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The Man Making Bank Off Tesla and SpaceX

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about a month and a half ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Silicon Valley venture capitalists have not always been the first to back Elon Musk's super risky ideas. In fact, as Businessweek reports, a firm in Chicago called Valor Equity run by Antonio Gracias has been the quiet, major investor behind Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity. With Tesla and SolarCity's shares soaring, Valor is doing very well and has capitalized big time on Musk's success. Oddly, its next major move has nothing to do with technology but will be instead to take Dunkin' Donuts and Little Caesars to Mexico and China. The firm is looking to become the Auto Nation of food."
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The Food And, Er, Rocket King of Chicago

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 1 month ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Tesla's stock is up about 600 percent over the past year, and there's one guy in Chicago who is making a killing on the bull run. His name is Antonio Gracias, and he runs a private equity firm called Valor. It put some of the first money into Tesla and then SpaceX and was more willing than Silicon Valley venture capitalists to back Elon Musk's risky companies. Now, Valor has gotten deep into restaurants and is buying a ton of Dunkin' Donuts in California, Mexico and China. It's your typical rockets to donuts tale."
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Start-up Claims To Have Developed The Most Secure Browser

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 2 months ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Spikes Security has just come out with something it's calling the AirGap browser. According a report in Businessweek, it's basically a browser that runs in the data center with people getting compressed video streams of their activity sent to their computers. Click on something nasty, and nothing happens to your machine. The guy who started the company was Elon Musk's personal tech guru for about a decade and ran SpaceX's network."
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The Ever So Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came To Rule the World

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 2 months ago

pacopico (802691) writes "About 24 years ago, a tiny chip company came to life in a Cambridge, England barn. It was called ARM, and it looked quite unlike any other chip company that had come before it. Businessweek has just published something of an oral history on the weird things that took place to let ARM end up dominating the mobile revolution and rivaling Coke and McDonald's as the most prolific consumer product company on the planet. The story also looks at what ARM's new CEO needs to do not to mess things up."
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The $1,000 Genome Is Finally Here

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 3 months ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Since about 2006 or so, scientists have been talking up the idea of a $1,000 human genome. It was thought that would be the price that could make gene sequencing truly mainstream. Companies have tried and failed to hit this milestone in the past. But now Illumina says it has the equivalent of a DNA supercomputer that can pump out tens of thousands of $1,000 genomes per year. The company just unveiled the machine called the HiSeq X."
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Stealing Silicon Valley

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 6 months ago

pacopico (802691) writes "A series of robberies in Silicon Valley have start-ups feeling nervous. According to this report in Businessweek, a couple of networking companies were burgled recently with attempts made to steal their source code. The fear is that virtual attacks have now turned physical and that espionage in the area is on the rise. As a result, companies are now doing more physical penetration testing, including one case in which a guy was mailed in a FedEx box in a bid to try and break into a start-up."
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Facebook's Arctic Data Center Threatens The Hardware Biz

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 7 months ago

pacopico (802691) writes "With a new PUE score of 1.04, Facebook's Swedish data center has officially become the world's most efficient computing center. As Businessweek reports, the iron inside is made up of all Open Compute designs — including servers, storage and top of rack switches — that come from Asian ODMs. According to the venture capitalist Peter Levine hundreds of billions of dollars in data center purchases could swing toward the Facebook-style designs and put a world of hurt on companies like IBM, Dell, HP and Cisco — all of which are fighting back to varying degrees."
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A Beautiful Mind and Broken Body for Silicon Valley

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 7 months ago

pacopico (802691) writes "About 30 years ago, a young Marine and math savant named Ramona Pierson was out for a run when she got hit by a drunk driver and had her body shattered. As Businessweek reports, Pierson ended up in coma for 18 months, came out blind and emaciated and was sent to live in an old folks home. Her remarkable story takes off from there to include bike racing through Russia, a PhD in neuroscience, a stint fixing Seattle's public schools and now Declara, a social network run by Pierson and funded by billioniare Peter Thiel, who put the original money into Facebook. One of the more original start-up tales to have ever come out of Silicon Valley or really anywhere."
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Tesla Motors May Be Having An iPhone Moment

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 9 months ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Telsa Motors has started churning out 500 of its all electric Model S sedans per week. Bloomberg Businessweek just did a cover story about the company, suggesting that Tesla is becoming more than just a fad of rich folks in California. According to the story, 75 percent of Tesla's sales now come from outside of California, and the company appears poised to raise its sales forecasts for the year. There's a lot of talk about Tesla's history and why it survived when Fisker and Better Place failed too."
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Better Factories Through Crazy Role Playing

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 9 months ago

pacopico (802691) writes "A former Ford executive has taken his unique brand of factory training to the public. According to Businessweek, Hossein Nivi has set up a new company called Pendaran that forces people to endure a week-long, manic training simulation that's meant to produce safer, better workers. The participants — lots of people from the tech and military fields — get yelled at by actors while they try to assemble things like golf carts and airplanes in a simulation that mixes virtual tasks on computers with real world tasks. After their spirits get broken, the workers actually start functioning as a well-oiled team. It sounds both awesome and bizarre."
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How Netfflix Eats The Internet

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about a year ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Every night, Netflix accounts for about one-third of the downstream Internet traffic in North America, dwarfing all of its major rivals combined. Bloomberg Businessweek has a story detailing the computer science behind the streaming site. It digs into Netflix's heavy use of AWS and its open-source tools like Chaos Kong and Asgard, which the Obama administration apparently used during the campaign. Story seems to suggest that the TV networks will have an awful time mimicking what Netflix has done."
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How LinkedIn's Project Inversion Saved The Company

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about a year ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Shortly after its 2011 IPO, LinkedIn's infrastructure almost collapsed. The company had been running on decade's old technology and needed a major overhaul to keep up with other social sites. As Businessweek reports, LinkedIn initiated something called Project Inversion to fix its issues and has since evolved into one of the poster children for continuous development and creating open source infrastructure tools. But the story also notes that LinkedIn's technology revival has come with some costs, including constant changes that have bothered some users."
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Top Coders Now Hiring Agents

pacopico pacopico writes  |  1 year,2 days

pacopico (802691) writes "In what was only a matter of time, software developers have started hiring agents to represent them in contract negotiations. Businessweek found a firm called 10X Management that has former music managers handling the careers of about three dozen programmers. The claim is that the coders are getting much higher rates — $200 to $300 per hour — through the arrangement, while the agents take a 15 percent cut for striking business deals and managing their careers."
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Iceland's Eve Online May Be The Most Addictive Game Ever Made

pacopico pacopico writes  |  1 year,5 days

pacopico (802691) writes "Eve Online recently crossed the 500,000 player maker, marking it as one of the oldest, most successful MMOs of all time. Businessweek went to Iceland to get the inside story on CCP, the company behind Eve, and how it helped create this insanely devoted following. The story bills Eve as one of the purest studies in economics and human nature. “It’s part game and part soap opera and part shadow economy,” says Ted Brown, a video game designer and Eve aficionado. “There’s basically a whole virtual society that has emerged inside of Eve.”"
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The DIY Machine Farm

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about a year and a half ago

pacopico (802691) writes "There's a 30-acre plot of land in Maysville, MO where about two dozen people have gathered to build a Civilization Starter Kit. As Businessweek reports, they're working on open-source versions of bulldozers, bread ovens, saws and other tools right on up to robots and chip fabs. The project has been dubbed the Factor e Farm, and it's run by a former nuclear physicist and a bunch of volunteers. The end goal is to have people modify the tool designs until they're good enough to compete with commercial equipment."
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The Computer Science Behind Facebook's 1 Billion Users

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about a year and a half ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Much has been made about Facebook hitting 1 billion users. But Businessweek has the inside story detailing how the site actually copes with this many people and the software Facebook has invented that pushes the limits of computer science. The story quotes database guru Mike Stonebraker saying, "I think Facebook has the hardest information technology problem on the planet." To keep Facebooking moving fast, Mark Zuckerberg apparently institued a program called Boot Camp in which engineers spend six-weeks learning every bit of Facebook's code."
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Elon Musk An Industrialist for the 22nd Century

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about a year and a half ago

pacopico writes "Elon Musk has just come off a pretty amazing run. SpaceX docked with the ISS. Tesla has started selling its all-electric luxury sedan, and SolarCity just filed to go public. Bloomberg Businessweek spent a few days with Musk and got a look inside his insane factories in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. It's like Willy Wonka time for geeks. Among the other proclamations in the story is Musk saying that he intends to die on Mars. "Just not on impact." Musk then goes on to describe a fifth mode of transportation he's calling the Hyperloop."
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The Plot To Get Larry Ellison

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 2 years ago

pacopico writes "Facebook IPO got you down? Fear not, Silicon Valley has already picked another darling. It's Workday, a cloud computing start-up that is selling HR and finance software. Businessweek reports that it's going to IPO this month, seeking about $500 million and that it's taking some big, big money sales from Oracle and SAP. Dave Duffield, the founder of PeopleSoft, founded Workday to make life tough on Larry Ellison and seems to be succeeding, according to the story. Michael Dell, Jeff Bezos and Reid Hoffman have invested $250 million in this Ellison attack."
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The Happy Hour Has Been Patentented - Virtually

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 2 years ago

pacopico writes "People can now buy themselves 15 minutes of fame thanks to a new patent on virtual happy hours. The idea is that you pay a gaming site like Zynga $100 to sponsor a happy hour on a virtual good. Zynga starts offering discounts on the virtual goods and notifies people that the sale is thanks to you. And then you, in theory, earn fame and goodwill from other gamers. The angel investor Bill Lee came up with the idea and has other twists on it for Facebook, Twitter and even offlnie spots like Wal-Mart. “Social recognition is what people want to buy, and, if you can do it indirectly, then that’s a win," he tells Businessweek."
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DARPA Pays $3.5 Million For New TechShops and Secret Reconfigurable Factories

pacopico pacopico writes  |  about 2 years ago

pacopico (802691) writes "Bloomberg Businessweek reports that DARPA will pay for the creation of two new TechShops in Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh. The $3.5 million deal includes 2,000 TechShop memberships for military veterans and will have DARPA employees performing top secret work at night. They're part of the iFab team, trying to make factories that can be reconfigured on-the-fly through software. Maker mayhem."
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