Waymo’s comin’ in hot with autonomous taxis. The Hustle Wed, Nov 8 Brought to you by Microsoft Waymo wins the self-driving car race… kinda Alphabet’s self-driving car division announced they’ve been operating their autonomous mini-vans on public roads in the Phoenix Arizona since mid-October, making them the first company to successfully do so. Soon, the […]
Alphabet’s self-driving car division announced they’ve been operating their autonomous mini-vans on public roads in the Phoenix Arizona since mid-October, making them the first company to successfully do so.
Soon, the company birthed from Google’s moonshot research lab will invite everyday people to ride in their driverless roadsters — because, as Waymo’s CEO John Krafcik exclaimed, “Fully self-driving cars are here.”
With a few caveats…
Ok, so Waymo employees are actually still in the vehicle during operation, but instead of at the wheel, the employee will most likely veg out behind the driver’s seat.
The cars will also have boundaries — geofenced within a 100-square-mile area in Phoenix — though they plan to expand as soon as they get their road-legs. And, only members of Waymo’s Early Rider program can participate for the time being.
Stips or no stips, this is still huge
Yes, there’s still a long way to go, but Waymo’s confidence in their autonomous vehicles ups the ante for companies like Volvo, BMW, and Tesla, who’ve all been hobbling toward the finish line.
While they’re still trying to reach full autonomy, Waymo’s moving on to the next stage of their plan…
Creating a full-fledged autonomous ride-hailing service
While the company has many plans for their driverless future, the “Waymo driverless [ride-hailing] service” is their first focus.
The company already has plans to quintuple the 100 vehicles currently in testing, to expand their pilot system quickly to the masses. And, at the conference, Krafcik announced that once it’s available to the public, the service will be “as easy as using an app.”
In other words, it’ll be just like Lyft and Uber only with no driver trying to “wow” you with their phone charger collection.
Future, meet Waymo. Waymo, meet future.
Big Employer is watching you: the rising trend of employee surveillance
The tech industry has an unhealthy obsession with “optimizing” productivity — hell-bent on fortifying their focus by gulping pills, fasting, and tinkering with their sleep schedules.
So, it should come as no surprise that employers are increasingly using a number of tools to monitor and surveil their employees’ work habits.
Noticed you’re slacking off. You good?
The Guardian reports that American companies “aren’t required by law” to admit they’re watching you — and, frankly, it’s never been easier.
There’s Crossover, a tool that monitors focus by taking photos of remote workers every 10 minutes through a webcam. There’s Wiretap, which can be used to covertly monitor conversations on Slack. Then, there’s Tetramind, which alerts managers when employees are switching between applications too much (a sign of distraction).
Should these not suffice, there are other software programs that track websites visited, measure emails, and keep track of keystrokes.
Basically, your boss doesn’t trust you
There’s kind of a creepy overlord aspect to all of this — and the founders of these technologies seem to embrace it with open arms: “It truly is Big Brother watching you,” the CEO of Qumram bragged of his own employer-voyeur creation.
“If you’re a parent and you have a teenage son or daughter coming home late, not doing their homework, you might wonder what they’re doing. It’s the same as employees,” another founder told TheGuardian.
These technologies seem to rest on a structure of inherent distrust — the notion that workers are incapable of managing their own time. And that’s just… one sec — gotta check Facebook.
One of the best online pranksters of all time is hanging up his keyboard
James Linton — better known by his alias, @Sinon_Reborn — has spent the better part of 2017 e-pranking global figures. Now, after a lazy slip-up, he’s calling it quits.
By creating a simple email hoax, he convinced some of the world’s most high-profile officials, celebs, and CEOs that they were talking to known associates — and he posted the conversations online for the world to see.
Hacking we can get behind
A self-proclaimed “lazy anarchist,” @Sinon_Reborn found success by simply guessing the actual emails of his targets.
From pretending to be asshat Sheriff David Clarke asking Ann Coulter to proofread an article he “wrote” on immigration, to making Kevin Spacey believe he was in a friendly conversation with Hugh Jackman, this guy caused mayhem.
His pranks are even responsible for fanning the flames of the notorious Anthony Scaramucci meltdown (he posed as Reince Priebus, and got into an email sparring sesh with the former White House Communications Director).
Like all good things, this too had to come to an end
By August of this year, Linton was managing over 150 email accounts, until he made a careless mistake that blew his whole operation wide open.
The Daily Mail exposed him after he created a GoFundMe page to bankroll (or better yet, prankroll), his obsession, revealing too much of his personal info in the process.
While he does believe his pranks served as “small wins for the average human,” Linton admits he finally understands the truth to the phrase, “You live by the sword, and you die by the sword.”
He’s the leader of the pack, you know him well, and Dara’s finally back to kick some tail. It’s been eerily quiet on the Uber front since Dara Khosrowshahi took over as CEO, but yesterday he posted his first official public address on how he plans to detox the company’s cutthroat culture.
As Dara K. puts it, Uber’s mantra of “toe-stepping,” which was intended to empower people to voice their opinion regardless of their position or seniority, was used instead “as an excuse for being an a**hole.”
So, after speaking with the people (Uber employees) here’s what Uber’s new leaf looks like:
Uber’s “new normal”
In lieu of “toe-stepping,” DK’s encouraging people to “value ideas over hierarchy” through “candid debate,” and “act like owners” who are accountable for their mistakes.
The company will also take a new-found interest in the goings-on outside of their corporate bubble, by “deeply connecting” with the communities they serve, and “working tirelessly” to (re)gain customers’ trust.
And finally, Dara laid down his ultimatum: “We do the right thing. Period.” Period.
Can he do it?
His vest says “hell yeah.” With Uber embroiled in board drama and high profile lawsuits, Dara’s got plenty on his plate. But, at least from the outside, he’s got his game face on. And, for the sake of Uber’s non-a**hole employees, we’re rooting for him.
Watch out Bezos, there’s a new tech exec in town, and he’s got way better facial hair.
Maren Kate Donovan is the founder and former CEO of virtual assistant company Zirtual, and founding partner of recruiting company INDIE.
“I had an employee text me, ‘I didn’t know this kind of evil laid in your heart’”
In 2011, when I was 25, I launched Zirtual, a virtual assistant company focused on saving time for busy entrepreneurs. For months, my co-founders and I slept on bunk-beds in my tiny studio to build it into a legitimate business.
After two years in business, we were profitable on $50k to $70k in monthly revenue.
Then, Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos and the Vegas Tech Fund) came on board as an investor, and suddenly we were the cool kids in the Silicon Valley.
By 2015, we’d raised $5m and scaled our workforce, which started as mostly contractors, to 400 full-time employees — 80% of them stay-at-home moms working remotely. These were real people with real bills, and their well-being was in my hands.
We wanted to do the right thing for our people, but when we switched from an independent contractor model to employing our assistants full time, our expenses went through the roof. I had naively outsourced all of our bookkeeping, and I was too inexperienced to understand the true cost of the change.
And, when our investors got cold feet on an emergency cash infusion, it sent Zirtual into a death spiral.
Suddenly, I had only 4 days to get enough money in the bank to keep our lights on — and when we couldn’t pull it off, I had to lay off everyone in the company literally overnight.
Microsoft Teams’ real-time chat lets Chad get updates from his production floor and his back office staff, without sending a single email.
And, for new employees, Microsoft 365 makes onboarding easy. Chad can now set up new team members with all the apps they need to succeed in a matter of minutes — then secure company data on all their devices without ever having to touch their computer.
So how long did it take the self-professed “least tech savvy millennial” to set up the new solution? 16 clicks. That’s it.
If tech problems are holding back your business, check out Microsoft 365 Business. There’s no IT degree or learning curve required — even if you’re as tech averse as Chad.