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Archive for August, 2013

Tech More: Apple iWatch Steve Wozniak
Here’s The New-Product Wishlist Apple’s Wozniak Is Begging CEO Tim Cook To Make
Julie Bort

steve-wozniak-1.png

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has a wish list of stuff he’d like Apple to make.
When Reuters’ Sareena Dayaram asked during a video interview what advice Woz would give to CEO Tim Cook, Woz smiled and said, “I wouldn’t dare because I have a feeling the comeback would be more like a fight. And I’m really a non-conflict type of person.”

But, he said, “I can talk about what I want.”

He grabbed his wrist and said, “I want my wearable devices that are basically as complete as my iPhone in their functionality.”

He also wants larger screens on iPhones and other features that iPhone competitors have that are “better” than what the iPhone offers (though he didn’t name those features).

Most importantly, he wants Apple “dreamers” thinking up products that change the world “with some new product you wouldn’t even call a phone.” (The Apple iGlass perhaps?)

Here’s the full interview. Skip ahead to 3:50 to hear his Apple wish list.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-cofounder-steve-wozniak-begs-apple-for-the-iwatch-2013-8#ixzz2dJBJnkbQ

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Lauren A. Rothman shares tips on what to wear to work in the September issue of People StyleWatch magazine!

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Learn more about Lauren’s new book – STYLE BIBLE: What to Wear to Work

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To schedule an interview with On-Air Style Expert
Lauren A. Rothman, please contact:
Phone: +1.202.631.8878
Email: lauren@styleauteur.com
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TV Clips: styleauteur.com/press
Style Bible on AMAZON: http://ow.ly/1XAzXv

Follow @Styleauteur on Twitter & ‘Like’ Styleauteur on Facebook

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We May Be In The Early Stages Of The Next Global Economic Crisis

stephen roach

Mark Lennihan / AP

NEW HAVEN – The global economy could be in the early stages of another crisis. Once again, the US Federal Reserve is in the eye of the storm.As the Fed attempts to exit from so-called quantitative easing (QE) – its unprecedented policy of massive purchases of long-term assets – many high-flying emerging economies suddenly find themselves in a vise. Currency and stock markets in India and Indonesia are plunging, with collateral damage evident in Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey.

The Fed insists that it is blameless – the same absurd position that it took in the aftermath of the Great Crisis of 2008-2009, when it maintained that its excessive monetary accommodation had nothing to do with the property and credit bubbles that nearly pushed the world into the abyss. It remains steeped in denial: Were it not for the interest-rate suppression that QE has imposed on developed countries since 2009, the search for yield would not have flooded emerging economies with short-term “hot” money.

As in the mid-2000’s, there is plenty of blame to go around this time as well. The Fed is hardly alone in embracing unconventional monetary easing. Moreover, the aforementioned developing economies all have one thing in common: large current-account deficits.

According to the International Monetary Fund, India’s external deficit, for example, is likely to average 5% of GDP in 2012-2013, compared to 2.8% in 2008-2011. Similarly, Indonesia’s current-account deficit, at 3% of GDP in 2012-2013, represents an even sharper deterioration from surpluses that averaged 0.7% of GDP in 2008-2011. Comparable patterns are evident in Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey.

A large current-account deficit is a classic symptom of a pre-crisis economy living beyond its means – in effect, investing more than it is saving. The only way to sustain economic growth in the face of such an imbalance is to borrow surplus savings from abroad.

That is where QE came into play. It provided a surplus of yield-seeking capital from investors in developed countries, thereby allowing emerging economies to remain on high-growth trajectories. IMF research puts emerging markets’ cumulative capital inflows at close to $4 trillion since the onset of QE in 2009. Enticed by the siren song of a shortcut to rapid economic growth, these inflows lulled emerging-market countries into believing that their imbalances were sustainable, enabling them to avoid the discipline needed to put their economies on more stable and viable paths.

This is an endemic feature of the modern global economy. Rather than owning up to the economic slowdown that current-account deficits signal – accepting a little less growth today for more sustainable growth in the future – politicians and policymakers opt for risky growth gambits that ultimately backfire.

That has been the case in developing Asia, not just in India and Indonesia today, but also in the 1990’s, when sharply widening current-account deficits were a harbinger of the wrenching financial crisis of 1997-1998. But it has been equally true of the developed world.

America’s gaping current-account deficit of the mid-2000’s was, in fact, a glaring warning of the distortions created by a shift to asset-dependent saving at a time when dangerous bubbles were forming in asset and credit markets. Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is an outgrowth of sharp disparities between the peripheral economies with outsize current-account deficits – especially Greece, Portugal, and Spain – and core countries like Germany, with large surpluses.

Central bankers have done everything in their power to finesse these problems. Under the leadership of Ben Bernanke and his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, the Fed condoned asset and credit bubbles, treating them as new sources of economic growth. Bernanke has gone even further, arguing that the growth windfall from QE would be more than sufficient to compensate for any destabilizing hot-money flows in and out of emerging economies. Yet the absence of any such growth windfall in a still-sluggish US economy has unmasked QE as little more than a yield-seeking liquidity foil.

The QE exit strategy, if the Fed ever summons the courage to pull it off, would do little more than redirect surplus liquidity from higher-yielding developing markets back to home markets. At present, with the Fed hinting at the first phase of the exit – the so-called QE taper – financial markets are already responding to expectations of reduced money creation and eventual increases in interest rates in the developed world.

Never mind the Fed’s promises that any such moves will be glacial – that it is unlikely to trigger any meaningful increases in policy rates until 2014 or 2015. As the more than 1.1 percentage-point increase in 10-year Treasury yields over the past year indicates, markets have an uncanny knack for discounting glacial events in a short period of time.

Courtesy of that discounting mechanism, the risk-adjusted yield arbitrage has now started to move against emerging-market securities. Not surprisingly, those economies with current-account deficits are feeling the heat first. Suddenly, their saving-investment imbalances are harder to fund in a post-QE regime, an outcome that has taken a wrenching toll on currencies in India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Turkey.

As a result, these countries have been left ensnared in policy traps: Orthodox defense strategies for plunging currencies usually entail higher interest rates – an unpalatable option for emerging economies that are also experiencing downward pressure on economic growth.

Where this stops, nobody knows. That was the case in Asia in the late 1990’s, as well as in the US in 2009. But, with more than a dozen major crises hitting the world economy since the early 1980’s, there is no mistaking the message: imbalances are not sustainable, regardless of how hard central banks try to duck the consequences.

Developing economies are now feeling the full force of the Fed’s moment of reckoning. They are guilty of failing to face up to their own rebalancing during the heady days of the QE sugar high. And the Fed is just as guilty, if not more so, for orchestrating this failed policy experiment in the first place.

This article was originally published by Project Syndicate. For more from Project Syndicate, visit their new Web site, and follow them on Twitter orFacebook.

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MICROSOFT INSIDER: ‘It’s A Total Shocker… Something Big Must Have Changed’

steve ballmer

As everyone outside of Microsoft tries to figure out what just happened at the top of the company, Microsoft insiders are having the same conversation.One former senior executive who has been in touch with other senior executives at the company this morning had this to say:

It’s a total shocker. To me and to friends inside the company. The reorg lined everything up behind Steve and people felt he would stay on to see it through.

Something big must have changed, obviously.

I asked what the change might be. The former exec didn’t know, but he speculated:

I really don’t know. It’s a huge surprise.  The people I’ve spoken to don’t know what caused the bit to flip either.

There is a massive technology shift happening, the world of cloud and devices, and whoever leads the company next needs to paint an inspiring vision of the future for Microsoft.  There are amazingly talented people at the company, who will respond to great leadership.

Perhaps Bill [Gates] and the board have come to believe the company should be split into two, consumer and enterprise? I’m not sure anyone could do a better job than Steve under current circumstances. The problem is beyond hard, it may be intractable. Not sure how anyone can manage both an enterprise business and a consumer business when both are changing so fast.

The last sentiment–that the problem is “beyond hard” and “may be intractable”–is one that other long-time Microsoft observers share.

The technology wave that Microsoft surfed almost perfectly for three decades has run its course, and it has been replaced by new waves that Microsoft no longer dominates.

The transformation that Steve Ballmer was trying to oversee, of a packaged software company to a “devices and services company” is as radical as any corporate transformation ever attempted.

The former executive added that he considers Steve Ballmer an “amazing man” and that Microsoft’s next CEO will not likely be hired with the aim of doing what Ballmer is doing but better. Rather, the former exec says, there will likely be “big, big changes ahead.”

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These are the thoughts and opinions written by the spotflux team and our colleagues.

Debunking the Myths of VPN Service Providers

August 20, 2013

Think your VPN provider is looking out for your security and privacy? A lot of snake oil is sold in the VPN service industry these days. The terms “privacy” and “security” are tossed around fairly loosely without much regard for what they actually mean. In fact this is why the team at Spotflux doesn’t like our service to be called a VPN, its akin to calling Facebook a website – what we do is so far beyond a VPN service that it just doesn’t compare. In this post we’re going to address some of the ridiculous snake oil being sold to consumers in the VPN service space and try to help you understand some  important nuances to consider when looking for a company that will protect your privacy and security online.

snakeoil

Snake Oil Concoction #1 – VPNs make you private because they Hide Your IP Address

Most VPN providers do indeed “mask” your ip address by re-routing traffic through their servers. Your IP address does indeed look different and this may be good enough to trick some GEO-IP based filters into thinking you are somewhere else than your actual location. The myth however is that you are somehow “more private” just by having a different IP address – this couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s take a look at an example… read more …

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FENWICK & WEST

AUTHORS:
Barry J. Kramer
Michael J. Patrick

SECOND QUARTER 2013

Venture Capital Survey

Set forth below is the link to our 2Q13 venture survey.
Second Quarter 2013 Silicon Valley VC Survey

We hope you find this information useful and would be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding the survey.

Please note that in an effort to provide additional value to our readers, we are including links to some of the most interesting articles and reports that we reference in our survey.

In this regard we would like to express our appreciation to the Venture Capital Journal for allowing us to provide to our readers certain of their articles that are behind a “pay wall” and that would otherwise require a subscription to read. For more information about the Venture Capital Journal, please click link.

Regards,
Barry Kramer
Michael Patrick

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AngelList’s Ravikant makes urgent plea for changes in new crowdfunding rules

Vicki Thompson

Naval Ravikant grew AngelList into the world’s™s foremost meeting place for founders and funders. Now he is laying plans to broaden its mission and make money.

Senior Technology Reporter- Silicon Valley Business Journal

AngelList co-founder and CEO Naval Ravikant sees potential disaster in proposed new crowdfunding regulations and is urging others on his founders and funders networking site to speak up.

In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission this week and an interview with me on Friday, Ravikant warned that the agency’s new Form D filing rules set to take effect on Sept. 23 could bring “disastrous unintended consequences for the startup community,”

“The proposed rules appear to be tailored to how Wall Street raises funds, not the startup community,”Ravikant said in his letter.

“My sense is that the SEC knows that this is an issue and is not going to put into effect some of these rules,” he told me in an interview late on Friday.

The agency last month voted to allow startups and private investment groups to openly solicit money, with restrictions that Ravikant and others in the angel investor community are very unhappy about. Ravikant’s letter was sent when the agency solicited feedback before enacting the new rules.

One of Ravikant’s biggest concerns centers around the proposed penalties. He worries that proposed sanctions may be too draconian, resulting in severe punishment for unintended violations. He notes that violating the rules could result in startups being banned from fundraising for a year and that AngelList could get swept up in those penalties.

“Rules that may be easy for Wall Street are a death sentence for startups. They are easy to break accidentally and the penalty for noncompliance is severe,” Ravikant wrote.

Businesses like AngelList, incubators, and VCs that surround startups are built to avoid getting in the way of a startup’s autonomy, Ravikant wrote. “they should not be penalized for activities that a startup undertakes on their own that the business can’t control.”

He also urges the SEC not to reduce the costs of compliance and keep filings confidential.

“Startups often want to control the timing of their financing announcement and prefer not to reveal amounts raised for competitive reasons,” he wrote. “If more of the Form D information was confidential rather than public, compliance rates would jump dramatically.”

Ravikant proposes that third parties like AngelList be allowed to make SEC filings on behalf of startups and serve as a repository where startups can update information about their fundraising.

The Angel Capital Association, which represents 200 investor groups and 10,000 accredited investors across the country, last month also strongly protested the new rules.

AngelList has 100,000 startups and about 20,000 accredited investors on its platform and Ravikant’s views are quite influential among them.

The new rules are coming to implement the federal JOBS Act, which was passed and signed into law more than a year ago.

They retain the requirement that only accredited investors (those with a liquid net worth of more than $1 million) can make equity investments in private companies. They also require private companies and funds to document that their investors meet that net worth standard.

The new rules also require anybody doing a general solicitation to file a Form D with the SEC at least 15 days before starting their campaign. They must file a followup within 30 days of ending the solicitation.

Ravikant wrote in his letter that the requirements probably won’t hinder startups that can afford the bankers and lawyers that will be needed to comply.

But, he warns that “the same rules applied to early stage startups will prevent them from forming. Since young companies are responsible for most of the job growth in the US, we believe this is against the spirit of the JOBS Act.”

“Startups are constantly raising money, sometimes before they have even hired a lawyer,” Ravikant told me. “With tech startups, it’s all loose-goosie. You raise money as you go, often from friends, family and investors. These companies will trip all over these rules and break them left and right.”

Ravikant’s specific complaints:

1” “The requirement to file a Form D 15 days prior to the financing, or at the close of financing even if a financing doesn’t close, is meaningless in our world. Startups are always financing.”

2” “The requirement to formally file all written materials provided to investors with the SEC is not feasible in a world where the materials are updated continuously.”

3” “The requirement to include disclosures every time you mention a financing doesn’t™t work for most places those appear (try tweeting boilerplate legal text in 140 characters, or requiring reporters to include it in stories).”

4” “These technical legal requirements place burdens on startups at a stage before they may have legal advice, and the very severe penalty for non-compliance (not fundraising for a year) is a death penalty for a not-yet-profitable business.”

Click here to read the profile of Naval Ravikant and AngelList that was the July 26 cover story in the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Click here to subscribe to TechFlash Silicon Valley, the free daily email newsletter about founders and funders in the region.

Cromwell Schubarth is the Senior Technology Reporter at the Business Journal. His phone number is 408.299.1823.

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