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Four software lessons you can learn from HBO’s Silicon Valley

HBO’s Silicon Valley is actually a reasonable representation of the real thing. Here’s how to get your master’s degree in startups by binge watching it.

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HBO’s Silicon Valley is actually a reasonable representation of the real thing. Here’s how to get your master’s degree in startups by binge watching it.

The main contributors of the Pied Piper team at they demo their software in season 6.

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The main contributors of the Pied Piper team at they demo their software in season 6.

Image: Eddy Chen

Someone once told me that a year’s subscription to the The Wall Street Journal was a little bit like earning an MBA part-time. That may be so and I tried it and found it painfully dry.

Replace dry with quick-witted and funny, replace the MBA with human nature, venture capital, and computer science, and you have the recipe for HBO’s Silicon Valley. The show also adds a few fart jokes and a lot more vulgarity. Once you get past that, the touching story of a hero’s journey reminds me very much of my own three years at a Silicon Valley startup.

During the coronavirus pandemic, you might suddenly be able to stream it for no charge. As of May 11, 2020, all six seasons of Silicon Valley (which wrapped just last December) are available on Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, and HBO GO, HBO NOW, and HBO. Given the COVID-19 situation, it may just be time to binge watch the entire series. 

Here are four lessons learned in Silicon Valley that explain why watching it is worthwhile work–without any big spoilers.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

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Image: Tyler Golden

No one “gives” you money

During the dot-com boom, it was common to hear that investors gave a startup founder money to start a business. Nobody ever “gives” a founder money. Instead they tie that money to expectations. 

In the 2014 episode The Cap Table, Richard Hendricks, the hero, has an offer for $200,000 for 5% of his “company”, which at this point isn’t even a product idea yet. Instead, it is a computer algorithm that compresses files. Peter Gregory, a venture capitalist, asks for a copy of the “cap table” (who owns what percentage of the company, called Pied Piper), investment deck, business plan, and other paperwork.

Richard doesn’t have any of those things.When asked, he says “I didn’t know that any of that stuff was due yet.”

The investor (modeled after Peter Thiel), gives a priceless reply. “Due? This is not college Richard. I’m not going to be giving you a course syllabus. You turned down ten million dollars to keep Pied Piper. What did you give up that money for? What is this company? What did I buy?”

To get venture capital, even an angel, which is an initial round to build a proof of concept, you’ll need to answer these questions. Not with big words like “integrated cloud messaging service,” which the show skewers, but with a real vision.

Learn to compensate for your weaknesses

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Image: Eddy Chen

While Richard Hendricks creates the compression algorithm the company is based on, he does not know how to turn that into a product people pay for. It is Erlich Bachmann, the sleazy startup incubator host, who has to provide that answer. As the show begins, Bachmann is giving programmers free rent in his home in trade for 10% of their “companies,” which are mostly half-baked ideas. 

Hendricks, our hero, works at Hooli (a not-very-hidden version of Google), and accepts the incubator deal because the cost of rent in the Silicon Valley is so out of hand. That’s not unrealistic, as an actual one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco runs $3,600 a month, according to equityapartments.com—and that number is before utilities.

It is Bachmann, the incubator, who answers Peter Gregory’s question. In the 2014 episode, he says, “Today’s user wants access to all of their files, from all of their devices instantly. That’s why Dropbox is winning. But when it comes to audio and video files they might as well be called DripBox…we control the pipe, they just use it. That’s the vision in Richard Hendrick’s head.” Of course, Erlich just made it up. Peter Gregory is sold and Erlich becomes the third board member.

Independently, neither one of the two founders has what it takes to run a company. Their flaws are so obvious as to be actual comedy. One alternative to building up your weaknesses is to get help compensating for them.

Stop the “well, actuallys”

One of the recurring gags of the show is when someone makes a small verbal mistake. In The Cap Table, Bachman says, “a complete Teutonic shift,” which leads Richard to begin an argument about Teutonic–the ancient German tribe, versus tectonic, the Earth’s crust moving around. The awkwardness is entertaining, but I expect most readers who work in technology will be aware of a time or two that being right was more important to us than the relationship. The examples in the show, like this one, are good reminders of how things end up. Instead of winning social points, we look bad and the relationship may be damaged. Maybe next time, if it doesn’t matter–consider letting it go.

Gavin Belson, the "big bad" in HBO’s Silicon Valley.

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Gavin Belson, the “big bad” in HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Image: Ali Paige Goldstein

Avoid the big bad 

Video games typically have a big bad character at the end of each map or level. In Silicon Valley, this is Gavin Belson, the selfish and self-important CEO of Hooli. In the 2015 White Hat/Black Hat episode, when Belson realizes that a project is going to fail, he tells his board “Nucleus is on board. You have my word that if it fails to be everything we need it to be, someone will be held responsible.”

The next scene has him talking to a senior director who is saying, “Me? You want me to come back to Hooli?” Belson convinces the director by saying that he will get, “the credit and the glory. The name Davis Bannercheck will be inextricably linked with Nucleus. There’s a chance no one will know I had anything to do with it at all.”

This is a classic narcissist play of getting someone else to take the fall. The opposite strategy is to take credit for others’ work, which Belson also does in the series. I was pleasantly surprised to see the show model the real world impact, as the company gets just a little weaker each time Belson plays one of his silly games. 

People do act like this in real life, though the behavior is often harder to spot. Watch the show, learn the techniques, then watch for it at work, and you’ll never have to be Dr. Davis Bannercheck, the professor and former director of software engineering.

The most obvious way to not be Gavin Belson is to take a tiny bit of effort and care enough to learn and pronounce names properly. The simplest way to do this is to repeat the name during conversation just after you’ve learned it.

There’s four takeaways from Silicon Valley, most from the first year or two of the series. 

Also see

Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/software-lessons-from-hbos-silicon-valley/#ftag=RSS56d97e7

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Bitcoin hits 15 month high and is just the beginning of renewed strength

Earlier today, we wrote about PayPal after the payments company announced it has joined the cryptocurrency market, and allowing customers to buy, sell, shop, and hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on its network. This is good news for cryptocurrencies and especially for […]

The post Bitcoin hits 15 month high and is just the beginning of renewed strength appeared first on Tech News | Startups News.

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Earlier today, we wrote about PayPal after the payments company announced it has joined the cryptocurrency market, and allowing customers to buy, sell, shop, and hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on its network. This is good news for cryptocurrencies and especially for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin soared immediately after the news. The price of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency reached a two-month high of $12,734.80 on Wednesday, taking month-to-date gain to over 13%. Constantin Kogan, Managing Director at Wave Financial Group, chime on the news and provides a quick brief and analysis of recent strength in Bitcoin. Below is what he said.

“There are multiple factors driving the price of Bitcoin higher, with the main one being the announcement from PayPal that they will allow cryptocurrency buying, selling, and shopping on its network supporting a number of the major cryptocurrencies.

This is arguably the biggest news of the year for the industry and will drive the adoption of digital assets even further. With 346 million users, 26 million merchants, and being the 20th largest “bank” by deposits, this move by PayPal will open a new gateway for people to use cryptocurrencies in their everyday transactions. It will no doubt spark renewed interest from both consumers and banks alike, just as the news that Facebook was launching its own cryptocurrency called Libra did back in mid-2019.

It’s not just the consumer-facing behemoths such as PayPal and Facebook that are looking to bring crypto to the mainstream, but more financial institutions are buying Bitcoin and other digital assets as a move to diversify their portfolios.

2020 is fast becoming the year of crypto acceptance and we see 2021 as the year of mainstream adoption. All of this is bullish for the price of Bitcoin and it’s safe to assume that BTC will remain a strong bullish trend. We believe a year-end price beyond $14,000 is easily achievable as the market hasn’t fully absorbed all the positive news.”

Wave Financial LLC (Wave) is a Los Angeles and London based investment management company that provides institutional digital asset fund products. Led by a team of highly experienced financial services professionals, Wave provides investable funds via their diverse investment strategies applied to digital assets and tokenized real assets. Wave also offers managed accounts for HNWIs and family offices seeking tailored digital asset exposure, treasury management services, and early-stage venture capital and strategic consultation to the digital asset ecosystem.


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/10/21/bitcoin-hits-15-month-high-just-beginning-renewed-strength/

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Kool Kanya: building a better future for the women of tomorrow

Kool Kanya: A women-oriented community  In India, roughly three-quarters of employment is non-regular, either self-employed or casual jobs, and most of them have lost their job recently. The coronavirus epidemic has affected women around the globe financially. But, the situation in India is more precarious for them than almost anywhere else. Women are still suffering […]

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Kool Kanya: A women-oriented community 

In India, roughly three-quarters of employment is non-regular, either self-employed or casual jobs, and most of them have lost their job recently. The coronavirus epidemic has affected women around the globe financially. But, the situation in India is more precarious for them than almost anywhere else. Women are still suffering from a large gender gap in jobs, salaries, and education in India. Vanshika Goenka’s Kool Kanya is a platform designed to create a platform to help Indian women develop careers they enjoy.

In 2019, Kool Kanya (1) was developed by Vanshika Goenka to recognize gender inequality at work. At present, Kool Kanya has crossed over one million, providing women with a safe space for professional networking, exchanging opportunities, sharing thoughts, and asking questions. As the COVID-19 pandemic has generated financial uncertainty and economic difficulties for many, Kool Kanya is a fresh breath of air to help and support women who face job loss and seek support, guidance, and community.

Kool Kanya is a mixture of focused communities for online and offline women that help thousands of women, both emotionally and mentally. This platform’s main goal is to provide women with career advice, mentorship, and opportunities to develop careers that they enjoy and want to pursue. An initiative to help women searching for jobs called GetWork 2020, which is an online recruiting event for the Community, was introduced during this pandemic.

The Founder of Kool Kanya 

The CEO & Founder of Kool Kanya is Vanshika Goenka, who wanted to create a women’s online career group where they can be part of an ecosystem of mutual support. She hoped that this platform would enable women to learn from each other and develop in their careers. Vanshika graduated with Magna Cum Laude, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Pi beta Kapha from Brown University-Bachelors in Political Science in 2016. At a tech start-up that worked on developing an augmented reality textile doll, Vanshika began her career. She was working for a sanitary pad company when she discovered the workplace imbalance between men and women. She decided to come up with a product specifically for women to recognize the gender gap at work, and so she created Kool Kanya in 2019. 

Kool Kanya
Vanshika Goenka, the founder of Kool Kanya

Trust, a safe place, performance, and guidance are the terms she strongly identifies the platform with. The vision of Vanshika is to create a one-stop destination for everything related to the career of a woman. She wanted to create a forum that women find genuinely helpful. This could also provide them with the required tools, resources, and encouragement to succeed. 

In her opinion, as women are increasingly looking to take up freelance and work from home opportunities. Vanshika foresees the platform to expand and support more women in the future. As a role model, Vanshika looks up to her mother and has always sought her guidance and support. Vanshika likes to read autobiographies and biographies, dance, work out. She also loves to unwind with a book and a cup of tea by curling up. She is very excited about travelling, likes to get out of her comfort zone, and enjoys discovering new cultures.

The much-needed guidance

Kool Kanya offers a safe environment where a woman can ask questions, get and give career advice, exchange experiences. You can also find common ground in your field with other female professionals. Anonymously, if so desired by women. The job advice they give ranges from how to network to regular work advice and financial management. It encourages gradual discussions on related issues and focuses on offering advice on matters. The women receive experience in upskilling, freelancing, entrepreneurship, financial planning, and mental health. 

Kool Kanya has seen a reach of over 1 million users successfully over the past year and is looking to launch its marketplace soon. The problems that Kool Kanya aims to help address include providing a place to ask questions. It encourages interactions with individuals in similar fields. It also provides them access to resources to help deal with legal and financial aspects, seeking mentors, and seeking collaborative opportunities. 

Approximately 5.2 million women are searching for work in India, according to Kool Kanya’s observations. Though more women turn to freelance as a career choice, many of them are uncertain about how to start. They find it difficult to deal with legal and financial complexities, or run an independent company, which is where Kool Kanya comes in. In India, women-based platforms and communities have evolved significantly. They are growing to help women achieve their goals and invoke sisterhood feelings among themselves. From then on, these communities have played a critical role, serving as women’s career support structures. And Kool Kanya is planning to take account of the evolving economic scenarios arising from the pandemic. They aim to help women have greater and easier access to credible resources and initiatives that pay for them.

Initiatives by Kool Kanya

Kool Kanya is on the track to provide a one-stop destination for all things related to the career of a woman. You can gain anything from mentorship and upskilling to starting careers and receiving an opportunity to find jobs. They present a nurturing and mutually supportive environment where women build up with each other. This platform has carried out impressive events and surveys for mentors in the Kool Kanya community. Some of these are the “Women in the Workplace,” celebrating women achievers nominated by other women, and a Gamechangers Networking event. 

They have also done a # Unblocked series of events on Business Funding and Development and Networking for freelance authors. Currently, via webinars, masterclasses, interactive boot camps, and recruiting activities, they offer their community members continuous online support. Kool Kanya also curates events for women online and offline that encourage them to network and engage in meaningful dialogue. Through a fully vetted and validated online marketplace, they can also find job opportunities, particularly designed to bring together passionate and skilled women with trustworthy buyers of products and services.

Kool Kanya has also carried out various services during the pandemic and resultant loss of jobs. They dispatched an online occasion property called ‘GetWork’ to assist ladies with looking for some employment. The enterprise later led the second version of ‘GetWork’ and saw more than 200 occupation postings and more than 1500 applications in only four days. It was during the pandemic that they fundamentally developed the network and dispatched a commercial center for autonomous experts. Kool Kanya currently has a powerful network of 100,000 women, and is able to reach over 6 million individuals consistently. 

Nidhia Sebastian is an English literature graduate who looks forward to a career that complements her passion. Her never-ending love for language has brought her to creative writing. Having an open heart to knowledge is what leaves her with a thirst to explore the world. She believes in living life to the fullest and hopes to convey the same enthusiasm through her words.

Source: https://timesnext.com/kool-kanya-startup/

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Brazil volunteer in Astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine trial has died, Brazilian health authority reports

Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has died, stating it had received data from an investigation into the matter, according to a […]

The post Brazil volunteer in Astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine trial has died, Brazilian health authority reports appeared first on Tech News | Startups News.

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Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has died, stating it had received data from an investigation into the matter, according to a report from Reuters

The regulator said testing of the vaccine would continue after the volunteer’s death. It provided no further details, citing medical confidentiality of those involved in trials.

The Federal University of Sao Paulo, which is helping coordinate phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil, separately said that the volunteer was Brazilian but did not say where the person lived.

AstraZeneca shares turned negative and were down 1.7%.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/10/21/breaking-brazil-volunteer-astrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine-trial-died-reuters-reports/

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