A Look Inside How ESPN Gets Ready For Super Bowl 50

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 6.21.35 PM Before it’s made apparent by my remarks, I don’t know jack shit about football. I can watch a game with a Bud Light in hand and unassumingly make my way through a plate of snacks and know when the right time to yell at the ref or give a high five is, but eh it’s not my thing. What I was really interested when I rolled into ESPN’s Marina Green mobile studio in San… Read More

3 Ways That The Blockchain Will Change The Real Estate Market

shutterstock_116263732 Experts have suggested a number of niche industries that will be made more secure by the untamperable data record provided by blockchain technology — including international art dealing, pharmaceuticals and international trade of high-value goods — but to date, very little attention has been given to the potential effects on the real estate market. Read More

Twitter users decry reported plan to prioritize tweets

Twitter's logo featured in the lobby of its San Francisco headquarters.

NEW YORK (By Amy Tennery, Reuters) – The hashtag #RIPTwitter became the top trending U.S. item on Twitter on Saturday, after a report from BuzzFeed said the company is planning to change how it displays users’ tweets.

The BuzzFeed report, which went live on Friday night and did not disclose the source of its information, said the social media platform will reorder tweets to prioritize those it believes more users will want to see. Currently, Twitter arranges tweets in chronological order.

The response to the news on Twitter was overwhelmingly negative, with the hashtag #RIPTwitter suggesting many users of the micro-blogging site believe the changes would mean the death of the company.

Many users were upset that tweets from accounts with fewer followers could possibly be suppressed under the new system. Others complained that the changes would make Twitter too much like Facebook , which arranges content through the use of an algorithm.

“Dear Twitter, don’t try to be like Facebook, we don’t like Facebook #RIPTwitter,” tweeted ana (@dearcalumthood) on Saturday.

“Clearly the motto ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ is something @twitter isn’t familiar with #RIPTwitter,” tweeted EldestSalvatore (@EldestDamon) on Saturday.

A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment.

Twitter has come under increasing pressure to boost user growth, as it struggles to attain advertising revenues equaling those of its larger Facebook rival.

Last month, Twitter came under fire when it announced a new feature that would allow users to post tweets up to 10,000 characters long, up from its previous limit of 140 characters.

Managing Your Startup In 2016: New Rules For A New Environment

sunrise ocean It’s a new environment for startups in 2016. Financing will get harder. Valuation inflation will dissipate. Profitability will be in vogue again. And old-fashioned business fundamentals will balance out the disruption frenzy of the past five years. Given the new investment climate, what’s an entrepreneur to do? To answer that, let’s first examine the factors behind Silicon… Read More

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tells us his successor is doing…

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stepped down two years ago this week, but as the company's largest individual shareholder, he still keeps a close watch on what it's doing. He thinks that key cloud initiatives Office 365 and Azure are progressing at a great pace, and credits Nadella for setting out a very clear vision and communicating it to stakeholders: He sort of pivoted in a way that I don't think would have been possible for me to do even if I'd seen it that way, to really talk about this mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Red Dead Redemption is playable on Xbox One after getting backward compatibility

Red Dead Redemption now works on Xbox One if you own it digitally.

I am playing Red Dead Redemption on my Xbox One right now.

Microsoft has made the Rockstar Western playable on its newest console using its Xbox 360 backward compatibility feature. You can download the game now if you own it digitally (disc doesn’t work yet), and if you jump through a few hoops. Red Dead Redemption is one of the most beloved games from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 generation of consoles. It never came to PC and Rockstar has never confirmed a native release for the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. This makes backward compatibility one of the only ways of enjoy Red Dead without breaking out an older machine. This is also another win for Microsoft as it tries to give gamers a reason to choose the Xbox One.

PlayStation 4 has outsold the Xbox One globally, and this is largely due to a perception that Sony has a console with better features and options for most gamers. Microsoft has tried to counter this by adding highly requested capabilities like backward compatibility. Since introducing the option to play select Xbox 360 games on Xbox One, gamers have made it clear that they wanted support for Red Dead Redemption. On the Xbox feedback site, the Rockstar open-world game is the third most requested for backward compatibility after The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. By giving players what they want, Microsoft is trying to show gamers that it is listening. And this could help the company capture more of the multi-billion-dollar console gaming market.

The process for getting Red Dead Redemption on your Xbox One is a bit confusing for now, and I won’t guarantee this will work for everyone even though it worked for me.

If you own Red Dead digitally, boot up your Xbox One.

  • Go to the Find a Friend option in the Friends menu.
  • Search for “RockoHoward” — this is important.
  • Once you find that user, view his profile.
  • Tab over to his following list.
  • Sort by just “Games” not “Friends & games.”
  • Find Red Dead Redemption.
  • Click on “See in store.”
  • The “Install” prompt should appear for you.

Let us know if you have any problems.

More information:

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6 tips for hiring and nurturing great female techies

female eye

We’ve all heard the dismal news that women are underrepresented in the technology sector. While women represent 59 percent of the workforce, they only represent 26 percent of employees in technology. Over time, there has been a downward trend in the number of women with careers in technology. Even if they start out in technology, they often leave the field. The question is not should we be doing something about this disparity, but rather what can we do, and how? It’s clear that tech companies want to hire more women, but there have been few tangible plans of action put forward on how to catalyze change.

To help fix that, here are six tactics that my company has rolled out (so far, successfully) to keep women on our team:

1. Value performance over politics: A major barrier for women is often company culture. The optimal culture to keep females in technology is one where performance and competencies are valued over social ties and relationships. Evaluate your culture and subcultures. Are you intentionally determining your corporate culture, or are you leaving it to entropy? Culture change starts from the top. Executives should even the playing field for women by encouraging a culture deeply rooted in measurable performance. Establish metrics and KPIs to evaluate the success of the company, down to each employee. Communicate goals clearly, track progress, and hold employees accountable. Create a robust recognition program to celebrate employee success. This will foster an environment where performance, productivity, and creativity prevail over after-hour relationships and social ties.

2. Create a social environment where everyone can participate: Socializing with peers provides for greater employee engagement. To further level the playing field, companies can provide opportunities for employees to socialize where everyone can participate without hindrance from outside obligations. For example, at our company, we host a social hour with refreshments every Friday afternoon. This gives employees a chance to bond with peers that they may not interact with on a daily basis. An inclusive employee engagement strategy that allows time for socializing will build comradery, understanding, and rapport and increase positive communication across the organization.

3. Cut out the stereotypes: Most tech leaders consider themselves supportive of women in the workplace, but sometimes stereotypes and value judgments seep in unconsciously. A common example is when a female colleague leaves work early to pick up her children from school. A colleague may roll his eyes, thinking that women with children don’t work long hours. Meanwhile, she may have been at the office hours before he even hit the snooze button on his alarm clock. Another common example is when a manager softens negative feedback given to a female employee for fear of hurting her feelings. While well intentioned, it may set her back. By not receiving honest feedback, she won’t have an accurate picture of her performance and what to improve to get to the next level.

4. Offer creative perks: Since women are underrepresented in tech companies, competition is fierce for top female talent. Aside from competitive pay and basic benefits, creative perks can really give your organization an edge. You don’t need to go the extent of offering on-site childcare or a full year of paid maternity leave. For smaller companies, these types of programs just aren’t feasible. You can get creative by offering perks like having flex work schedules or an unlimited vacation policy. Flex schedules and unlimited vacation work exceptionally well in performance-based cultures, since there isn’t always a correlation between time spent in the office and productivity. You can also work with local businesses to offer “convenience” perks that are of no cost to your company. For example, we have a dry-cleaning service that picks up and drops off directly to our office. Consider crowdsourcing ideas from your workforce to ensure your perks are relevant and will be appreciated.

5. Establish individual development plans: You can bring in outside consultants for leadership coaching or create an internal mentoring program. Make sure that your female employees have equal access to training and development. A well-thought out development plan demonstrates commitment by the organization to an individual’s growth. Companies should provide females equal opportunities for upward mobility, but they need to be careful not to promote an employee before they are ready. You can do great harm to a budding career with a premature promotion. If the individual doesn’t have the right tools to succeed in a new role, performance will suffer. Individual Development Plans will ensure that you are getting the right tools to the future leaders of your organization.

6. Support and encourage community and industry involvement: Encourage employees to get involved in industry events and organizations by serving on boards, sitting on panels, and participating in round tables. Provide opportunities for them to exhibit thought leadership. This approach provides more opportunities for females to shine externally and create relationships with potential mentors that may not yet exist within your organization. Encourage successful females in your company to mentor others. Consider getting involved in enrichment events that support the initiative to increase women in technology. For example, my company is involved in GirlCode LA, where we put on programming for young women interested in technology careers. Our commitment to these types of events makes employees feel they are in a place that truly cares about gender diversity. We are also helping to increase the future talent pool of women by inspiring more girls to pursue careers in technology.

Because the tech industry has become a huge player in our economy, culture, and way of life, it makes little sense for it to be a homogenous environment. Underutilizing women in the workplace will cause companies to miss out on incredibly talented and insightful employees. As an industry, we need to work together and make a commitment to reverse the trend and bring women back to tech.

Sarah Wetzel is Human Resources Director at engage:BDR.

German watchdog wants user data considered before approving Internet mergers


(Reuters) – The vast troves of consumer data held by big Internet companies should be scrutinized in merger probes because they have a big impact on competition, the president of the German antitrust watchdog told a newspaper.

“Until now, markets in which no money flows and in which no revenues are posted do not count as markets from a competition point of view. But that obviously goes against the logic of many Internet markets,” Andreas Mundt told Sueddeutsche Zeitung’s Saturday edition.

Collections of “big data” – covering billions of internet searches, messages and other online interactions – hand Internet companies huge power they can exercise in marketing and commerce and which potentially makes it difficult for smaller businesses to compete in those areas.

Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of Whatsapp in 2014 almost escaped scrutiny from cartel authorities as the messaging service hardly had any revenues at the time, Mundt said, adding that it was apparently still of great strategic importance to Facebook.

“How many users are there and which data is concerned? Those are the better measurement categories when it comes to defining competition in the Internet,” he said, adding that lawmakers should clarify rules.

While the German cartel authority does take data issues into account when making decisions, these may be successfully challenged in court due to the lack of clear legislation, he added.

The German competition watchdog has set up a six-person Internet task force which is working on drafting plans on how German law can be adapted to the Internet age, he said.

Mundt’s comments come after the European Union also started to take a harder look at whether the use of “big data” by Internet companies violates competition rules.

Since taking over as Europe’s top antitrust enforcer in 2014, Margrethe Vestager has stepped up investigations into U.S. web giants such as Google and Amazon to decide whether her agency should regulate them more tightly.

“If just a few companies control the data you need to satisfy customers and cut costs, then you can give them the power to just drive rivals out of the market,” Vestager said last month. Last April, the European Commission accused Alphabet Inc’s Google of favoring its own shopping services in search results at the expense of rivals, and is weighing possible sanctions against the world’s most popular search engine. Previously, the EU considered and rejected big data concerns when it approved Google’s acquisition of online advertising firm DoubleClick in 2008 and Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp.

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Toby Chopra)