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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

A look inside the Taipei 101 New Year’s Eve fireworks show as it goes green

One of the tallest buildings in the world, Taipei 101’s New Year’s Eve fireworks have become an iconic celebration since the first show at the end of 2004. But despite being a major tourism draw, the fireworks haven’t been immune from criticism.

Over the past couple of years, as poor air quality becomes an increasingly serious issue throughout the country, the show has been targeted by Taiwanese environmental groups. The major of Taipei City, Ko Wen-je, said at the beginning of this year that the fireworks show should continue and other, more permanent measures against air pollution should be taken. “There are 365 days in a year,” he told reporters. “But the firework display was only 300 seconds, so we need a long-term plan to solve this problem.”

As one of the tallest LEED-certified buildings, however, Taipei 101 often serves as a case study for how landmark skyscrapers can reduce their carbon footprint, and it has been taking steps to reduce pollution from the show while keeping it a spectacle. A couple weeks ago, a group of bloggers and reporters was invited to take a look at this year’s preparations. (All photos in this story, with the exception of the one at the bottom featuring last year’s show, are by Garret Clarke.)

A technician with some of the fireworks that will be part of Taipei 101’s show.

16,000 fireworks will be used in this year’s show and preparations are usually finished by Dec. 28.

Over the past couple of years, the organizers of Taipei 101’s fireworks show have taken several measures to reduce pollution. Starting with last year’s show, the number of fireworks was reduced from 30,000 to 16,000. To add oomph to the reduced pyrotechnics, a 55-story-tall mesh screen made up of 140,000 LEDs, called a T-Pad, was installed by Taipei 101 fireworks contractor Giant Show on the north side of the skyscraper. The LED screen overlooks the plaza outside of Taipei City Hall where a New Year’s Eve concert is held every year and showcases animations that coordinate with the music and fireworks.

The LED screen is used during the rest of the year for promotions, advertisements and holiday messages

Andy Yang, head of corporate branding and communications for the Taipei Financial Center Corp., Taipei 101’s owner, told TechCrunch that this year’s show cost a total of about NTD $60 million (about USD $1.96 million). It will also include 16,000 fireworks, installed from the 34th to 91st floors of Taipei 101, and animations on the T-Pad. The team that plans the show includes 10 to 15 designers and about 50 pyrotechnicians who install the fireworks on the exterior of the building. Preparations are typically completed by Dec. 28.

Andy Yang stands in front of the scaffolding that leads up to Taipei 101’s 55-story-tall LED mesh screen

Yang says Taipei 101 has been decreasing the number of fireworks used year by year. The LED screen is currently only on one side of Taipei 101, but Taipei 101’s management is exploring the possibility of extending it to other sides of the building.

Taipei 101’s fireworks show at the end of 2017, with the LED screen in view. (kecl/Getty Images)

Taipei 101 also instates an “all lights off” policy, turning off all exterior lights before and after the show in order to reduce carbon emissions. The LED screen not only enables Taipei 101 to reduce the number of fireworks used, but also enables the integration of pyrotechnics, animations, music, and lights into one show, “which brings more design and content opportunities and possibilities for Taipei 101 and Taiwan,” he says.

Source: TechCrunch

Here’s how to play a game from Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch episode

If you’ve gone down the rabbit hole with Netflix’s latest Black Mirror release, there’s (at least) one more easter egg out there. As some intrepid Reddit users discovered, you can actually visit two different versions of fictional software company Tuckersoft’s website and… spoilers ahead.

On the regular Tuckersoft site, discovered through a QR code embedded in the show itself, Tuckersoft advertises its game lineup including Bandersnatch, a “revolutionary game from Stefan Butler.” In this timeline, Tuckersoft released both Nohzdyve and Bandersnatch and Stefan eventually eclipsed his gaming idol Colin’s own fame, driving the company forward. As the site notes:

“While Colin Ritman was Tuckersoft’s leading man, it was Stefan Butler’s 1984 release, Bandersnatch, that catapulted the company to new heights. The innovative narrative and gameplay transformed interactive entertainment forever.”

If you visit the Tuckersoft site but strip out the www., the company never released Colin’s game due to a tragic incident. If you’ve seen the episode, you can probably guess what that was. This version of the site includes the following text:

“A bleak turn of events would lead to the abrupt cancellation of Colin Ritman’s highly-anticipated game, Nohzdyve, and the end of Stefan Butler’s promising career.

“Metl Hedd remains a classic, but the world will have to wonder what Nohzdyve was like. Rumour has it, an early version of the game is somewhere out there, waiting to be played for the first time.”

Black Mirror fans will note that the fictionalized site for Colin’s other major title, Metl Hedd, depicts the BigDog-like robots that terrorized humans in season four’s particularly harrowing episode “Metalhead.” Tuckersoft’s other games contain plenty of references to Black Mirror episodes too.

In the timeline in which Colin was able to finish Nohzdyve, the game’s sub-page has a download link for a file called nohzdyve.tap and the instructions to “Play Nohzdyve on your ZX Spectrum emulator.” Apparently, the file works and if you run Windows and you’re willing to install an emulator (like Speccy) for the obscure British 8-bit console, you can actually play Colin’s rather prescient release. We’re told it might work on a Commodore 64 emulator too, but haven’t tested that out (yet).

So far it doesn’t look like Bandersnatch is playable anywhere, but given that the episode itself is a game and the game itself results in certain horror, that’s probably for the best.

Source: TechCrunch

Stan Lee's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse cameo will warm your heart – CNET

Spidey’s co-creator offers some advice from beyond the grave.
Source: CNET

Google Doodle prepares to welcome 2019 with partying pachyderms – CNET

Google’s traditional party animals show up for New Year’s Eve.
Source: CNET

"La IA permitirá que recuperemos tiempo para las relaciones humanas"

El presidente y CEO de LG Electronics España, Jaime de Jaraíz, afirma que la inteligencia artificial no va a sustituir a los humanos, sino a mejorar las relaciones personales. En su opinión, el éxito de las empresas estriba en contar con talento capaz de adaptarse a la nueva realidad tecnológica
Source: MIT

Las seis cosas mas chulas creadas por impresión 3D en 2018

Puentes, casas y ¡hasta bodas! Aunque la fiebre por la tecnología haya decaído un poco, hay quien sigue empujando sus límites con creaciones increíbles. Le presentamos nuestra lista de favoritos
Source: MIT

Investors and entrepreneurs need to address the mental health crisis in startups

Colin Kroll, was the co-founder of Vine and HQ Trivia, both consumer sensations that brought joy to millions; Anthony Bourdain, had been a chef, journalist and philosopher, who brought understanding and connectedness to millions of lives; while Robin Williams built a career as a brilliant comedian and actor.

What these three share in common is that they were all people at the pinnacle of their industry and they all died too soon. Their premature loss is a tragedy.

The most brilliant and creative amongst us are sometimes the most troubled and nowhere is that clearer than in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. With each passing unnecessary death the importance of mental health comes briefly into focus… but that focus lasts no longer than a news cycle and nothing changes. The time for lip service came and went long ago. We must take these issues seriously and we need to act.

The mental health epidemic is real. There are 18.5% Americans that will suffer from mental illness this year, 4% of them will suffer so acutely that it will substantially limit their ability to live their lives.

That means it is extremely likely you or someone you know is suffering right now and could use support. Moreover, unlike many of the challenges we face today, the most common expressions of mental health disorder (anxiety, depression, substance abuse and imposter syndrome) are largely addressable through individual action. Not only should we all take action, we all cantake action.

While national mental health statistics are troubling, they are downright terrifying for entrepreneurs. According to a study by Michael Freeman, entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having a mental health condition with some specific conditions being incredibly prevalent amongst founders.

Founders are:

  • 2X more likely to suffer from depression
  • 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
  • 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
  • 10X more likely to suffer from bi-polar disorder
  • 2X more likely to have psychiatric hospitalization;
  •  and 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Thomas Shahan

Addressing the ongoing mental health catastrophe in entrepreneurship is a moral imperative, and for wise investors, it should be a function of doing business.

Venture capitalists make their living off of the blood, sweat, and tears of founders. It is through their passion and efforts that we succeed or fail. We can either choose to see founders purely as a means to an end (generating returns) or we can see them as the whole people they are.

When I make an effort to get to know our founders beyond the most superficial level then I cannot help but be moved by their personal struggles. Seeing founders in our portfolio succeed on a personal level is just as rewarding for me as sharing in their professional success. Luckily, I believe the two are intrinsically linked, which means we don’t have to choose.

 As Michael Freeman writes:

“Mental health is as essential for knowledge work in the 21st century as physical health was for physical labor in the past. Creativity, ingenuity, insight, brilliance, planning, analysis, and other executive functions are often the cognitive cornerstones of breakthrough value creation by entrepreneurs.”

Depression, anxiety and mood disorders all actively work to undermine founder performance. They often contribute to burnout, co-founder conflict, toxic company culture, increased employee turnover, an inability to hire top talent, an inability to “show up” for important meetings and pitches and poor decision making in general. According to Noam Wasserman at HBS, 65% of failed startups fail for avoidable reasons like co-founder conflict. All of these experiences are exacerbated when founders are in a time of high mental and emotional strain.

Let’s assume that in a portfolio of 20 companies 15 of them fail or underperform and that Noam Wasserman’s 65% statistic holds true. That would mean that 10 of the 15 companies (65%) failed for avoidable “human centric” reasons. If a firm were able to help even half of those companies avoid failure caused by burnout and mental strain that would mean an additional five companies would be successful, doubling the number of successful outcomes in the portfolio.

Even if you’re a huge pessimist, to help change the trajectory for one out of ten companies, changes the portfolio from five winners to six. In other words, supporting founders before their “people problems” become business problems yields a 20% improvement in performance. Even if one were indifferent to the personal lives of the portfolio founders, they should care about founder health if they care about portfolio returns.

It’s great that investors profess to care about founders’ mental health, but words are not enough. We must act to reduce founders’ mental and emotional suffering. It’s the right thing to do and it’s good for business.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Thomas Shahan

Why do entrepreneurs suffer so much more acutely? 

Mental health problems permeate every industry not just the tech industry, but the statistics above would seem to indicate that we have a particular problem. What causes entrepreneurs to suffer at substantially higher than average rates? It’s a hard question to answer, and soon research from progressive labs like that of the Founder Central Initiative will help us to identify these drivers. For now, based on our own observations of founders, we believe there are several explanations which may contribute.

Self-Selection: Most founders are smart, driven and skilled people whose resume could almost certainly land them a job with a higher lifetime expected value (the median salary at Facebook is now $240,000) but they still choose the grueling, uncertain and more creative founder journey. Founders are almost certainly pre-disposed towards certain conditions (like ADHD) for example, Garret Loporto, in his book, “The Davinci Method” cites Fortune Magazine as claiming that people with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own company than others.

Poisonous industry tropes: The narratives our industry tells are less real than pictures that grace the front of fashion magazines and are just as destructive. Photoshopped pictures of “perfect people” create an unattainable standard of beauty, the constant stream of stories about “overnight success” and “crushing it” create an unattainable standard for founders.

Startups are hard: The magic of a great team is in building a group with complementary skills. When just starting out founders don’t have a complete team and are required to do things they are not well suited to do. Working on projects that do not fit within a leader’s innate skills tends to be emotionally draining. It’s not uncommon in an early startup for introverts in the company to have to pitch and make sales calls while extroverts are forced to sit at a desk and grind away in a CRM.

Startups are alienating: The all-encompassing nature of a startup often causes founders to spend less time with family, friends and significant others and many are required to re-locate away from these support networks for funding or strategic reasons. As stress at a company builds, founders are more inclined to double down at work (a natural response to an emergency).  This tendency only further burdens the founder by muting their supportive relationships and reduces their ability to cope with company pressures.

A founder must be a rock: There’s a lot of pressure put on founders to stay steady in times of company turmoil.  As a result, they are often alone when they need others the most.  Founders report that they feel that they cannot talk with their co-founders, especially when the problem is with the co-founder, they cannot pass the burden of their worry on to their employees, and feel that their friends and family do not understand or are tired of hearing about the company.

The “I am my company” syndrome: Founders blur the line between themselves and their companies in such a way that company failures often are felt as personal failures. Losing a customer contract or receiving a “no” from an investor can feel like a deeply personal rejection.

Founders eat last: I have yet to meet a founder who has a budgeted line item for self-care or who takes guilt free vacations. In almost every other skilled industry there is recognition that people have a right to take care of themselves and that a little bit of self-care actually leads to a more productive workforce. Investors, founders and poorly trained middle managers all perpetuate a myth in the startup ecosystem that the only way to be successful is to grind yourself inexorably to the bone.

Financial risk: In addition to opportunity cost, founders often go without a pay check and pour a significant portion of their personal capital into their businesses. This creates enormous financial stress and anxiety that sets up a scenario in which a business failure also creates personal financial ruin. A certain amount of “skin in the game” can be positive but founders are often already all-in emotionally with their businesses. A founder with too much skin in the game may live under a Sword of Damocles and be unable to focus on the key tasks, ironically bringing about their own worst fears.

Imposter Syndrome: Founders often suffer from the sense that they don’t belong where they are and that eventually they will be exposed as frauds. This leads founders to chalk success up to luck but to take all the blame for any failures. 58% of tech workers suffer from Imposter Syndromeand I suspect the number is substantially higher among founders.

Moving the goalposts: Founders find it difficult to celebrate the small wins, each victory brings on the next, greater challenge. The second most stressful time for founders is right before they are able to secure a major fundraise, the most stressful time is right afterwards.

Substance Abuse: Our industry is awash in alcohol and other substances that founders and tech workers are encouraged to consumer freely for bonding, as a social crutch, and for performance optimization. These substances are both a cause and a symptom of broader problems in the ecosystem.

I wager that simply reading the above list left you stressed out and self-identifying with a number of the factors that cause founders stress. Luckily there are some things we can all do to combat mental health strain.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Thomas Shahan

What can investors and founders do about founder mental health?

Each of us who participates in the startup ecosystem contributes to the problem of poor founder health.  This puts each of us in a position to positively impact this experience by acting. Here are a few things we can do:


o  Investors should make sure that the founders they work with know that they take mental health issues seriously. One way to do this is to take the Investors Pledge developed by Erin Frey and Ti Zhao at Kip. Just taking the pledge sends a powerful signal to founders that it’s OK for them to seek help. Better yet, investors, in their onboarding process with founders should explicitly touch on their support for the founders’ seeking mental health services when they feel compelled to do so.

o  Drop the act. Being an investor is different from being a founder but it isn’t easy and investors suffer in many of the same ways. If investors want to support their founders, they need to be authentic and vulnerable in front of them. Investors need to show founders its ok to open up and that it’s ok to have doubts or to struggle with mental health.

o  For founders, don’t spread or buy into the myths. When you’ve been grinding away on your business for years in anonymity and then have a major breakthrough, make sure your PR campaign accurately reflects the journey. You suffered to bring your company to the pinnacle of success and you had to invest heavily in yourself to survive the trip. Make sure when other founders read about your success they understand how you really got there.

Provide Resources

o  It’s easy for people to forget how financially constrained most founders are. Just because they’ve raised $5 million in a recent financing doesn’t mean they necessarily have the personal capital to seek help and support. A portion of financing rounds should be earmarked for the founders themselves and investors should hold founders accountable for investing in their wellbeing and development.

o  Founders need to include a line item in their P&L for wellness or self-care. Budgets are moral documents and they set the priorities of a company. If there is no line item for supporting the mental/physical/emotional well-being of the founders and employees, then the company will be devoid of the resources to offer this type of support. We, the participants in this ecosystem, need to put our money where our mouths are when we say that we are “founder friendly” and “invest in founders first”.

Don’t forget the mind body connection 

o  Mental, emotional and physical wellbeing are all deeply linked to one another. Just as mental health issues often lead to substance abuse, a lack of physical exercise or nutrition can also lead to depressive mood states and a lack of focus. The founder fifteen is as real as the freshman fifteen but it’s much more destructive.

Founders need to make sure to incorporate their physical activity of choice into their life, need to watch their nutritional intake and should consider activities such as yoga, meditation and intentional breathing that research shows help boost mood, sharpen focus and enhance emotional resilience. (Short plug, at Atlaswe work on addressing the whole person because we believe effective leaders are those who are both physically and emotionally fit.)

Connect, connect, connect 

o  Founders need to remain anchored in a support network. They should join a peer group, engage with old friends, go out on date nights with their significant other and make new friends. Not only is it a fun way to unload some of the pressure they’re under, but it’s a great reminder to founders that they have a separate existence from their company.

o  Founders should take an intentional vacation away from work, tech, and business. If, like me, a founder can’t voluntarily disconnect even while on vacation, they should consider joining a community like Soulscapeor traveling off the grid so that they are forced to disconnect and recharge. Burnout rarely appears as the primary track in startup postmortems, but a trained ear can usually find its influence.

o  Set a culture that is supportive of self-care. If everyone from the receptionist to the CEO is willing to seek help and take care of themselves, it creates a company-wide habit that enables everyone to thrive. A healthy culture will pay for itself a thousand times over in recruitment, lower turnover and happier, more productive people who are willing to sacrifice for the company when sacrifice is called for.

Set priorities not tasks

o  Founders and A-type personalities tend to live and die by their calendar and their task lists. Unfortunately, task lists are just reminders that there are countless things to be done. For most of us our task lists are quite literally infinite. This is a recipe for unbearable mental strain and unmanageable cognitive load. The definition of anxiety is when we perceive that our ability to achieve is overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, which is inevitable when our tasks are ill defined, too large or seemingly unending.  Instead of a task list, switch to a daily priorities list where only the urgent AND important items are listed. Completing these items may be more difficult but getting them off your plate is infinitely more satisfying.

 Be vigilant 

o  Learn the warning signs of depression and burnout. People who are drowning don’t wave their hands in the air and shout for help, they slip silently beneath the waves and only trained life guards tend to spot people in trouble. It’s the same way with depression. Depressed people don’t mope around and they aren’t necessarily sad so much as numb. Here are things to look out for:

  • Persistent feelings of pessimism
  • Sad, anxious or empty mood
  • Change in behavior and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Change in diet or eating schedule
  • Change in sleep schedule
  • Irritability
  • Inability to make decisions or concentrate
  • You can also use this validated self-assessment for depression

Building companies is inherently hard mentally, physically and emotionally but our ecosystem is a toxic one with dozens of factors all contributing to make it even more so. We are quite literally killing ourselves and thereby sabotaging our long-term competitiveness. There are tangible actions each one of us can take to start fixing this toxicity but at the end of the day but I believe most of those actions boil down to treating each other and ourselves as human beings. If we recognize and embrace our weaknesses and support one another in our imperfections, we will start seeing a healthier more sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.


National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Depression resources: https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/guide/resources/

Free/Cheap Peer Groups: https://www.evryman.cohttps://www.chairmanmom.com; Atlas Events and Peer Groups

(if anyone knows of similar free resources, please share them in the comments)

Source: TechCrunch

Malware attack cripples newspapers across United States

A malware attack affected the production and distribution of the Saturday editions of several newspapers across the United States. The purpose remains unclear, but the attack allegedly came from outside the country.

The post Malware attack cripples newspapers across United States appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

Amazon reportedly plans to build new Whole Foods Market stores – CNET

Expansion aims to expand reach of its speedy two-hour grocery delivery service.
Source: CNET

Test your tech knowledge in TechCrunch’s 2018 Year In Tech Quiz

Think you know tech? Square off against TechCrunch editors with 2018’s year in tech quiz.

TechCrunch’s 2018 Year In Tech Quiz

Square off against TechCrunch’s reporters and editors in this year’s annual quiz, covering the major stories of the past twelve months. Have you got what it takes?

Which big tech company didn’t get called to Congress this year?

How many rockets did SpaceX launch this year?

Which company has never operated a bike-share program?

What was the share price that CEO Elon Musk said he’d take Tesla private?

Which company raised the largest VC round in the U.S. in 2018?

How many data breaches did Facebook disclose this year?

In January, the value of bitcoin peaked. What was its price?

This year, SoftBank disclosed a record level of debt. How much?

What did the first Presidential Alert say?

How many Facebook users had their data scraped by Cambridge Analytica?

Which tech giant became the first $1 trillion company?

What is Elon Musk’s flamethrower?

Which company made the largest tech acquisition this year?

How were the lock screens bypassed on some of the newest Android phones?

Which Apple product was promised but still hasn’t made it to market?

Which Chinese tech company did not go public in Hong Kong this year?

Which was the first company in California to be granted a permit to allow driverless vehicles on public roads?

Do you even tech, bro?

What are you, a wannabe techie? You didn’t keep up with anything in tech this year! You’re as good as net neutrality killer Ajit Pai. For shame! Try again next year.

Tweet and share your results below, or try again for a better score.

You can read more about the year in tech in TechCrunch’s Year In Review.

You’re a floundering founder

Well, you knew enough to convince your friends, but not enough fool the rest of us. Like former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, you’re done here.

Tweet and share your results below, or try again for a better score.

You can read more about the year in tech in TechCrunch’s Year In Review.

Good luck getting your Series B

You’re clued in enough with tech this year to bluff your way through your Series A, but will struggle to get that second round of funding.

Tweet and share your results below, or try again for a better score.

You can read more about the year in tech in TechCrunch’s Year In Review.

IPO, here we go!

Not bad! You’ve learned a lot this year, kept your ear to the ground, and it seems like you know your tech — and it’s paying off. Looks like you’re ready to IPO.

Tweet and share your results below, or try again for a better score.

You can read more about the year in tech in TechCrunch’s Year In Review.

An acqui-hire in the making

You’ve made it! You’ve put in the hard work and you’ve become a hot acquisition target for Silicon Valley giant. Company-wide bonuses all round!

Tweet and share your results below, or try again for a better score.

You can read more about the year in tech in TechCrunch’s Year In Review.

You’re a billion dollar tech boss

You’ve hit the big time! There’s nothing you don’t know from the world of tech this year. You’re the boss of a Silicon Valley empire.

Tweet and share your results below, or try again for a better score.

You can read more about the year in tech in TechCrunch’s Year In Review.

Source: TechCrunch