2020 Predictions

I have learned, grown, and failed a lot this year. If folks would like me to write about that I would be happy to. For this post, instead of reflecting on this past year, I wanted to share 10 predictions I have for the upcoming year(s).

  1. People will focus on building stronger relationships with fewer people
  2. There will be less owning and more sharing
  3. Augmented reality will hit a tipping point
  4. There will be a boom in silvertech (technology for seniors)
  5. PCP(primary care physicians) will utilize telemedicine more in order to be able to accept new patients.
  6. Career “sprinting” will become more common… ex: a cycle of people working hard for 2 years, and then taking a 3 month break
  7. Deepfakes will become more prominent in popculture/politics
  8. Companies will create their own virtual celebrities to be their influencers
  9. Companies will provide consumers with more privacy/security transparency
  10. With the paradigms shift in gender, new technology will emerge to support new gender norms
Cheers to a happy & healthy 2020 filled with risks (and hopefully reward)🎉

What are your predictions?

NY State SHIELD Act

I recently read the Privacy & Cybersecurity Brief From Lowenstein and decided to provide a high level overview of the information that was in it regaurding the NY State SHIELD Act.

New York on Verge of Passing Landmark Data Security Legislation

  • This new legislation is called SHIELD(Stop Hacks & Improve Electronic Data Security) and would apply to any person or entity that processes the personal info of a NY state resident, even if the person or entity is not in NY.
  • The Act would broaden the definition of protected data to include biometric data, email, password or security questions and answers.
  • The Act would expand the definition of data breach to include unauthorized access to private information.
  • If an individual or company were to fail to comply with therequirements of the act, there could be a fine as high as $5,000 per violation or $20 per notification failure, which could get as high as a $250,000 fine.

Entities can show compliance with the act by demonstrating compliance with GLBA, HIPAA and other NY state data security regulations

I am regularly asked what the average Internet user can do to ensure his security. My first answer is usually ‘Nothing; you’re screwed’.

Bruce Schneier

K for Thousand?

We use B to represent billion, M to represent million, so why do we use K to represent thousand?

It is because of the Greeks and the metric system. There is a Greek word χίλια that means thousand. Antoine Lavoisier, a French nobleman who is known as the father of chemistry, adopted this Greek term in the research he conducted in 1795. Later on, in 1799 during the French Revolution, the French adopted the metric system which was based on the kilogram and the meter. The kilogram got its name from χίλια and was used to measure 1,000.

Long story short, we, in fact, do use the metric system in the U.S– we use K to represent thousand because of the metric kilo.

*Keep in mind that the Greek letter χ is pronounced with a ‘k’ sound in english*

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.

Stephen Hawking

Top Tools Being Used in the Union Square Ventures Network

This summer I had the pleasure of interning at USV this summer to support the Network Team.

Through my community management work in Slack as well as in attending USV network events, I noticed that one of the most common questions that comes up in the network is what tools are used by other companies.

To embark on this research project, we gathered over 450 software tools used across 64 companies, representing approximately 86% of our active portfolio. We began by tagging each tool based on department, the type of tool, and then explored how company size impacted usage.

Below are some observations and trends that we discovered.

Types of Tools Reported

As you can see below, developer tools ranked #1 among the categories of reported tools for this project, with 164 total tools reported. We also saw large numbers of tools used for communication, business intelligence, and design

Most Popular Tools

The top reported tools were G Suite, Slack, GitHub, Jira, Sketch, Salesforce, DropBox, AWS, Excel, and InVision. These top tools (in particular G Suite, Slack, and GitHub) were used across multiple departments or tended to skew toward developer tools.

Developer Tools in the Network

The chart below show the most popular developer tools overall in the network. After Github and Jira, there was a drop off which may be because there are many free/open source options, causing individuals and companies to explore and favor different ones.

Size Breakouts

Company size creates a stratification among developer, hiring, and communication tools. As an example of how this plays out in engineering, you can see that all of the size brackets use either Github or Jira, but after that, the differentiation develops. For example, smaller companies are less likely to use security software. On the communication side, smaller companies are more likely to use internal tools like Calendly, GoToMeeting, and Rocketchat, whereas external tools including Docusign, Facebook, Medium, Sendgrid, and Twitter persisted across all size brackets.

As for hiring tools, LinkedIn, Lever, and Greenhouse are the most popular in the network, but these are primarily only used by companies with more than 30 employees. Tools like Guru, Textio, DiscoverOrg, and Checkr were used with companies larger than 50 employees, while Jobbatical, Entelo, Jazz, and AngelList were used by our smaller companies.

Market Dominant Tools by Category

While AWS still appears to be the favored cloud platform used among our portfolio, Google Cloud in particular appears to be gaining more traction. As you can see below, ¼ of companies are using either Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.

Other tools with dominant market share include Slack and Salesforce. While 92% of our companies report using Slack, some companies opted to use Hipchat (recently acquired by Slack), Beekeeper, and Rocket Chat.

For sales management CRMs, 42% of our companies use Salesforce, however, some used alternatives like Google Streak, Insightly, or Close.io. It does not seem as though size played a role in a company’s choice in any of these circumstances.

Closing Thoughts

One of the most fun parts about working on this project was learning about new tools used in the network. In fact, 52% of the tools reported were used exclusively by one company in our portfolio, which exposed a few new tools like Jell and Perdoo (both workflow management tools) as well as Sapling (an HR platform built for G Suite). It was also great to see how 78% of our portfolio companies use tools built by our portfolio companies (including Code Climate and Cloudflare, among others.)

While the average company in our portfolio is using 7 tools, one of our larger companies reported using 77 different tools, which made me realize that transitioning between tools may be a source of growing pains for startups. As our portfolio continues to expand, we hope that by aggregating and sharing this list internally (we’re even building a Slack Bot for our network to search these tools), we can make it easier to choose the best tool for each use case.

Venture Capital Acronyms

This summer I was an intern at a venture capital (vc) firm. Venture capital firms have a Monday meeting, each firm does these a little differently, but in a general sense these meetings are used to discuss how everything is going. During Monday meetings I would take notes of all of the acronyms that were used that I didn’t know what they meant.

Below is a compiled list of these acronyms along with what they mean. If you are considering entering the world of venture capital I recommend familiarizing yourself with as many of these acronyms as possible. Remember, this is a minute glimpse into just the acronyms used in venture capital.

ARPU: Average Revenue Per User

ARR: Annual Recurring Revenue

ATS: Applicant Tracking System

AUM: Assets Under Management

CPG: Consumer Packaged Goods

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

D&I: Diversity and Inclusion

DAPTS: Domestic Asset Protection Trusts

GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

GMV: Gross Merchandise Value

HSM: Hardware Security Model

IPFS: InterPlanetary File System

ISP: Internet Service Provider

KPI: Key Performance Indicator

LP: Limited Partner

MOM: Month Over Month

NAV: Net Asset Value

ROI: Return on Investment

SEC: Securities and Exchange Commission

SOI: Statement of Investment

TCR: Token Curated Registry

TVPI: Total Value to Paid-In

YOY: Year Over Year

Y Combinator Female Founders Conference

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Y Combinator’s female founders event.

For those of you how don’t know, Y Combinator was founded in 2005 and has invested in over 1,800 companies. Instead of investing a lot of money in a few companies, YC decided to invest a little in a lot of companies and help them along the way. This concept is what we now call an accelerator.

“Y Combinator created a new model for funding early stage startups.Twice a year we invest a small amount of money ($120k) in a large number of startups.The startups move to Silicon Valley for 3 months, during which we work intensively with them to get the company into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected, invite-only audience.But YC doesn’t end on Demo Day. We and the YC alumni network continue to help founders for the life of their company, and beyond.”

The event started off with Jessica Livingston speaking very candidly to the audience. She was one of the four founders of YC — the only one without a technical background, and the only female. She told us her hats she wore as a founder. One of her roles in founding YC was being a therapist to the teams of these small companies. When you are founding a company, you are putting your life on hold and focusing on turning a crazy idea you had into a company. Making this jump into uncertainty requires a hand to hold — Jessica was that hand for YC companies. Jessica also had a good judge of character. After companies would pitch to YC, the three male founders would all turn to Jessica at the end and ask if they should invest. She could read the personalities of the founders better than the men and made sure YC was sticking to their zero asshole policy(this policy no longer exists).

Aside from sharing stories with the audience about the early days of YC, Jessica shared 9 points of advance.

  1. There is no one mold for a successful founder.
  2. Do what you’re genuinely interested in.
  3. Ignore mainstream opinion.
  4. Find a cofounder with complementary skills, same moral compass.
  5. Make something people want.
  6. Don’t let rejection distract you.
  7. Start small so you can be nimble.
  8. It’s ok not to have gone to an elite college
  9. Be intrepid

All of these points are important, but there were three that really resonated with me. The first is that “there is no one mold for a successful founder”. I loved this point because I also think that there is no one mold for a successful person. Success looks different to everyone. I also believe that sometimes being so far off from the mold can work in one’s favor. The second is that “it’s ok not to have gone to an elite college”; I have free college in the state of Florida, and I chose free college over an elite college. Despite me consciously making this decision I am often self conscious that I am inferior to another person because of the name of their University. Having the idea reaffirmed that it’s what you do with your education, not where you go, was very comforting for me. The final point was to be intrepid, this means to be fearless and adventurous. I have many fears and intentionally make myself face them. I believe that in order to constantly be evolving as individuals we must seek change when we become comfortable.

I will leave you with the a quote I live my life by.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 340,876+ people.

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A Concept More Primitive Than The Cavemen

The title is a lie.

This concept, however, is a primitive concept in Java. Go ahead and grab a cup of Java, before we dive into the concept of primitive data types.

Boolean, char, byte, short, int, long, float, and double are all primitive data types in Java. These are all words that Java knows. These values are stored in the stack, as opposed to the heap. Variables that are on the stack are accessible directly from memory, and can run very fast. Objects are on the heap, and take more time to access.

Every primitive type in Java has a wrapper class.

  • short has Short
  • int has Integer
  • long has Long
  • boolean has Boolean
  • char has Character
  • float has Float
  • double has Double
  • byte has Byte

The wrappers have methods attached to them that the primitive types do not have. These include…

Image from tutorialspoint.com
Image from tutorialspoint.com
Image from tutorialspoint.com

Wrapper classes are primitives are also stored differently in memory. The wrapper classes are stored on the stack as a reference to an object on the heap.

class PrimitivePost
{
public static void main(String args[])
{
//declearing a boolean, this returns true or false
boolean t = true;
// declaring character
char a = ‘G’;
// declaring byte
byte b = 4;
// declaring short
short s = 56;
// declaring int 
int i=89;
//declaring a long
long l = 244843984;
// declaring a float — for float use ‘f’ as suffix
float f = 4.7333434f;

// declaring a double — default fraction value is double in java
double d = 4.355453532;


System.out.println(“boolean: “ + t);
System.out.println(“char: “ + a);
System.out.println(“byte: “ + b);
System.out.println(“short: “ + s);
System.out.println(“int: “ + i);
System.out.println(“long: “ + l);
System.out.println(“float: “ + f);
System.out.println(“double: “ + d);
}
}

Your Toolbox

During my internship search this summer, I decided to not exclusively look for programming internships. Weird for a computer science major, I know, but I did this because I am interested in many other things outside of programming. I ran into one common question from my non programming internship interviewers — they would ask me “well, you know this isn’t a programming internship, will that be an issue for you? I only ask because in the past we have had interns who were studying computer science and all they wanted to do was program.”

This is how I answered that question when I was presented with it…

We all have a toolbox. If you are studying computer science one the tools in your box may be programming. If you are a blogger another tool in your box could be writing. Tools in your box can even be your ability to talk to others or constantly pick the perfect Instagram filter.

For example I am a programmer, so one of the skills in my box is programming. However, this does not mean that I can only search for jobs that require me to program. Programming to me is a hammer. A hammer is a very useful tool, but every project I work on, or want to work on, may not need a hammer. Some projects need wrenches, saws, etc.

I have accepted a non programming internship. I will be working on the digital strategy, and chatbot curation for a startup in NYC. During the school year (9.5 months), I work on making my programming skills the best that they can be. I think it is important to have to fine-tune my other skills, which is why I blog and accepted a non technical internship.

It’s important to realize that our skills are tools in our toolbox and not what define us. We are allowed to jump from tool to tool as necessary.

Revolutionizing Education

During summer break, I like to use online classes to keep my programming skills up to par.

I am a strong believer that if you don’t use your skills, you lose your skills.

I am able to learn effectively in a classroom setting, and use online classes as a supplement. Many students, however, are unable to thrive in a typical brick and mortar classroom.

Over winter break I redesigned a website for an online school, Greenways Academy. While working with their team I realized how beneficial online education is. There are many kids that would not get their high school diploma if there weren’t online alternatives.

Kids that benefit from online education are not limited to students that are traveling the world, and competitive athletes. Many students with social anxieties and learning disabilities benefit from an online education.

With online classes, you are also not limited. I would have thought that online school would only offer core classes, but they provide a plethora of interesting and unique online classes — classes that were not offered to me in a brick and mortar setting.

I recently transferred college, because I wanted a more personalized education. At my previous school I was a number, at my new school I am a student. Online education can give these benefits to their students.

People often discuss the drawbacks of technology. While I do believe that technology can be controversial, I know that it is also helpful and amazing. Some technology is so integrated into our everyday lives that we overlook how helpful it can be. Online education, to me, is one of the amazing ways that technology benefits us.

My Initial Thoughts on Gmail’s “Smart Compose”

Have you ever received an email that seemed rather generic?The answer is most likely yes.

When people reach out and ask for jobs they use copy and paste as their friend. I, and many others, would agree that this comes back to bite them in the butt. People respond to other people. The more you can relate to someone and show your similarities, the better.

Online communication already takes away part of our ability to convey emotions — body language, voice tone, and facial reactions — to those we are corresponding with.

I think that Google adding auto complete to gmail hinders the communication process. Auto complete makes our communication more generic and less human. Removing the person on the other side removes the sense of urgency from the email as well. Have you ever responded to an email that was sent from a bot or an automated messaging system?

In the Google I/O keynote, the CEO of Google even mentioned that the new auto complete feature enabled him to send out more emails. This comment was made to have people think that they will be able to communicate with their team more than they currently are. I view this as people ignoring more and more emails since the person on the other side is being further removed.

I hope I am wrong, and I hope that this new innovation is helpful.

I love advancements in technology and making my life as easy as possible, but I still send thank you cards and prefer talking in person over FaceTime. I value the human aspect of communicating, and appreciate the time that another person takes to communicate back to me.

Prove me wrong. In the comments tell my why auto complete in Gmail is a good advancement.