it is, but also its effects, the platforms and institutions powering it, and the regulatory questions it’s raising.
By Ann BabeJun 6, 2014
Harnessing the Power of Algae
A California researcher is working to create a new type of battery, powered not by lithium, alkaline, or lead-acid, but by ... algae? Yes, reports TechCrunch, algae batteries, which charge faster and for longer than their traditional counterparts, have the capacity to power a smartphone, a tablet, and even a Tesla. Research has already shown the power of algae, but Adam Freeman, founder of alGAS, says he's about to create the first algae battery that could power a car--with a charge 200 times greater than current lithium-based batteries can provide, and for a fraction of the price. "Think of driving your car on a living battery that charges in seconds with a battery that costs almost nothing and is actually good for the environment," Freeman told TechCrunch.
By Ann BabeJun 4, 2014
Kirkpatrick: Apple Acquisition of Beats a Smart Move
Much has been made of Apple's $3 billion decision to buy Beats, and whether it displays savvy and foresight, or something closer to desperation. Some say Apple is smart to be using its vast resources to infuse the company with fresh talent and a renewed sense of "cool." Others wonder if Apple hasn't gone off the deep end. Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg Surveillance Thursday to talk about Apple's acquisition, calling it a "smart move" that puts the company in position to broaden its market share. In buying Beats, Kirkpatrick said, Apple will increase its appeal among young people—by way of both Beats' iconic headphones and the "good intellectual DNA" of its co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.
By Ann BabeMay 30, 2014
Tech-enhanced Rescue Dogs Lend a Paw to Disaster Relief
Superdog to the rescue! It may sound like comic book fodder, but we're about to see Krypto in real life, as our canine friends, outfitted in high-tech gear, prepare to join the front lines of disaster response. Led by a team from North Carolina State University, the smart-response dog initiative is part of a larger effort to smarten up our currently outdated disaster relief infrastructure.
By Ann BabeMay 30, 2014
Mobile Panel Looks at How to Engage Students Through Their Devices
When it comes to user engagement, the biggest competitor to any online education platform isn’t a rival one, said Dan Friedman of Thinkful on stage at this week's M1 ("Mobile First") Summit. It's Netflix. So how can Web-based schools keep the attention of students who'd rather be watching Breaking Bad? The answer might come from mobile.
By Ann BabeMay 22, 2014
Pew Survey: Internet of Things Offers Promise, but Concerns Linger
Your houseplant emails you when it wants to be watered. Your baby's diaper texts you when it needs changing. And your refrigerator sends you a shopping list the second you set foot in a grocery store. But when you walk to the ice cream aisle and grab a tub of mint chocolate chip, the shirt monitoring your heart rate tells you you'd better put it back. This is the future that awaits us, as the Internet of Things encompasses more and more of our everyday lives. And it's bound to be here within the next 10 years, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.
By Ann BabeMay 15, 2014
Robot Meets Cow
From the classroom to the battlefield, robots have been making their occupational debut in some of the unlikeliest of places. Now they're heading to the farm to take on jobs as cow milkers. Developed in Europe, the robotic milking technology is allowing cows to be milked any time they want, simply by walking up to a robot and letting the machine do its work. And because dairy cows are almost always pregnant (in order for them to lactate), the ability to be milked more frequently goes a long way in increasing their comfort. In addition to milking, the robotic milkers scan cows' stomachs, gauge milking rates, and monitor such stats as the amount of milk produced, how much a cow eats, and how many steps it takes.
By Ann BabeApr 24, 2014
Kirkpatrick: Amazon Smartphone Move “Brilliant”
Come September, the hottest phone on the market might not be the iPhone, Galaxy, or Nexus, but a new 3D-capable smartphone developed by none other than Amazon. The Internet behemoth has been considering making a foray into the smartphone market, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, and is likely to publicly announce plans in June and go to market as early as September. Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick spoke on Bloomberg Surveillance on Monday about Amazon's possible push into smartphones, calling the move "brilliant" and noting its potential for connecting customer relations with mobile payments. "If you were trying to keep an ongoing relationship for all kinds of commercial relationships with everybody, you have to have a phone," Kirkpatrick said. And for companies hoping to get a return from consumers, transactions are paramount.
By Ann BabeApr 14, 2014
Programming Trees to Self-Destruct Could Save Energy
Mother Earth could benefit from the degradation of, oddly enough, one of her own, as scientists search for ways to deteriorate trees in order to improve industrial processes. New research shows that by weakening the walls of plant cells we can render them more susceptible to deconstruction during industrial processing, making procedures like pulping, paper-making, and biofuel production less wasteful and more energy efficient. To degrade plant structures, researchers redesigned the polymer that fortifies plant cell walls, lignin, using high heat and alkaline treatments to weaken bonds between molecules.
By Ann BabeApr 10, 2014
A Website That Attempts the Impossible
Impossible.com is showing us that doing kind acts for others—even perfect strangers—is in fact very much possible. The new online community, already established in the U.K. and currently launching in the U.S., aims to advance the gift economy by serving as a platform for transactionless giving and receiving—that is, people doing nice things for other people without expecting anything in return. Created by British model, actress, and brand ambassador Lily Cole, Impossible is meant to explore the social value of connecting through giving. Cole traveled to New York last month to promote Impossible, appearing on Charlie Rose alongside Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick and Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School and the co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
By Ann BabeApr 3, 2014
The Inefficiency Bunker
It's housed 230 feet underground in an old mine in rural Pennsylvania. The official government paperwork it processes follows a long and winding procedure that takes more than three months to complete. And despite all of today's advanced computing technology, its operations rely on physical paper records and manual data entry. This is the Office of Personnel Management, which The Washington Post calls "one of the weirdest workplaces in the U.S. government." It is the department that processes the retirement papers of government employees. From the time the office receives a retiree's papers to the time it issues a retirement check, the process takes about 61 days. That's not a day less than it took back in 1977.
By Ann BabeMar 31, 2014
From Messaging to Gaming, Mark Zuckerberg Is Buying
Just five weeks after acquiring mobile messaging app WhatsApp (for a whopping $19 billion), Facebook announced Tuesday it plans to buy Oculus, the virtual reality headset startup that's been the talk of the town—the gaming town, that is—even though it has yet to send a single product to market. The $2 billion buyout includes 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock and $400 million in cash. Techonomy CEO and Bloomberg contributing editor David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg Surveillance Wednesday to talk about Facebook’s objectives in acquiring Oculus, both now and in the future. “They can win with this purchase,” Kirkpatrick said, adding that Oculus can help Facebook achieve its short-term goal of building a stronger gaming platform.
By Ann BabeMar 26, 2014
Can Smart Cars Curb Road Rage?
Road ragers beware. Get too angry behind the wheel and you'll have to answer to ... your own car? That's right, our vehicles may soon be able to detect our emotional states while driving, automatically limiting speeds or issuing warnings to calm down when we become too aggressive, according to Gizmodo. The in-car emotion detector, invented by a joint research team from the Swiss technical school École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, monitors stress levels by using an infrared camera to measure feelings of anger and disgust.
By Ann BabeMar 21, 2014
Your Garden Is About to Go Bionic
Imagine shrubs monitoring pollution levels, weeds storing electronic devices, and flowers detecting explosives and chemical weapons. Sounds like science fiction, but bionic plant life is not as far-fetched as you might think, according to new research from M.I.T. In the emerging field of plant nanobiotics, researchers are studying plants' potential as technology platforms. By embedding various nanomaterials within plant cell structures, research shows, run-of-the-mill plant life can be transformed into high-tech sensors, monitors, and energy producers. "The potential is really endless," M.I.T. researcher Michael Strano told M.I.T. News.
By Ann BabeMar 18, 2014
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty at Mobile World Congress
It is an exciting time, it is a disruptive time. So says the CEO of IBM, who believes “everyone in every industry” will be affected by today’s changing tech industry. Ginni Rometty appeared onstage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday, marking the first time for a CEO of IBM to attend the world’s largest mobile exhibition and conference. In her keynote, hosted by Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick, Rometty discussed the main shifts taking place in today’s enterprise ecosystem, identifying three important trends: data, cloud, and engagement.
By Ann BabeFeb 28, 2014
Kirkpatrick: Zuckerberg’s Plan for Global Connectivity “Impressive and Amazing”
It may be the tech acquisition everyone's talking about, but Facebook's $19 billion buyout of WhatsApp is just one step along the way of Mark Zuckerberg's larger-than-life quest: to connect every single person on the planet. Zuckerberg joined Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick onstage at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress Monday to talk WhatsApp, the future of communications, and, most salient in Zuckerberg's mind, his global connectivity initiative Internet.org. Launched in August 2013, Internet.org is a global partnership between Facebook, Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, and Qualcomm, which positions Internet access as a human right.
By Ann BabeFeb 25, 2014
Kirkpatrick: $19 Billion WhatsApp Deal Keeps Facebook on Cutting Edge
Facebook stunned the tech world Wednesday, announcing its biggest acquisition yet—a $19 billion deal to buy messaging application WhatsApp. Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg West Wednesday and on Bloomberg Surveillance Thursday to talk about Mark Zuckerberg’s big move. “I think this shows that he’s willing to pay whatever it takes to keep on the cutting edge of what is going to be important down the road,” Kirkpatrick, who is also a Bloomberg contributing editor, told Surveillance’s Tom Keene on Thursday.
By Ann BabeFeb 20, 2014
Prosthetic Bionics Give Danish Amputee the Power of Touch
New bionic technology is making it possible for amputees to feel again. It’s a scientific breakthrough, and Dennis Aabo Sørenson became the first in the world to experience it when he took a chance on a clinical trial that ended up paying off—big-time. Sørenson, from Denmark, had lost his left hand in a fireworks accident nine years earlier, when he decided to take part in the 2013 trial. The study’s groundbreaking technology connected surgically implanted electrodes to a bionic prosthetic hand, and after nearly a decade of living without touch sensory, Sørenson could feel again.
By Ann BabeFeb 7, 2014
Report: Internet Is Faster, More Susceptible to Attack
Internet speeds around the world are up, but so are cyber-attacks, says Akamai in its latest “State of the Internet” report. Released quarterly by the Massachusetts-based content delivery network Akamai Technologies, the report analyzes global statistics on key indicators of Internet connectivity. Findings from 2013’s third quarter disclosed some good news, showing upward trends in both global connection speeds and broadband adoption rates, but also warned of long-term growth in attack traffic—a majority of it coming from China, Indonesia, and the United States.
By Ann BabeFeb 4, 2014
Tesla Supercharges Cross-Country Treks
Searching for a fun vacation idea this spring break that’s pretty darned cool and eco-friendly to boot? You could take a cue from Elon Musk, who’s spending his spring break driving cross-country with his kids in his Tesla Model S, going from Los Angeles to New York and stopping along the way at Tesla’s newly unveiled Supercharger stations to recharge. The Supercharger network, announced Sunday, is a string of more than 70 ultra-fast, free-to-use charging stations that span much of both coasts, stretch from Los Angeles to New York via the upper Midwest, and shoot off into eastern Texas.
By Ann BabeJan 30, 2014
Don’t Worry, Be a Happy Entrepreneur
In terms of satisfaction with their work lives, entrepreneurs are some of the happiest people on the planet, according to a report put out last week by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. The finding was a part of GEM's 2013 Global Report, which examined the special topic of Entrepreneurship and Well-Being.
By Ann BabeJan 29, 2014
Indiegogo Raises Serious Money
Popular crowdfunding platform Indiegogo unveiled plans today to continue its international expansion after announcing a successful Series-B round that raised $40 million in funding. The round was led by Institutional Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with existing investors Insight Venture Partners, MHS Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, and ff Venture Capital also making contributions. Indiegogo enables people from around the globe to launch their own creative and cause-driven campaigns, promoting bottom-up initiatives and democratizing the funding process.
By Ann BabeJan 28, 2014
The Snapchat Saga Continues
Right now Snapchat, the popular messaging app that makes users’ photos and videos disappear, might be wishing it could make something else disappear—all the bad publicity that’s been swirling around it since the start of the new year. Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg West Tuesday to talk with host Emily Chang about the Snapchat saga. “I’m not saying the Snapchat guys are jerks,” said Kirkpatrick, a contributing editor at Bloomberg. “I just think that they certainly are awfully confident considering the scale of their achievement.” He added that while Snapchat is reported to have 30 to 40 million active users, messaging app Whatsapp has 10 times as many.
By Ann BabeJan 8, 2014
Is Snapchat a Security Sieve?
A New Year’s Eve leak that exposed the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchatters confirmed what researchers had been forewarning since August—Snapchat is a security sieve. Hackers used a public security report, issued by researchers at the Australian-based Gibson Security in August 2013, to download the database of Snapchat user information and publish it as “SnapchatDB.” According to the hackers, their aim was to force fixes and send a message. Message received? With Snapchat’s slow response and so-slow-it-may-never-come apology, it’s hard to say.
By Ann BabeJan 6, 2014
Kirkpatrick: Privacy Lawsuit Won’t Slow Facebook’s Momentum
Two California Facebook users have sued the social network for violating their right to privacy—and profiting from it. Plaintiffs argue Facebook is secretly intercepting users’ private messages and scanning them for links to third-party websites, then selling that data to advertisers and marketers seeking to better target consumers. Facebook denied the allegations, saying they are “without merit.” David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy CEO and Bloomberg contributing editor, appeared on Bloomberg West last Thursday to talk about the privacy lawsuit and what ramifications it could have for the popular social media platform.
By Ann BabeJan 6, 2014
Kirkpatrick: Apple Could Shake Up Wearable Tech in 2014
What’s in store for Apple in 2014? Will Apple shake up wearable technology and traditional television, or will it struggle to innovate? Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick speculated about Apple’s year ahead on Bloomberg Surveillance last week, predicting good things for the tech giant. Even in China, where Apple’s market share is relatively low, Apple has a “great opportunity,” said Kirkpatrick, who is a Bloomberg contributing editor. “It’s a very high-quality, well-respected product in China,” he explained, pointing to Apple’s standing as a higher-status, luxury brand. “In China, status matters very much.”
By Ann BabeJan 3, 2014
Should CEOs Tweet?
Multi-millionaire investor Marc Andreessen is tweeting up a storm. Since rejoining Twitter Jan. 1, Andreessen has issued close to 200 Tweets (prior to that, he had tweeted just twice in more than five years)—commenting on everything from poverty to philanthropy, pregnancy rates to Ashton Kutcher. Andreessen’s Twitter rampage has raised some eyebrows in the tech community, with one headline calling it “nutso.” But in today’s social-centric world, it may be good strategy.
By Ann BabeJan 3, 2014
Tesla’s Elon Musk to Would-Be Innovators: Just Try
Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick was in Texas this week to interview super-magnate Elon Musk, the entrepreneurial marvel behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Their wide-ranging conversation was part of the opening keynote at this year’s Dell World, held Dec. 11-13 at the Austin Convention Center. Kicked off by Dell Founder and CEO Michael Dell, Thursday’s keynote delved into Tesla’s rapid but sometimes rocky evolution, from the electric car company’s early struggles to get financing to its current market capitalization of over $18 billion.
By Ann BabeDec 13, 2013
Kirkpatrick: Bitcoin Matters Because It Is Transnational, Nongovernmental
Bitcoin is booming. Backed by Washington and such business and Wall Street heavyweights as Virgin founder Richard Branson and Bank of America strategist David Woo, the virtual currency has emerged as a financial phenomenon, trending in news from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Many buyers and banks, however, remain skeptical of Bitcoin’s viability and worriedly point to its extreme volatility and connection with illegal sales and money laundering. Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick, also a contributing editor at Bloomberg, appeared on Bloomberg Surveillance on Monday to talk Bitcoin with Bloomberg reporter Matt Miller.
By Ann BabeDec 10, 2013
Techonomy’s Kirkpatrick Moderates CFR’s 3D-Printing Panel
It's hard to believe you can manufacture your own toys and tchotchkes—not in a factory, but in your home. But companies including MakerBot and Solidoodle are already making it possible, selling low-end 3D printers to consumers for as little as $499. The printers spray liquified powders in thousands of layers to form almost any imaginable shape. And industrial models can even "print" objects made out of Titanium, glass, and many other materials.
By Ann BabeOct 25, 2013
Kirkpatrick on Yahoo Earnings Report: The Money Will Come
Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg’s “Taking Stock” on Tuesday to talk about Yahoo’s financial outlook. “It’s the classic model of … the money will come,” he said. “I think the money hasn’t come in the way that a lot of people would like, but she has righted the ship and steadied it. It’s a matter of turning up the gas a little bit.” While it’s clear Yahoo has a long road ahead of it, Kirkpatrick said Mayer is acutely aware of the challenges she faces—namely those challenges imposed by today’s rapidly shifting market that demands more than just high-quality products to succeed.
By Ann BabeOct 16, 2013
Potential Google-NFL Deal Means Season Games on YouTube
If reports of a potential Google-NFL deal pan out, come 2015, Sunday Ticket subscribers could be watching season games on YouTube. With DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket rights set to expire at the close of the 2014 season, competitors will soon have the chance to bid on the popular sports content package, putting an apparently interested Google in good position to take control. Speculation of the Sunday Ticket switch-up came after reports of a recent meeting between Google CEO Larry Page, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Robert Kyncl, head of content at YouTube.
By Ann BabeAug 26, 2013
Kirkpatrick: Internet.org Aims for Global Connectivity
From the perspective of hyper-connected countries like the U.S., South Korea, or Sweden, it might shock us to learn that some 5 billion people around the globe are still without Internet access. Yet the Internet today remains—unfairly—a network for the rich, with just one-third of the world’s population currently connected. In an effort to bring connectivity to the next two-thirds, Facebook is joining forces with a group of mobile tech giants to launch the global partnership Internet.org, which was unveiled Tuesday. Internet.org—a conglomerate of Facebook, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Opera—has three aims: make access affordable, use data more efficiently, and grow mobile business.
By Ann BabeAug 23, 2013
Why One Ad Agency Is Moving to Detroit, and Thinks You Should, Too
Skeptics who have long since given up on Detroit dismiss the city as dilapidated, deserted, desperate. Not so, argue some of the country’s leading innovators, who instead see a city brimming with creativity, community, and opportunity for change. Detroit may be bankrupt, they say, but that’s not stopping them from moving there—to be a part of the change that’s unfolding and on the front lines of the renaissance to come. Among those innovators heading to Detroit is ad agency Lowe Campbell Ewald, which recently produced a short video heralding their move. Since it was posted on July 26, the video has garnered more than 34,000 hits on YouTube.
By Ann BabeAug 9, 2013
United Nations Spearheads Big Data for Development
When we think of Big Data, humanitarian aid and international development are probably not what first come to mind. But a United Nations team called Global Pulse is working to connect the dots between data mining and humanitarianism, showing us how we can use Big Data to digitally map the global development ecosystem. “Big Data for development” works by analyzing data from cell phones, social networking sites, and Internet commerce to locate clues about signs of distress in developing countries.
By Ann BabeAug 8, 2013
Spike’s Gotta Have Kickstarter
Spike Lee is under fire for launching a Kickstarter campaign that seeks $1.25 million of crowdfunding to support his new film project, “The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint.” Lee’s campaign, launched July 22, so far has raised over $680,000 from more than 3,250 financial backers (and counting). With 18 days left, Lee has reached 50 percent of his goal. While Lee’s supporters—among them, acclaimed director Steven Sodenbergh, who pledged a sizable 10 grand—don’t mind answering his call for money, critics question whether it’s right for the veteran filmmaker to ask at all. They argue that in turning to Kickstarter, a platform typically used by novices and upstarts, Lee is diverting money away from smaller but equally deserving campaigns.
By Ann BabeAug 5, 2013
Kirkpatrick: Chromecast Gives Google More Data for Ads
Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick appeared on Yahoo! Finance on Thursday, calling Chromecast “another major move by the Internet companies that’s going to hurt the old economy of cable systems.” While old systems require viewers to pay ongoing monthly subscriptions, Google Chromecast asks users for a one-time investment of just $35. But what Chromecast consumers aren’t paying for with actual money, they’re paying for with their own information, including what they view and how they view it. This information enables Google to better target its ads and charge buyers more for them.
By Ann BabeJul 26, 2013
Kirkpatrick: Facebook Mobile Ad Growth Shows Promise
Facebook reported impressive quarterly earnings Wednesday, thanks in large part to strong mobile advertising sales, which accounted for 41 percent of the company’s total ad revenue. The announcement came as a happy surprise to investors, exceeding analyst expectations by a hefty $200 million and sparking a 25-percent surge in Facebook stock by Thursday morning. Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick spoke on Bloomberg West on Wednesday about Facebook’s good news, calling the results a “historic moment for a company that’s really coming into its own."
By Ann BabeJul 25, 2013
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