Odds and Ends 

In venture capital, its still the age of the unicorn

Howie Xu At the time, the piece defined a new breed of startup — the $1 billion privately held company. When Lee did her first count, there were 39 “unicorns”; an improbable, but not impossible number.. Today, the once-scarce unicorn has become a global herd with 376 companies on the roster and counting. But the proliferation of unicorns begs raises certain questions. Is this new breed of unicorn artificially created? Could these magical companies see their valuations slip and fall out of the herd? Does this indicate an irrational exuberance…

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Odds and Ends 

A Twitter employee groomed by the Saudi government prompted 2015 state-sponsored hacking warning

An explosive report in The New York Times this weekend sheds new light on the apparent targeting of Twitter accounts by “state-sponsored actors” three years ago. It comes in the wake of the confirmed death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Friday, two weeks after he disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi had long been a target of a Saudi troll army, according to the report, which employed hundreds of people to stifle the speech of government critics, like Khashoggi, who left the kingdom to live and…

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Odds and Ends 

Inside the pay-for-post ICO industry

In a world where nothing can be trusted and fake news abounds, ICO and crypto teams are further muddying the waters by trying – and often failing – to pay for posts. While bribes for blogs is nothing new, sadly the current crop of ICO creators and crypto projects are particularly interested in scaling fast and many ICO CEOs are far happier with scammy multi-level marketing tricks than real media relations. The worst part of this spammy, scammy ecosystem is the service providers. A new group of media organizations are…

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Odds and Ends 

Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the launch of Apple Maps went poorly. After a rough first impression, an apology from the CEO, several years of patching holes with data partnerships and some glimmers of light with long-awaited transit directions and improvements in business, parking and place data, Apple Maps is still not where it needs to be to be considered a world-class service. Maps needs fixing. Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps. It’s doing this by using first-party data…

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Headlines 

Haley Defends U.S. Decision to Quit UN’s Human Rights Council

Ambassador Nikki Haley defended the U.S. decision to quit the United Nations Human Rights Council last month as a stand against “political corruption and moral bankruptcy” and the organization’s “anti-Israel bias.” “The United States provided the last shred of credibility that the council had, but that was precisely why we withdrew,” Haley said Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. In June, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Haley announced the U.S. decision after the council passed a resolution denouncing Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation” of human rights. In…

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Odds and Ends 

Facebook to exclude North American users from some privacy enhancements

There’s no way to sugarcoat this message: Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg believes North America users of his platform deserve a lower data protection standard than people everywhere else in the world. In a phone interview with Reuters yesterday Mark Zuckerberg declined to commit to universally implementing changes to the platform that are necessary to comply with the European Union’s incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Rather, he said the company was working on a version of the law that would bring some European privacy guarantees worldwide — declining to specify to…

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Headlines 

A Trader Named Morgan Stanley Just Left Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley. No, really. The fixed-income trader, who just happens to share a name with the 82-year-old Wall Street firm, has left the bank, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Stanley joined in 2012 after graduating from Boston College, according to records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Stanley, whose middle name is Adam, didn’t return LinkedIn messages seeking comment on his next career move. A spokesman for the New York-based bank declined to comment. Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-17/morgan-stanley-leaves-morgan-stanley-yes-you-read-that-right

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Odds and Ends 

MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft are delivering pitiful levels of take-home pay to the hundreds of thousands of US independent contractors providing their own vehicles and driving skills to deliver the core service, according to an MIT CEEPR study examining the economics of the two app platforms. The report catalyses the debate about conditions for workers on gig economy platforms, and raises serious questions about the wider societal impacts of tax avoiding, VC-funded tech giants. The study, entitled The Economics of Ride-Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses and Taxes, and which was carried out by…

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Headlines 

Trump May Be Deposed in Apprentice Groping Lawsuit

Manhattan state court judge says ‘no one is above the law’ Ruling adds to Stormy Daniels controversy over hush payment Summer Zervos, right, arrives at the New York County Criminal Court on Dec. 5, 2017. Stormy Daniels Faces $20 Million in Damages in Trump Lawsuit The decision may also complicate Trump’s effort to dismiss allegations from various women about his behavior. Trump is separately embroiled in a scandal involving a $130,000 payment to an adult film actress — Stephanie Clifford, who performed under the name Stormy Daniels — who alleges he’s…

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Headlines 

Goldman Says Stocks May Dive 25% If 10-Year Yield Hits 4.5%

If the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield hits 4.5 percent by year-end, the economy would probably muddle through — stocks, not so much, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Goldman’s base-case scenario calls for a 10-year yield of 3.25 percent by the end of 2018, though a “stress test” out to 4.5 percent indicates such a move would cause stocks to tumble, economist Daan Struyven wrote in a note Saturday. He also said the economy would probably suffer a sharp slowdown but not a recession. “A rise in rates to 4.5…

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Headlines 

Florida Teachers Pension Fund Invested in Maker of School Massacre Gun

As Florida teachers grieve over the mass shooting that left 17 students and colleagues dead last week, some of them may be surprised to learn they’ve been helping fund the firearms industry—including the company that made the gun used that bloody Wednesday.  A state pension plan for Florida teachers held 41,129 shares in American Outdoor Brands Co. valued at more than a half-million dollars, according to a Dec. 31 securities filing listing the plan’s Students evacuating Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. 2017 annual report. The fund had a $528,000 holding in…

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Headlines 

This Tiny Hedge Fund Just Made 8,600% On a Vix Bet

Not everyone got crushed when the market collapsed. For traders at a little-known Denver hedge fund who saw it coming, it was the score of a lifetime — a $17.5 million payday on a $200,000 bet. “People were laughing at us, saying this could never happen, this should never happen,” Justin Borus, the 41-year-old founder and manager at Denver-based Ibex Investors, said in an interview. “We saw people pricing this as a 1-in-5,000 event, but it was more like a one-in-five-year event.” Borus’s team bet that an exchange-traded fund linked to…

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Headlines 

Fidelity Reports Web Issues After Robo-Adviser Sites Crash

Fidelity Investments had intermittent technology issues with its website a day after robo-advisers struggled in the market rout. Fidelity customers faced some difficulties accessing the firm’s home page on Tuesday. By early afternoon, the issues were resolved, said Michael Aalto, a company spokesman. The websites of two of the country’s biggest robo-advisers — Wealthfront Inc. and Betterment LLC — crashed on Monday as the S&P 500 Index sank. Complaints quickly spread across Reddit and other internet sites from people who had trouble logging onto their accounts. “Really?” wrote Read more:…

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Headlines 

Bitcoin Newbies Are Getting Crushed While Old Timers Bemoan `Weak Hands

For Bitcoin investors, these are the times that try one’s soul. After surging to almost $20,000 in December following the introduction of regulated futures contracts in the U.S., the world’s largest cryptocurrency has lost more than half its value, plummeting to as low as $7,614 on Friday. It regained some ground on Saturday, rising 7.5 percent to $9,290.15 as of 2:58 p.m. in New York, according to Jamie Dimon to Nouriel Roubini have labeled as one of the biggest asset bubbles in history began showing signs of deflating. Selling by…

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