Uber is now a massive, publicly traded company. Anyone can buy Uber shares at a valuation of about $70 billion. This isn’t bad for a company losing billions of dollars a year, but it’s a fraction of the $120-billion valuation the IPO’s bankers initially floated. It’s roughly what private investors valued it at 3 years ago, when the company made $7.43 billion less revenue.
That is to say, there’s a large gulf between how venture capitalists saw the company and how a broader set of investors on the public market see it. Journalists and analysts have tried to explain this…
There has never been a town like the one San Francisco is becoming, a place where a single industry composed almost entirely of rich people thoroughly dominates the local economy. Much of the money that’s been squished out of the rest of the world gets funneled by the internet pipes to this little sliver of land on the Pacific Ocean, jutting out into the glory of the bay. The city now sits atop a geyser of cash created from what the scholar Shoshana Zuboff calls “behavioral surplus”-the natural resource created from your behavior, which is to say your mind.
Lyft became a public company today, valued at around $24 billion, which is a lot for a company that’s never made money, may never make money, and in fact lost nearly a billion dollars last year. As the company itself noted in its SEC filing, “We have incurred net losses each year since our inception and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future.”
So, why are investors, big and small, pouring money into Lyft? Here’s how the business looks on paper.
First, there are really only two ride-sharing players in the United States —…
Thirty years ago this week, the British scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN, the European scientific-research center. Suffice it to say, the idea took off. The web made it easy for everyday people to create and link together pages on what was then a small network. The programming language was simple, and publishing was as painless as uploading something to a server with a few tags in it.
The setup to this story can be contained in a few sentences that would have made no sense a decade ago, but now make perfect sense:
There is an Instagram account called @fuckjerry, which grew by taking jokes and memes created by other people and posting them, eventually growing an audience hungry for ever more jokes. …
Today, the most geopolitically significant technology spat in the world ratcheted up a few notches.
The Department of Justice unsealed two separate court cases against Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications company, which is headquartered in China. One indictment accused Huawei and the company’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, of creating a “fraudulent financial scheme” that allowed the company to sell technology to Iran, breaking U.S. sanctions. The other newly unsealed indictment documents the 2012 theft of trade secrets from T-Mobile that took the form of designing and operating a phone-testing robot called Tappy.
The current Huawei saga has all the trappings of…
More than a thousand days after the water problems in Flint, Michigan, became national news, thousands of homes in the city still have lead pipes, from which the toxic metal can leach into the water supply. To remedy the problem, the lead pipes need to be replaced with safer, copper ones. That sounds straightforward, but it is a challenge to figure out which homes have lead pipes in the first place. The City’s records are incomplete and inaccurate. And digging up all the pipes would be costly and time-consuming.
In their efforts to influence the 2016 election, Russian operatives targeted every major social platform, but one demographic group, black Americans, got special treatment, according to two reports made public by the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday.
The reports — one published by New Knowledge, a new disinformation-monitoring group, and the other by the Computational Propaganda Project at the University of Oxford — both tally large numbers of posts across social media that generated millions of interactions with unsuspecting Americans. New Knowledge counted up 77 million engagements on Facebook, 187 million on Instagram, and 73 million on Twitter. …
The parade of Silicon Valley figures to Capitol Hill continued today when Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, the core of the Alphabet holding company, went before the House Judiciary Committee.
Like every other tech-company hearing, it was more hackneyed than illuminating, more painful than inspiring. Pichai is a polished executive who rose through Google’s ranks. He is not a boy king like Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey. You knew he’d do the hard work of preparing. It seemed likely he’d sail through the hearing.
Yet as the hearing got under way, Pichai struggled to make sense of the questions…
Think back a few years, before the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes, before Susan Fowler’s viral blog post, before the #MeToo movement, before the 2016 election. Across the nation, Silicon Valley was the crown jewel of the economy. The companies were youthful and ambitious. The culture was loose and exciting. The capabilities they put into the world’s pockets were astonishing: talk to anyone, know everything, buy anything, all with a few little taps on glass. Yes, this had unleashed unprecedented surveillance possibilities, as Edward Snowden revealed, but these were still the most beloved companies in the country. Their founders were legends.
Writer, @TheAtlantic. Host of the Containers podcast on global trade and technology. Author of Powering the Dream. @WIRED, @Fusion alum. Married to @sarahrich.