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2016年04月21日 イイね!

This is exactly how I arrive in India

This is exactly how I arrive in IndiaWhen I was growing up, my family kept chickens. We always had about a dozen of them at any given time and whenever one died off--taken away by hawk or fox or by some obscure chicken illness--my father would replace the lost hen. He'd drive to a nearby poultry farm and return with a new chicken in a sack. The thing is, you must be very careful when introducing a new chicken to the general flock. You can't just toss it in there with the old chickens, or they will see it as an invader. What you must do instead is to slip the new bird into the chicken coop in the middle of the night while the others are asleep. Place her on a roost beside the flock and tiptoe away. In the morning, when the chickens wake up, they don't notice the newcomer, thinking only, "She must have been here all the time since I didn't see her arrive." The clincher of it is, awaking within this flock, the newcomer herself doesn't even remember that she's a newcomer, thinking only, "I must have been here the whole time . . ."

My plane lands in Mumbai around 1:30 AM. It is December 30. I find my luggage, then find the taxi that will take me hours and hours out of the city to the Ashram, located in a remote rural village. I doze on the drive through nighttime India, sometimes waking to look out the window, where I can see strange haunted shapes of thin women in saris walking alongside the road with bundles of firewood on their heads. At this hour? Buses with no headlights pass us, and we pass oxcarts. The banyan trees spread their elegant roots throughout the ditches.

We pull up to the front gate of the Ashram at 3:30 AM, right in front of the temple. As I'm getting out of the taxi, a young man in Western clothes and a wool hat steps out of the shadows and introduces himself--he is Arturo, a twenty-four-year-old journalist from Mexico and a devotee of my Guru, and he's here to welcome me. As we're exchanging whispered introductions, I can hear the first familiar bars of my favorite Sanskrit hymn coming from inside. It's the morning arati, the first morning prayer, sung every day at 3:30 AM as the Ashram wakes. I point to the temple, asking Arturo, "May I . . .?" and he makes a be-my-guest gesture. So I pay my taxi driver, tuck my backpack behind a tree, slip off my shoes, kneel and touch my forehead to the temple step and then ease myself inside, joining the small gathering of mostly Indian women who are singing this beautiful hymn.
Posted at 2016/04/21 10:39:30 | コメント(0) | トラックバック(0) | 日記
2016年03月30日 イイね!

Female founders accuse VC Justin Caldbeck of making unwanted advances

Female founders accuse VC Justin Caldbeck of making unwanted advances

Yesterday The Information reported on allegations made by half a dozen women working in the tech industry who say they have faced unwanted and inappropriate advances from Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Justin Caldbeck, co-founder and managing partner of Binary Capital. (Pictured above speaking about deal sourcing in this YouTube video.)

The women include Niniane Wang, co-creator of Google Desktop and a prior CTO of Minted; and Susan Ho and Leiti Hsu, co-founders of Journy, a travel planning and booking service.

Update 4:18 pm PT: Since we originally published this story, Caldbeck issued an apology and announced he is taking an indefinite leave of absence. TechCrunch has also been able to touch base with Hsu.

“While we’re happy that he apologized and we’re happy especially for the support of the amazing women and men, our strong preference would have been to not be in this position to begin with,” Hsu told TechCrunch.
“We would prefer to be focused on running our company and we’re grateful for the support we’ve received from Ellen Pao and Susan Fowler and countless other women. In addition, we thank Reid Hoffman, Josh Koppelman, Satya Patel, Mike Maples, David Hornik and other men in the industry who have also spoken out against this behavior.”

The Information also talked to three other women who said Caldbeck made inappropriate advances to them. It says these women did not want their names disclosed for fear of retaliation from the VC — and because of wider concerns they might suffer a backlash from men in the industry who don’t see inappropriate advances as a problem Offsite Backup.

On the latter point you only have to look at recent goings on at a company like Uber to understand where such concerns are coming from.

TechCrunch has multiple female journalists on staff whose jobs frequently involve talking to VCs and technologists, at times in a one on one capacity. Many of us also have stories of similarly inappropriate behavior from male sources and interview subjects — be it being propositioned via text message late at night or having to brush off unwanted advances during a professional networking event.

But while instances of sexism and inappropriate behavior are — sad to say — not novel in the tech industry, or indeed in other industries, what’s very unusual about this story is that women are going on the record to speak out against a well-connected Silicon Valley VC.

Probably the most high profile example to date of a woman who made a public allegation of mistreatment against a VC firm was Ellen Pao, who in 2012 sued Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers alleging sexual harassment and discrimination. She went on to lose the case — and had to pay costs of more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Pao is today tweeting a list of VCs speaking up against the things Caldbeck has been accused of doing:

Here are VCs who called out Justin Caldbeck's behavior. We drive women out of tech if we don't speak up. Ty @niniane @susan_ho @leitihsu

— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) June 23, 2017

Among the allegations made to The Information are that Caldbeck sent explicit text messages to women; that Caldbeck sent messages in the middle of the night suggesting meeting up; that Caldbeck suggested going to a hotel bedroom during a meeting; that Caldbeck made a proposition about having an open relationship; and that Caldbeck grabbed a woman’s thigh under the table of a bar during a meeting.

The women were all in contact with the VC in a professional capacity. Some as founders hoping to secure funding from his fund for their businesses. It’s hard to imagine a more skewed power dynamic Aluminum Windows.

Several of the women reported finding Caldbeck’s advances so awkward they gave up on continued dealings with him. Next time you remember how few founders are female and how many VCs are male, think on that.

VCs must hold the same moral position to entrepreneurs as manager/employee or professor/student #DecencyPledgehttps://t.co/s8l3vHrqaZ

— Reid Hoffman (@reidhoffman) June 23, 2017

In a statement responding to The Information’s story, Caldbeck said: “Obviously, I am deeply disturbed by these allegations. While significant context is missing from the incidents reported by The Information, I deeply regret ever causing anyone to feel uncomfortable. The fact is that I have been privileged to have worked with female entrepreneurs throughout my career and I sincerely apologize to anyone who I made uncomfortable by my actions. There’s no denying this is an issue in the venture community, and I hate that my behavior has contributed to it.”

This statement is very different in tone to Caldbeck’s initial, much more aggressive public response, in which he “strongly” denied the allegations and claimed: “I have always enjoyed respectful relationships with female founders, business partners, and investors.”

We’ve asked the firm what “significant context” Caldbeck is referring to in his second statement but have so far received no response on that. But we understand it will be responding in more detail in due course. The early stage San Francisco VC firm was founded in 2014 and focuses on consumer startups. It has more than $300 million under management at this point Translation.

While Pao remained publicly positive about her 2012 decision to speak out — saying at the end of the case that she felt “gratified that my actions have encouraged others to speak up about discrimination in venture capital and technology more broadly” — she was also at pains to underline the massive power imbalance between individuals and VC firms, saying she was dropping her appeal “since I cannot afford the risk of even more costs to fight against a firm with tremendous financial resources and massive legal and PR armies”.

Posted at 2016/03/30 10:40:33 | コメント(0) | トラックバック(0) | 日記
2016年03月10日 イイね!

Baidu acquires natural language startup Kitt.ai, maker of chatbot engine ChatFlow

Baidu acquires natural language startup Kitt.ai, maker of chatbot engine ChatFlowChina’s search giant Baidu has made another acquisition to continue its push into artificial intelligence, and specifically to help it carve out a place for itself as a platform for developers who want to create chatbots and other services based on natural language technology Web Vulnerability Scan.

Baidu has acquired Kitt.ai, a profitable startup based out of Seattle that has developed a framework to build and power chatbots and voice-based applications across multiple platforms and devices (presumably named after this Kitt).

The deal has been confirmed to us directly by Baidu. It was also announced on stage at Baidu’s developer event in Beijing, confirmed in a blog post from Kitt.ai, and also made public with a short note from Baidu on Weibo. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, a Baidu spokesperson said.

Kitt.ai has been around since 2014, but it appears that it had only disclosed a seed round of funding of an unspecified size as a startup. Its backers were Amazon’s Alexa Fund and the Seattle-based Founders Co-op.

Importantly, the company was growing and thriving. It has paying customer across four continents “and we are profitable,” co-founder Xuchen Yao notes in the blog post. Kitt.ai’s tech powers apps for smart phones, speakers, appliances, web chat, cars, homes, conference rooms, offices, hospitals, “and even telephone lines.” Yao and his two other co-founders Kenji Sagae and Guoguo Chen come from academic backgrounds, variously at Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon horizon arctic.

The company had released three products, all of which will remain operational as before: Snowboy (“a customizable hotword detection engine”), NLU (“a multilingual natural language understanding engine”), and ChatFlow (a multi-turn conversation engine that we covered here), and appeared to be built as a cross-platform service, improving its ubiquity.

Kitt.ai’s star has risen with the growing use of natural language applications, from personal assistants and other voice-base apps, through to chatbots that operate through text but also rely on computers and artificial intelligence to be able to ‘interpret’ what a person is asking in order to answer correctly.

In addition to being profitable and international, Yao notes Kitt.ai now has more than 12,000 developers using Snowboy. It doesn’t disclose user numbers of its other apps but had built ChatFlow as a paid B2B service.

Baidu — like its U.S. counterpart Google — has been investing over many years in building AI expertise and technology, not only to power its own services and whatever moves it plans to make next in search on existing platforms like mobile and computers, but also completely new areas like automotive as a new endpoint for its search technology Diamond water.

There have been some setbacks in this area, such as the departure earlier this year of Andrew Ng, who had founded Google’s deep learning division Google Brain and was Baidu’s chief data scientist. The company has, however, also been making some key hires, such as Qi Lu, another AI specialist, from Microsoft; and it been making other significant acquisitions to continue building its expertise, such as computer vision specialist XPerception.

Posted at 2016/03/10 10:44:50 | コメント(0) | トラックバック(0) | 日記
2016年02月26日 イイね!

Colombian grocery delivery app Mercadoni raises $6.2M

Colombian grocery delivery app Mercadoni raises $6.2M

Mercadoni, a grocery delivery app and service operating in Colombia, Argentina and Mexico, has raised $6.2 million in Series A funding, one of the largest Series A rounds in the region.

The startup lets you order groceries for delivery, in a promised turn-around of under an hour. It already claims 250,000 users and — ready for this — says it’s operationally profitable in the markets it operates in Underfloor Heating.

“We realised Colombians were spending 4 hours a week buying groceries in very chaotic cities such as Bogota, and we wanted to find a way to give those 4 hours back to people so they could do what’s more important in their lives,” Mercadoni co-founder Pedro Freire tells me. “We deliver their groceries in less than 1 hour, just like magic”.

The company relies on more than 3,000 personal shoppers to deliver its orders in less than 1 hour, while the Mercadoni ?platform is deeply integrated with its more than 100 grocery retail partners, which include some of the largest retailers in the region such as Cencosud, Makro and Walmart hong kong tour.

“I think it’s interesting that given the lower labor costs and the efficiencies we’ve been able to generate, for the first time a grocery startup was able to raise its Series A while generating an operating profit and having 250,000 recurrent customers,” adds Freire.

The key to this, I’m told, is that Mercadoni chose early on to “micro-optimise” the startup’s algorithms, logistics processes, and app interfaces on which its logistic infrastructure runs — the tech promise of all the on-demand delivery companies, which, frankly, hasn’t always translated into the kind of unit economics running a profitable company and investors demand.

Meanwhile, the Colombian grocery market alone is said to be $40 billion, most of which is concentrated in few densely populated cities. “Latin-American cities often have safety issues and chaotic traffic — ranked among the worst in Waze’s world traffic rank — which leads consumers to appreciate home-deliveries more than in other parts of the world,” notes Mercadoni in its press release Virtual to Cloud Backup.

Leading the startup’s Series A round are Axon Partners Group, and Grupo Pegasus. A number of unnamed high profile retail investors also joined the round.

Posted at 2016/02/26 10:45:07 | コメント(0) | トラックバック(0) | 日記
2015年12月30日 イイね!

is the scenery of yesterday

Osmanthus finely petty pleasures open of autumn, in the autumn wind howling, inwardly FangFen, with fireworks, simple fragrance comfort.

Life Jane and Jane, like flowers, reading light, love thyself. No longer full of streets in search of a missing person, no longer do too much for lithe and graceful scenery, in spare time listen to clear the bug in the moonlight, a busy also to see autumn ShuiChangTian falling yen, in fact, all things grow in the solar terms, there are some things, a solar terms, be inferior to cherish the present, as the life flower at leisure, as far as possible low eyebrow fireworks, peaceful smile university-industry collaborations.

Haven't calm down and listen to the nature of language, choose a morning breeze not dry, to listen to the wind on the safety. Watching a flower and leaves lingering, listening to birds singing, and watching the autumn wind in harvest garden, smell the flowers and the fragrance of the soil in the air, let the soul dialogue with nature, you will feel physically and mentally dermes.

Static, in the impetuous and noisy earth, like a que song lyrics; And, in this season of very beautiful flowers, is the heart melodies. Took a part, on the other side of in time, some good, is the need for a man to enjoy alone, such as loneliness, for example, such as a flower.

Every day of my life, really don't need a lot of, have sunshine, fresh air, have warm feeling can be, also do not need to remember too much, just remember that a ray of dawn of hope, with a sunset ornament, and experience every moving scenery, there are those who would like to stop for you dermes vs medilase.
Posted at 2015/12/30 11:20:16 | コメント(0) | トラックバック(0) | 日記


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