Googlers might follow the company’s mantra of “Do No Evil,” but that good will doesn’t always extend to its neighbors. Nearly 40 people attended an “anti-gentrification block party” in–where else!–San Francisco on Sunday to protest the plush shuttles from various tech companies, like Goog, that stop by the neighborhood to pick up brogrammers and bring them to the Valley. The neighbors allege that the buses are causing rents to skyrocket and the people who use them are dicks.
Sex in the Valley
Naturally, it’s the moment that everyone decamps for SXSW that scandal breaks. Fortune reports that the San Francisco venture firm CMEA Capital and former chief operating partner John Haag have been slapped with allegations of sexual harassment, racial harassment and retaliation by a trio of executive assistants.
Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins came as a shock largely because the prestigious firm has long had a good-guy reputation. This lawsuit, on the other hand, is jaw-dropping for its volume of allegations that are just disgusting. It reads like House of Cards meets Van Wilder. If even a handful of these claims are true, it’s enough to obliterate all our Lean In-inspired optimism.
XX in Tech
The amount of furor that can erupt from a single technical conference never ceases to amaze. The latest installment: Sex educator and CNET columnist Violet Blue was supposed to give a talk earlier this week at the security conference B-Sides San Francisco. But it was cancelled at the last minute, after objections from the Ada Initiative, an organization dedicated to supporting women in tech.
That’s all anyone can agree on, besides the fact that everyone is very, very mad.
Space the Final Frontier
Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley: The local CBS affiliate reports that a San Francisco man has captured video of mysterious lights zipping about the night sky. Well, The X Files did warn us that our alien colonizers would arrive on December 22, 2012. Maybe fans should have listened instead of spending our time wondering when Mulder and Scully would finally make out.
Quick question: What would Microsoft have to offer to get you interested in Windows 8? Would free Wifi perhaps do the trick?
Starting now until the end of the year–i.e., all the way through the holiday shopping season–Microsoft will be sponsoring free Wifi access at several locations around town, via Boingo Wireless. (San Francisco is getting the same treatment.) The program is already up and running in each of Manhattan’s six wired subway stations, and it’ll be extended to more than 200 unspecified hotspots across the island starting November 1.
Poor social web billionaires are losing some of their millions. [Forbes]
Read the awkward IM conversation of some guy whose feelings were hurt by Mark Zuckerberg. [Business Insider]
Apple Maps got a makeover on iOS6, but…[Macworld]
…it still sucks. [Anil Dash]
The Philippines has outlawed cybering, which sounds funny at first, but actually it’s to protect millions of young women forced into working as cam girls. [BBC]
Moo, a business card startup, has acquired all of the assets of New York-based Flavors.me. [TechCrunch]
The inevitable tech backlash in San Francisco has begun. Hey Bay Area engineers, we hear there are tons of companies in NYC desperate for your skillz. [San Francisco Magazine]
What happens when a scruffy bunch of startup scamps move into a posh neighborhood? Why, hijinks ensue, naturally.
See, San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood has something called “Billionaire’s Row,” where tech elites like Larry Ellison live. However, Businessweek reports that there is one mansion inhabited by an unusual crop of folks: not merely rentors, but entrepreneurs in their 30s, working on startup ideas. Nature took its course:
Internet Wants to Be Free
These days, newspapers will seemingly stop at nothing to boost their bottom line. Those Weekender ads are notoriously obnoxious, and we’re getting awfully tired of deleting the identification key at the end of a New York Times URL to get around the paywall. But the Wall Street Journal has finally devised a marketing scheme that we can get behind: instituting free wifi throughout our fine city (oh, and in San Francisco).
If you’ve ever hoped of touring Paris’s sewer system in the dead of night accompanied by a lovely French homeless man, then you and I have a slightly different definitions of the word “vacation.” But for more adventurous travelers, Vayable might be able to make your unorthodox dreams come true. The San Francisco-based travel start-up announced a few new features today, including concierge and improved international payment services.
Y Combinator-backed Vayable, which launched in April 2011 and opened an office in New York a few months later, offers over 2,500 unique travel experiences to its users in 600 cities around the world. Some special souls have used the site to spend the night on San Francisco’s former prison island –Alcatraz – while others have gone on tours of the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco guided by a homeless man.
New York City has devoted a lot of time, effort, and money to fostering the local tech scene. Not one but two tech campuses; all those meetups and happy hours. But once we reach critical mass, it’s all gravy, right? Right? Nope. As a smart man once said: Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
As companies like Twitter start developing San Francisco’s downtown, the New York Times reports that their tech boom comes at a cost. One local business owner told the Times her landlord was raising her rent from $8,000 to $12,000 and asked, “Of course, Twitter is good for the city, but how about me?”
Meanwhile, the director of the San Francisco Tenants Union reports the trend has “driven up rents extremely” in the last year, while economist Kenneth Rosen predicted the boom would hurt “poor and middle class” while helping the “upper middle class.”
The end result: