Siegel's NOME meditation machine.

Hacking Consciousness: Silicon Valley’s Next Frontier

on Monday, Mar. 2nd

Is there something that lies beyond the quantified self movement? This MIT trained, former NASA robotics engineer says yes.

Admit it: you’ve used at least one of those self-improvement apps thinking that it would make you a better person. Heck, you might be using one right now: keeping track of steps, calories, sleep, even the number of times you checked your phone yesterday.

You might even be borderline obsessed with what this tells you as your phone and its wearable companions translate your life into trackable data. This is the core of the quantified self movement, and it has become a big business in the past half decade.

“The whole quantified self movement is a path towards self-awareness, it’s just right now a path towards conceptual self-awareness.”

That’s the New Age sounding take of Mikey Siegel, an engineer who is part of the “consciousness hacking” movement in Silicon Valley. Siegel—who has worked for NASA and holds a degree from MIT—and his cohort want to use technology to do more than just turn our activities into data. His work is all about turning what’s going on in our minds and bodies into something that can be can experienced externally, in some cases even as a collective experience.


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Erik Moore, Venture Capitalist, ‘Unapologetically Black’

on Monday, Mar. 17th

Erik Moore’s career in venture capital began with a hot tub.

It sounds like the ultimate Bay Area cliché, perhaps even more vividly so when you hear that the hot tub in question was destined for the downtown building once sought after by flashy former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.

It was 1999, and Tony Hsieh, one of the building’s well-to-do tenants, had just sold his first company to Microsoft. Hsieh wanted to install a Jacuzzi in his penthouse apartment – but it was against policy in the building, where Moore lived, too. After the fellow tenants ran into each other one night, Hsieh drafted Moore onto the homeowner’s association. They got the sought-after hot tub installed, and became friends.

Good enough friends that Moore invested in Hsieh’s company, one called Zappos.

At the time, he told Hsieh, “I’m not sure I have ever heard of a more stupid idea than selling shoes online.” But, deciding that Hsieh’s obvious talents as an entrepreneur outweighed the apparent dead-end nature of the internet service that became Zappos (which was later acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion) Moore made the investment that eventually provided the seed money for his venture capital fund, Base Ventures. (more…)

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Survey: Tech Workers Fear Their Skills Won’t Keep Up With Industry Changes

on Monday, Mar. 11th

Older workers aren’t the only ones insecure that their skills will be obsolete in the rapidly changing info tech economy.

That from a survey by that found that tech workers are most concerned about matching their skill sets to new jobs. (more…)

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Silicon Valley Tech Salaries Down, But Rising Nationwide

on Thursday, Feb. 21st

The average salary for tech professionals in Silicon Valley in 2012 was down three percent, to $101,278, from a year earlier.

The WSJ reporting the numbers from job listings site, which surveyed more than 15,000 tech workers across the country about their salaries. About a thousand of those were employees in the Valley.

The site reported that increased hiring of lower wage tech workers (like quality assurance ‘specialists’) that are supporting the work of higher-paid engineers are bringing down the average.

Meanwhile, tech salaries rose five percent nationwide, to $85,619.

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Youth Radio Podcast: Generation Defining Video Games & Silicon Valley Game Changers

on Wednesday, Dec. 19th

On this episode of Youth Radio, we explore the new installment of the Halo video game series, and hear about the effort to mentor talented college students of color and get them on the fast track to top Silicon Valley firms.

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Discrimination, or Discernment? Silicon Valley and the Cult of Youth

on Tuesday, Nov. 27th

What’s a post-40 white male to do to get a job around here? If “here” is Silicon Valley, then shave your head, get an eyelid lift, and swap that button down for a slim fitting T-shirt.

That’s the transformation Randy Adams underwent as he pursued and secured the CEO position at Socialdial, and he tells Reuters he probably wouldn’t have gotten the job without it. (more…)

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OPINION: Corporations Must Do More Than STEM Visas

on Friday, Oct. 19th

Last month, in a definitive picture of Congressional malfunction, the House failed to pass either the Democrat or the Republican version of a bill that would add an additional 55,000 visas for foreign-born residents who complete an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. The deadlock came because Republicans wanted to use these visas as a means to keep other undesirable foreigners out of the country (i.e. eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery program so we don’t make the mistake of, gasp, allowing more immigrants into the country, some of them from Africa). However, though the Republican version happens to be more distasteful, the bill in either form represents a forsaking of the American labor force and a further entrenching of class divisions on the backs of Silicon Valley and its megalomaniacal goals. (more…)

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Blueseed: The Community, Not The Visa, Hooks Foreign Entrepreneurs

on Friday, Oct. 12th

In Part 1 of our conversation with Blueseed founder Max Marty, we asked him to describe how he came up with the idea for a floating community for startup founders off the coast of Northern California.  In Part 2 of our podcast, we discuss his plan to raise money for the idea, and whether it will still be viable if some of the bills that seek to bring more foreign entrepreneurs to the U.S. gain traction in Congress. (more…)

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Silicon Valley Investments of 1980s Helped Buffet Bad Economy

on Monday, Sep. 17th

The San Francisco Bay Area tops the list of regions where businesses spend the bulk of their research and development funds, according to a new federal report.

The National Science Foundation study found that the San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland region was also most commonly reported as companies’ primary R&D location.


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Beware of Googlecare?

on Thursday, Aug. 16th

One of the most interesting side effects of the Obamacare debate has been the reporting on the history of health insurance in America, and how it came to be so predominately employer-based. The NY Times gave a great overview of it here, but the long and short of it is that healthcare was a fringe benefit that companies offered to employees to make their compensation packages more attractive after the government implemented wage caps during World War II. It was a tax-free benefit to employees that came, over time, to be standard practice.

I just had lunch at Google. Earlier this week I had lunch at Facebook. Guess what parallel I couldn’t help drawing? (more…)

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To Build The VR Education of Tomorrow One Scholar Turns To The Past

There are plenty of folks in the education technology field who are excited about virtual reality as the next great educational tool.



We’re Closer To Our Photorealistic VR Future Than You’d Think (INTERVIEW)

A look into the virtual world of tomorrow with USC researcher Paul Debevec.


Prepare Yourselves For The Personal VR Video Revolution

Virtual Reality is rapidly approaching a watershed moment.

Ralph Echemendia

Spoiler Alert: Hollywood Isn’t Taking Cyber Security Seriously (LA Film Fest)

Tonight at the Los Angeles Film Festival, squeezed in between movies and red carpet events, a symposium on Cyber Security is being held at the Grammy Museum.

Gumroad Rentals H

Rent Video Straight From Social Media Via Gumroad

The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.