Virtual Skinny: Get Out the Vote!


Good to Know: Time to vote for the next U.S. president. FYI, voting by text is not a thing so don’t believe the ads you’re seeing online. 



When The End Is Near …  

Take that whichever you want to … But come next Tuesday, the U.S. presidential election will be over. And, Facebook may leave its mark.

When You’re Not Understanding …

Take a look at Hong Kong’s last election. Facebook helped get young people and liberal voters out to the polls, which led to the conservative candidate crying loser tears. Analysts says this could mean something for what’s going on State-side. 

When You Need Information, Quick…

Facebook’s ‘Election 2016’ hub gives people easy access to “voting guides, registration info, news video, and other Election Day planning tools.” 


There’s Always A Way …

Not being picked up by a taxi on account of how you look is common knowledge many have experienced. When ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft stepped onto the scene, they thought they were doing their part to decrease blatant bias.  Not so fast. Turns out Uber and Lyft drivers are simply deciding whether to pick someone up or not based on riders’ names. Black men are having a particularly hard time getting rides (at least based on a study by MIT, Stanford, and University of Washington of what goes down in Seattle and Boston). Women aren’t immune either. 

That’s What We Call Dodging A Bullet …

Gregory Selden, an African-American AirBnB user, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company. Selden said an AirBnB host wouldn’t rent to him because… Well … he’s black. A federal judge put the kibosh on the suit on account of AirBnB’s policies that users agree to when they sign onto the platform. The judge says this situation’s gotta be handled privately and out of the court. 

Where Is Everyone?

Struggling Internet vet Yahoo announced plans to sell to Verizon. Soon after, the company saw its women employees leaving in droves. Not a great time since the tech industry is focused on diversity and inclusion issues. No confirmed reason for the exodus, but Yahoo’s Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion says they simply got better offers elsewhere. 


Only 18% of women are earning undergrad degrees in computer science, physics, and engineering. A new psychology study blames masculine geek culture. The fix on closing the gender? Less focus on Star Trek and video games and more focus on things women can relate to. And no, that does not mean making everything about the color pink and fashion.  

For the first time ever, looks like people are accessing the Web via their mobile devices rather than desktops.



LinkedIn wants to know how much bank you got with LinkedIn Salary. Don’t worry. This is for good, not evil. The company wants to help people better gauge how much they should be making for a particular role. But, nothing in life is free. To gain access to the aggregated and anonymous salary info, you gotta share yours first. 

You’ll need to know your worth because the holiday season is here. Insta’s taking advantage. The app will now let people shop till they drop with 20 brands including J.Crew, Warby Parker, and JackThreads. Don’t be shy, hit that “shop now” button. 

The holidays aren’t just about buying material things. It’s the season for giving. Check out apps like ShareTheMeal, Donate a Photo, Tinbox, Charity Mile, etc. to give back. 

What else are the holidays good for? New Year resolutions and gym memberships. And, if you’re anything like us, you’ll never use them. ClassPass is ditching its premium membership for a la carte gym classes and three-class packages. Something to consider …

Uber’s learning more about you. The latest version of the app uses a combo of your past behavior and whatever you’ve got penciled into your calendar to prompt a suggested final destination. 

Microsoft Teams  allows teams to pow wow virtually. Sound familiar? Slack seems to think so. Looks like Microsoft’s going after the chat service with ‘Teams.’ But, Slack isn’t sweating it and took out a full-page ad in the New York Times. The ad is a welcome letter with a bit of advice for Microsoft on how to play in the space. Take a look at the full letter if you have the time. #ShadeMonster 

After three years, Twitter’s got plans to shut down Vine. You’ve still got a few more months to take in some of Vine’s best video loops before it’s gone for good.  


If some of the great classic writers were alive today, what would be their go to apps? Jane Austen would’ve probably been all over Bumble looking for bae.  

Virtual Skinny: Where’s The October Surprise?


(WOD) Word of the Day: Virtual Reality describes a computer-generated environment that’s similar to real life but not quite. Side note: Virtual Reality is all the rage so it really should be the word for the month of October.


When You’re Waiting for the ‘October Surprise…’

This week, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange announced that he’ll be putting Google, the U.S. presidential election process, mass surveillance, etc. on blast over the next 10 weeks. 

When You Thought Sh*t Would Hit the Fan …

The 10-week timeline was unexpected. Assange held a press conference earlier this week where he told us about his new plan.  Rather than letting us in on some alleged truth bombs right then and there, Assange decided against it due to security concerns.  That’s what we call an October Surprise!

When You’re Not Sure What to Expect …

If you’ll remember, Assange’s release of the Democratic National Conventions’ (DNC) emails back in June forced Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down as the DNC’s Chair. So it’s expected that the upcoming leaks may derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. We’ve been put on notice that the latest documents related to the election will come out Nov. 6 (the day before the election). Assange won’t go as far as to confirm that he’s trying to host the #HillaryIsOverParty, but, he did say the info he has is ‘significant’ and will reveal ‘interesting features of US power factions.’ 


From Bad to Worse …

This week, reports came out that Yahoo was low-key using custom software to search through users’ emails. The company has neither confirmed nor denied this but looks like the U.S. government (NSA) may have made them do it. Some people who know about government surveillance are saying that this might just be the first time that an Internet company has complied with this type of government request. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made the call to move forward on the request though it seems some of her subordinates probably disagreed. Twitter, Microsoft, Google, and other tech companies said ‘not it’  and would like to be excluded from this narrative. Meanwhile, since Yahoo can’t stay away from the drams lately, Verizon is asking for a billion dollar discount off the initial US $4.8 billion sale price.


Snap, Inc. aka Snapchat wants to keep up with the Joneses. To get on the same level as Google and Facebook, it needs more money. IPO, anyone? Rumor has it that the company’s first public sale will do down early next year for a cool US $25 billion (at least). 

What a difference a week makes! Twitter was getting ready to hand out a rose to one of its potential suitors (Google, Disney, and Apple). Rumors of a potential acquisition by any of the three sent Twitter’s stock price up.  Then just like that all three backed away. Twitter’s stock went back down. Salesforce is the last company standing for now. #EmotionalRollercoaster  

Blood-testing company Theranos has been through A LOT of regulatory and business challenges. At one time, the company was valued at US $9 billion but now – not so much. Theranos just dropped over 40% of its employees like they were hot (and not in a good way). It’s also shutting down its clinical labs and blood-testing center. 

Blackberry doesn’t want to make its own smartphones anymore. It’s passing that off to its partners. With that said, expect a new Blackberry smartphone with a physical keyboard within the next six months.

Google’s going all in on hardware. The company just announced a slew of new products taking aim at its competitors. Say hello to Pixel (smartphone), Google Home (the company’s response to Amazon’s Echo); Daydream (virtual reality headset), Chromecast, etc. 

Facebook’s working with White House officials to make the Internet accessible all across America via its Free Basics program.  The program’s had issues in India, and it won’t get any better in the U.S. but worth the try. Meanwhile, FB was all VR every-thang. The social network wants to help people emote better via its ‘VR emoji.’  

virtual reality

Over the summer, home rental site AirBnB sued the city of San Francisco for trying to enforce a law that would require listings on the site to be verified by the city. AirBnB wants a federal judge to put an end to this requirement, but the judge seemed skeptical. Unclear where the case is headed, but New York’s probably got next.  


Virtual Skinny: Inter-Webs…


Good to Know: Time to celebrate … The Inter-Webs turn 25 years old today! Still waiting on that quarter-life crisis. 

happy bday


When You’ve Turned Over a New Leaf (Sort of) …

If you’ve been following U.S. politics, then you’ve probably noticed that Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump is trying to do better. He’s trying to stay on script and talk more policy. Top of the list? Immigration

When You Still Want to Build That Wall …

Trump unveiled his immigration plan last week, and it went further than just building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He talked a lot about “extreme vetting” for those wanting to immigrate to the U.S. 

When You’re Not Sure What This Means …

‘Many people’ are wondering (see what we did there?) what this meant for H-1B work visas, which is a big deal in the tech world. It’s unclear, but Trump has said in the past that he would want to reform the H-1B program to stop ‘rampant abuse.’ He’s even called out Disney as a major culprit.

When You’re Confused… 

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley and the tech world are still not feeling Trump even with his new approach. With the exception of entrepreneur Peter Thiel, even Silicon Valley Republicans are staying clear of the Donald. They’re either backing down-ticket candidates. throwing their money at Hillz, or sitting the election out all together. #InterestingTimes 



Nope, Not On My Watch …

Google, Facebook, and Twitter are not pleased with a proposal from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency thought it would be a good idea to ask foreign U.S. visitors arriving on visa waivers to voluntarily hand over their social media account info. It’s all in the name of id-ing potential terrorists. Internet companies said ‘no way Jose.’ The proposal would spell major trouble for social media and free speech generally in the U.S.of A. Not to mention, it would send the wrong message to other countries that they should do the same. #SorryNotSorry


What to do after retirement? Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA this year. Now, he’s getting into investments. Bryant and his partner Jeff Stibel announced that they’ve launched a US $100 million venture capital fund called Bryant Stibel. They’re looking to invest in tech, media, and data companies. Not really a surprise, Bryant and Stibel have been lowkey investing in companies since 2013. 

Tired of your Spotify or Pandora? Amazon’s stepping into music streaming service ring. The service is still in the works, but rumor has it that it’ll cost around US $5/ month. Oh and there’s a catch, the service will only work with Echo hardware aka ‘Alexa.’ Now that Alec Baldwin/Missy Elliott commercial is starting to make sense. #PepRally 

Ride-hailing service Lyft wanted out of the biz. It tried to sell to the likes of Uber and for US $9 billion. But, Uber said “too rich for my blood” … It was willing to do $2B and not a penny more. It wasn’t just a money issue … CEO Travis Kalanick didn’t think it’d be a good idea on account of the Feds (i.e., antitrust issues). 

While we’re on Uber, ICYMI, it’ll start letting real people into its self-driving cars. To be specific, it’ll start by testing out 100 Volvos in Pittsburgh, PA. But don’t worry, there’ll be a human at the wheel in case things start to go left

Daydream is no longer falling asleep beneath the flowers. It’s the name of Google’s new service for virtual reality films and programs. The company’s throwing millions of dollars at the service and at Inter-web stars for content. 


Amazon Web Services former marketing vet Adam Selipsky is going to be the top guy at software company Tableau.

Dropbox CFO Vanessa Wittman is walking away from her post due to health reasons. She’ll be replaced by financial deputy Ajay Vashee in September. 

Virtual Skinny: No Judgment Zone


Good to Know: Been watching the Rio Olympics? There’s about two weeks left. We hear it’s best to stream.  


When You’re the Outlier …

Post the Republican and Democratic National conventions, opinion polls are showing that it’ll be Hillary over Trump come this November. But, app maker Ric Militi says otherwise.

When You’re Confused …

Militi, creator of Zip Q&A, says based on what he’s seen on the app, he’s calling the U.S. presidential race for Trump.

When You’re A Judgment-Free Zone …

Militi says the discrepancy between opinion polls and his app comes down to anonymity. He says his app allows people to answer questions and express their feelings without anyone knowing their identity. He says people feel free to say what they want without being judged and labeled for their opinions.


When You Need Answers …

What do you think? Is Militi onto something? Tweet us with you think @virtual_skinny. #My6WordOpinion


Play Your Cards Right…

Tech companies are going public like they used to, but employees still want to cash in on their company shares. Private tech startups are hearing them loud and clear and are trying to do right by their employees. Pinterest and SpaceX are leading the way. Employees can sell their ‘startup shares’ – with strings, of course. 



Message him maybe? President Obama just copped himself a Facebook Messenger account. The goal is to “meet people where they are.”

Snapchat’s filters aren’t always a hit. The app released its “anime-inspired” filter, and it didn’t go well. Asian users took to Twitter to call out the app for its “yellowface” app. A similar reaction happened back in April when Snapchat put out its Bob Marley app in honor of 4/20. People were not ok with it on account of “blackface” and all. Snapchat took the filter down a couple of days later. But, we gotta ask! When will they learn? 


Speaking of filters gone bad … BuzzFeed’s saying that Twitter filtered out abusive comments during Q&A sessions with President Obama and celeb Caitlyn Jenner. This all allegedly went down while former CEO Dick Costolo was CEO. Costolo said it never happened. The issue? Twitter may be treating celebs differently than regular folks on its platform. Celebs, maybe they aren’t just like us after all… 

Facebook’s on a mission. First, the company kicked off its take down of clickbait. Now, it’s changing up its secret algorithm sauce to show people more content they care about to keep them informed. That’s right… Keep ‘em coming back for more. 

Netflix’s ‘Making of a Murder’ was a huge hit. Now, the documentary’s main subject Brendan Dassey just got his conviction overturned. 

If you’re a gamer, Spotify’s got something for ya! The music streaming service just launched a new portal dedicated to video game music. Enjoy! 

Ride-hailing service company Lyft just told GM, “your money’s no good here.” It’s turned down GM’s advances to buy out the startup.


Co-founder of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, has been trying to get us to sleep and take care of ourselves for a while now. She even wrote a book about it. But, now she’s done talking. Huffington said she’ll no longer be the head EIC of the online media company. She’s now heading up Thrive Global, a “corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform.” Think wellness type stuff for corporate employees.

Bill Maris, founder and CEO of Google Ventures, thinks he’s done all he can to get the company’s investing arm on the right track.  He’s decided to leave the company on a high note to spend time with his fam.  Maris will be leaving GV in the hands of David Krane, Google’s former PR guy.

Virtual Skinny: Doing the Absolute Most…


Good to Know: Snapchat’s geofilters aka personalized filters could be the new hashtag. All the kids are doing it … 



When You Need to Do the Absolute Most…

Alphabet’s Google, Facebook, and Twitter teamed up for a three-week, experimental collabo by using online videos to counter terrorist and extremist propaganda on their platforms. The social platforms are targeting teens and young adults that use words like “sharia” and “mujahideen” in their posts.

When You Need More Information…

Islamist radicals and far-right groups’ extremist propaganda and violent content on the InterWebs play a major role in terrorism. So, Internet companies are fighting back. They want to figure out what messages work to keep the youth from becoming full-blown radicals.

When You’re Not Trying to Hear It …

Young people are saying ‘no’ to government-sponsored messages. And ‘definitely maybe’ to videos shading jihadist groups, the Taliban, and white supremacist groups. The videos are courtesy of organizations like U.S. based Average Mohamed, Pakistan’s Harakat-ut-Taleem, and ExitUSA.

When You’re Not Sure It’s Working …

Are the videos working? Hard to tell. But, starting a discussion is always a positive first step. And for the most part, the videos are getting people chatting online about the videos.


If They Ever Did That, I Think We’d Have a Cyber-Attack …

Remember that time someone hacked the U.S. Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) emails … Russia’s name came up as the potential culprit … Then, Donald Trump looked straight into a press camera and challenged Russians to find Hillary’s missing emails but later said ‘just kidding?‘ Of course you do, that was just last week. Well, security expert Bruce Schneier thinks things could get worse. Schneier says Russia could go after the nation’s voting machines come this November. He says the U.S. needs to get its cyber-defense game in order. And apparently, Internet voting is not the answer.


Looks like maps and driverless cars are on Uber’s 2016 vision board. The ride-hailing services just dropped a cool US $500 millie on a global mapping project so it can say “bye” to Google Maps. Oh and, Uber’s packing it in … at least in China. The company’s done competing with its Chinese rival Didi Chuxing and decided that both companies need to become one in a deal worth $35 billion. 

Speaking of the Googler, navigational app Waze just released a new bomb feature called Child Reminder to make sure people don’t forget their kids in the car. 

Interior design app Homee didn’t make the cut on Shark Tank, but Tinder co-founder Sean Rad happened to catch its episode. Rad decided to pony up hard cash for Homee. He’s its first investor. As they say, any publicity is good publicity … 

Fresh off of exposing Taylor Swift’s B.S., Kanye West has made it clear that he’s done with Apple’s B.S. too. Word on the street is Apple wants to buy music service Tidal owned by West’s bestie Jay-Z. West tweeted “Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve.” And by Apple, we think he means Tim Cook. #ShotsFired  

The Rio Olympics start this Friday. But if you’ve been paying attention, you know that many people (including athletes) will be skipping it on account of Brazil’s issues with Zika, its water supply, and general turmoil. Even if you won’t be in Brazil, Google’s is bringing the favela (aka slum) experience to you via Street View. 

One more thing about the Olympics … Those that are going have much to complain about including an ‘uninhabitable’ Olympic Village and maybe even worse no access to Pokemon Go. #Messy  


In the wake of the Verizon-Yahoo deal announcement, Verizon’s Marni Walden and AOL head Tim Armstrong got together at Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, CA HQ. The message to Yahoo employees was positive, but everyone’s well aware there’ll be issues joining both companies. A new company structure and potential unforeseen costs to name a couple. 

Founder of CODE2040  Laura Weidman Powers is headed to Washington. For six months, she’ll be taking on the role as senior policy adviser to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.  Diversity and inclusion in tech and entrepreneurship generally are at the top of her “to-do” list.  

Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is writing a second book tentatively called “Option B.” It’ll be about resilience. Sandberg has had to show quite a bit of it after the tragic and untimely passing of her husband last year. 

Virtual Skinny: Fri-yay!


Good to Know: It’s Fri-yay! If you’re in a meeting, you’re likely killing time on your phone. Telenor, Swedish telecom company, just put out a new vid to show how disruptive your phone activities could be if your texts, emails, etc. came to life. Check it out here


When You’d Like Them To Make It Rain …

Uber drivers are trying to get paid. They’re asking the company to either add or at the very least test a “tip button” on the app. On account of the company not paying drivers wages and all.

When You Gotta Go And Make Things So Complicated …

Uber isn’t feeling the idea at all. Its resistance comes down to fairness. The company thinks it’d be unfair for some drivers to get more tips than others. And more, importantly, they think the change would encourage discrimination.

When You Assume Things … 

Uber says drivers could assume that under-served areas won’t tip well and could stay clear of those areas all together.  BTW, drivers are sick and tired of waiting for you. So, Uber’s willing to drop its 5-minute wait time to 2 minutes and charge you for it by the minute. Uber says “we’ve seen that two minutes is usually sufficient time for riders to determine whether they need a car.” #TimeIsMoney


When You Get the Head Nod …

The U.S. House of Representatives gave the thumbs up on amending the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).  The updated version would require law enforcement to get search warrants before getting all up in your e-mails and other online docs. U.S. Senate’s got next.


The Tech Sector is here for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He’s raked in US $4.6 million from the tech sector, compared to Hillary’s US $2.6 million. 

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 11.46.33 AM


Amazon is crushing it out in these streets. Its profits are on the up and up for the first quarter of the year. The company’s pushing streaming service Amazon Prime, and its cloud business is pulling in US $10 billion this year. And, it’s also been on a hiring rampage. The e-commerce company hired about 80K people alone last year.

Twitter is the app formerly known as a “social networking” platform. It’s now calling itself a “News” app.

We feel like Internet companies are telling us to pack our bags and get outta dodge.  Google’s getting into the travel biz with its new app called “Trips,” to help keep track of your trips and make recommendations.

Speaking of travel, Priceline’s CEO Darren Huston is stepping down. The company’s board uncovered Huston’s relationship with an employee.  Since he’s married, the board didn’t think an affair was a good look. He’s resigning with no stock options to show for it. It’s been a tough week for alleged and actual cheaters. #Lemonade, anyone?

Virtual Skinny: When Life Hands You Lemons …


Good to Know:  Make Lemonade aka the title of Beyonce’s latest album released exclusively on Tidal over the weekend and nearly broke the Internet. It’s coming to iTunes soon. Side note: Know the difference between Rachael Ray and Rachel Roy before making the decision on whether to fire off emojis of lemons and bumble bees. 


When You’ve Got A Brilliant Idea …

Frustrated with public transportation? Not to worry, Tesla founder and all-around genius Elon Musk says he’s got a solution.


Please, Tell Us More …

At a conference in Norway, Musk hinted at autonomous vehicles aka self-driving cars as the answer to curbing cities’ density problem.  Think a hybrid between Uber and public buses.

When Mums The Word…

Musk didn’t want to spill too much tea but did say that these new vehicles would take people to their intended destination rather than bus stops.  Cities around the globe like Lausanne, Switzerland, and Zhengzhou, China are already testing out something similar.


When You Throw Out the White Flag …

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is stepping away from its fight with Apple.  Late last Friday, the DOJ backed out of its NY suit against the iPhone maker. Apparently, it no longer needs the court’s help in forcing Apple to break into the iPhone involved in a drug-related investigation. It simply got the passcode from someone else. This comes after the U.S. government paid over US $1 million to unlock another iPhone in the San Bernardino situation. And, that’s what we call being resourceful, folks. #MondayMotivation

When You Want to Make Peace, Not War …

Beyoncé’s hubby, Jay Z, isn’t the only one looking to make peace. Rivals Microsoft and Google are calling a truce. Both companies agreed to stop throwing regulatory shade at each other. Moving forward, they’d like to compete on their products and not by legal complaints. Microsoft has even withdrawn existing regulatory complaints. #FairEnough

When You Don’t Quite Have the Numbers …

Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper piped up to some reporters and put us on notice. His team is looking into just how many innocent people are getting swept up in the government’s Internet surveillance aimed at foreign suspects. Clapper’s comments aren’t unprovoked. A group of 14 lawmakers in the U.S. House of Reps put in the request.


In the U.S., it’s illegal to take a pic of your election ballot. Snapchat wants to make “ballot selfies” a legal thing. In official court docs, the company told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit that states banning pics in the election box is a First Amendment violation. In other words, a “ballot selfie” is simply free expression.

Speaking of elections, U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is taking his campaign to California. First stop? The Bay Area where he’ll talk business, trade, and economic growth. Trump should expect a tough crowd.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.45.11 AM

Area 120 is Google’s soon to be in-house, startup incubator, intended to stop entrepreneurial employees from peacing out on it.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t want you to text and tweet, and it’s going after Twitter users that brag about doing just that.

Tweeting and Uber-ing is just fine, but you’ll probably soon have to tip your Uber driver.

Virtual Skinny: (Almost) Festival Season …


Good to Know: It’s almost festival season … Super cool tech and music festival South by Southwest kicks off this weekend. Even, U.S. President Barack Obama is making a cameo. #Jelly



When You’re Trying to Get Your House in Order …

These days, we’re used to hearing about the Googles and the Facebooks of the world trying to bring Internet access to emerging and underrepresented areas.  But, this week, President Obama is keeping things closer to home.  The Administration announced new broadband plan for the U.S. called ConnectALL.

When Things Aren’t As They Seem …

Over the past 15 years, Internet access has been growing like gangbusters in America but is still very much out of reach for some households.  ConnectALL intends to bring broadband access to underserved communities.

When You Need to Move, NOW …

The Administration is wasting no time and plans to kick off an immediate effort – a new digital literacy pilot project. Calling all, Americorps volunteers to help people step up their computer skills at libraries, museums, and other community centers located in these areas.


When You Haven’t Over-Stayed Your Welcome …

The Obama Administration is coming out strong this week with yet another announcement.  This time, it’s talking immigration policy for highly-skilled, foreign-born workers – always a hot topic in tech sector. Good news for foreign students studying science, technology, math, or engineering (STEM). After snatching up their diplomas, they’re now welcome to stay in the country for 3 years to get jobs and get their hands on those sometimes elusive H-1B visas aka work visas to stay state-side legally. But of course, not everyone’s happy on account of the counter-argument that this will take jobs away from Americans and all.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda …

Billionaire media mogul and former New York City Michael Bloomberg bowed out of getting into the U.S. presidential election as an independent. It’s unfortunate for some, including sharing economy companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, AirBnB, etc.  The word is Bradley Tusk, who led Bloomberg’s NYC campaign, would’ve incorporated these services into Bloomberg’s would’ve-been campaign. Tusk figured since there’s no blue print to run as an independent, the sharing economy would’ve been the perfect match to get things going for field operations (e.g., hiring Ubers to get people to the polls).  Oh, what would’ve been!

Real Quick …

While we’re on the election, former HP CEO and former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has officially backed Senator Ted Cruz in his bid … In case you didn’t get that. That’s Fiorina telling Cruz: Hello? It’s me. I was wondering if after all the months, I could be your potential VP.


About 47% of Americans surveyed are #TeamApple, and we’re not talking Apple Martin aka the daughter of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and rocker Chris Martin.  Most Americans in a recent Pew survey are siding with the smartphone manufacturer in its beef with the U.S. government over encryption.



Not an astronaut? No worries, Amazon CEO and owner of space startup Blue Origins Jeff Bezos is working on test flights for regular folks beginning in 2017. The goal is to make things offisch by selling tix for short suborbital flights to us in 2018. Your move, Elon Tusk & SpaceX …

Anonymous messaging app Yik Yak is probably getting tired of always being in the middle of controversy. User names are now a thing for the app.

Facebook and Google want to share their data center designs with you via the Open Compute Project. It’s a win-win … People get to give these companies a hand in advancing Internet hardware and the companies get to keep their hardware costs low, low, low, low …

BTW, Facebook isn’t back down from competitor Snapchat. The OG social media platform (relatively speaking) just bought video filter app Msqrd.

It’s getting’ hot out there … You know what that means? Let the trip planning begin. Not sure where to go? Google it, duh! The search engine’s got a new feature called Destinations to help with your planning needs.

Instagram just pulled the kill-switch on “Being,” its app intended to give users an inside look into another user’s Insta for discovery purposes. Probably for the best on account of all its technical problems.

Virtual Skinny: Super Tuesday!


Good to Know: Happy Super Tuesday! All eyes are on U.S. citizens residing in 12 states today. They are headed to the polls to vote on who could potentially be the presidential nominees for both the Republicans and the Democrats. While Democratic candidates Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders duke it out, Donald Trump is rumored to take the day on the Republican side. Btw, Trump is already winning on Twitter. 

super tuesday


When You Gotta Take the “L” …

Apple – 1; U.S. Government – 0 … In the midst of all the drams between Apple and the U.S. government over the San Bernardino attacks (remember?), the government wants Apple to hand over iPhone info related to a drug case in NY. The federal magistrate judge in the case said the government’s argument is no bueno.


If you want to get into specifics, the government is betting on a very old law (we’re talking written in 1789 old) called the All Writs Act, which the government says allows it to require things not already covered by existing law.  The judge wasn’t buying it and basically told the government to take it down several notches. In other words, the government doesn’t have that much power.

Kind of a Big Deal …

Even though the drug case has nothing to do with San Bernardino and what the judge said is limited to that particular situation, it still raises questions about what this could mean for the mega-blowout over San Bernardino. Hmmm….

Speaking of …

Since we’re on San Bernardino, here’s a quick update. Late last week, Apple met its court deadline and submitted its docs to dismiss the government’s case. This week, companies like Google, Facebook, and even Microsoft are stepping up to the plate to file their own court doc aka amicus brief aka a brief filed by someone with “skin the game” to support Apple’s position.  In the meantime, Apple’s top lawyer Bruce Sewell is at on U.S. Capitol Hill today to tell the nation’s lawmakers that they respect the victims and their families and have zero tolerance for terrorists. But, the government has put it in an impossible position when it comes to protecting iPhone users. Sewell and the company want Congress to discuss this issue before any decisions are made.


Devil’s in the Details …

Weeks ago, the U.S. and European Union agreed on how companies should protect Europeans’ info that U.S. companies shuttle back and forth across borders. Now, they’ve released the official text of the new framework called the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. Let’s just say that this framework ups the ante in what companies need to do when it comes to their privacy policies and sharing people’s info with third parties. If you happen to be a European resident that uses the Internet, turns out you’ve got more power to bring legal action against U.S. companies if you feel it’s necessary to do so.


Get it directly from the source. Google’s now selling cardboard virtual reality viewers on its online sore. US $15 for a single and US $25 for a double. No need to make that McDonald’s run for their limited edition of ‘Happy Googles.’

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel told his investors that the app’s users are watching about 8 billion videos a day (same as Facebook!). But, the “Damn Daniel” vid is no longer one of them.   A group hacked into the creator’s Twitter account and hit the delete button on the viral vid. All we can say to that is … #Damn

Israeli startup Skyfi is trying to beat Facebook and Google to the punch on offering global web access. The company’s working on a “self-correcting antenna” to transform small satellites into transmitters around the globe.

When it comes to startups, we don’t hear much coming out of the Middle East. But, online e-commerce company Souq is changing that by raising major moo-lah, about $275 million and counting in funds.