Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins

Founding Editor of SiliconANGLE. Executive Producer of theCube.

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Ellen Pao is a great object lesson for the Dunning-Kruger Effect

There’s a lot of perspectives on if and why Reddit is in its death throes right now (Duncan and Eric at SiliconANGLE have been doing a good job covering the story). I’m personally of the opinion that they bought themselves a stay of execution by releasing Pao, but only time will tell if it pulls them from the death spiral. One particularly poignant opinion I read this evening came from Chuq Von Rospach, a blogger and community manager for Cisco. He said: “For a person in Pao’s position, not knowing how your own system and software works is a massive fail. Not bringing in someone in PR to help you craft the message and get it posted appropriately is a big fail. There were organizational failures that other parts of Reddit let this happen without someone hauling her into a room and saying “you need help. Let’s figure this out” is a big fail; or perhaps they tried and she wouldn’t listen. Either way, huge failure. That Pao initially tried to spin this in the press instead of work this out with the community is a fail that’s a combination of her background working through the politics of executive boardrooms and her VC background — but it’s still a fail. All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that she was the wrong person to be leading Reddit (and now, she no longer is), and that the board made a bad hire bringing her in.” Without naming names, there are a lot of organizations that can benefit from the object lesson that is Ellen Pao’s Reddit right now. Putting a manager...

End of an Era: Conjunctured Shuttered by September

Via their blog today: Conjunctured, Austin’s first coworking space and one of the original coworking spaces in the world, will be closing its doors at the end of August. Conjunctured first pioneered the coworking movement in Austin six years ago, when coworking was a brand new concept. I was privileged to have debuted Conjectured on Mashable when I was Associate Editor over there. They weren’t the very first coworking spaces in Texas, but they were one of the most active in evangelizing social media, new media and the startup ethos in Austin. I’ve got mixed feelings about them shutting their doors, but it seems like they’ll be carrying on the tradition of evangelizing coworking, only this time worldwide, rather than statewide. Because Conjunctured was the first to introduce me to coworking as a concept (and then through me to the rest of the audience at Mashable), this is most certainly a big part of their DNA and legacy. I’ll be interested in following the next chapters of their...

I guess #gamergate is still going on?

Preface: I love women in general, and my wife in particular. I believe my wife and I to be equal partners in our marriage and life. My hiring practices as an employer show that I routinely put women in positions of authority in my organizations. I believe women to be just as capable as men in anything they endeavor to be. I do not favor misogyny or stereotyping against women. I believe that there is still progress to be made in society in creating a better world for women. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve neither paid attention to nor do I care about one whit either side in what is/was (is it still going on?) the #gamergate crap. That said, inspired by a #tbt tweet from Cory Doctorow… I present you three permalinks and excerpts from Boing Boing that illustrate a bit of absurdity around the continuing wave of feminism as applied to video games: Exhibit One (published  Sep 1, 2014): Comprehensively addressing the stupid, intellectually dishonest critique of Anita Sarkeesian by Cory Doctorow Whenever the feminist games-critic and survivor of countless outraged misogynist stalkers Anita Sarkeesian’s name is invoked, there follows a flood of men who want to explain that she brought it on herself, that she isn’t a gamer, that she isn’t a good critic, and assorted related rubbish. Indeed, if you mention that Sarkeesian’s critics haven’t got two coherent arguments to rub together and are obviously motived by sexism and denial that their favored pastime is riddled with casual violence and sexual violence against women, you, too, are accused of being part of the Sarkeesian cabal, or a dupe...

Ellen Pao is a great object lesson for the Dunning-Kruger Effect

There’s a lot of perspectives on if and why Reddit is in its death throes right now (Duncan and Eric at SiliconANGLE have been doing a good job covering the story). I’m personally of the opinion that they bought themselves a stay of execution by releasing Pao, but only time will tell if it pulls them from the death spiral. One particularly poignant opinion I read this evening came from Chuq Von Rospach, a blogger and community manager for Cisco. He said: “For a person in Pao’s position, not knowing how your own system and software works is a massive fail. Not bringing in someone in PR to help you craft the message and get it posted appropriately is a big fail. There were organizational failures that other parts of Reddit let this happen without someone hauling her into a room and saying “you need help. Let’s figure this out” is a big fail; or perhaps they tried and she wouldn’t listen. Either way, huge failure. That Pao initially tried to spin this in the press instead of work this out with the community is a fail that’s a combination of her background working through the politics of executive boardrooms and her VC background — but it’s still a fail. All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that she was the wrong person to be leading Reddit (and now, she no longer is), and that the board made a bad hire bringing her in.” Without naming names, there are a lot of organizations that can benefit from the object lesson that is Ellen Pao’s Reddit right now. Putting a manager...

End of an Era: Conjunctured Shuttered by September

Via their blog today: Conjunctured, Austin’s first coworking space and one of the original coworking spaces in the world, will be closing its doors at the end of August. Conjunctured first pioneered the coworking movement in Austin six years ago, when coworking was a brand new concept. I was privileged to have debuted Conjectured on Mashable when I was Associate Editor over there. They weren’t the very first coworking spaces in Texas, but they were one of the most active in evangelizing social media, new media and the startup ethos in Austin. I’ve got mixed feelings about them shutting their doors, but it seems like they’ll be carrying on the tradition of evangelizing coworking, only this time worldwide, rather than statewide. Because Conjunctured was the first to introduce me to coworking as a concept (and then through me to the rest of the audience at Mashable), this is most certainly a big part of their DNA and legacy. I’ll be interested in following the next chapters of their...

Dell’s move to Bitcoin reflects their philosophical core.

Maybe I nicked this statement from someone, or maybe I come up with it, but a phrase I use a lot when I talk to people about Digital Autonomous Organizations is “.. the economy and the state are engineering problems, not political ones.” What struck me from the Dell announcement around Bitcoin acceptance is this is reflective of a core belief in at least a version of this philosophy. In late 2012, Michael Dell came on my show (theCUBE) to talk about the changes in the industry and at Dell, and had this to say: “When I look at the big opportunities that exist in the world and the big unsolved problems, be they in medicine, in education, in energy or the environment, I think that these are problems that technology will solve.” “I think about the innovation that’s occurred over the last couple decades that I’ve been in this industry where IT used to be this sort of back room activity with a couple of guys wearing pocket protectors involved in, and now you essentially can’t even run a business if technology isn’t involved.” A few months after he said this on our show, he went on to take Dell private, a move that’s allowed them to go deep into bleeding edge technology moves like Bitcoin and 3D printing. Dells moves in 3D printing have forced competitors to get serious about the business as well (like HP). We might be at the knee of the curve here; Dell’s acceptance of Bitcoin just might push other major enterprise players to start thinking about Bitcoin in the same way. [Originally posted by me to /r/bitcoin. Feel...

What Does “Verified Account” Actually Mean?

“The @BarackObama Twitter handle is maintained by OFA [Organizing For Action], that is the political organization that was the offshoot of the campaign,” Earnest told Jonathan Karl of ABC News, who asked whether the president reads or approves his tweets. “And that is a Twitter handle that is maintained independent of the White House.” I read these words this morning during my daily “what’s up in the world” scan of the headlines. Aside from the implications of carelessness by our current Executive Branch, I wonder if it’s fair that Twitter maintain the certifications for the President’s twitter account. The “verified account status” is a social cue to social media users that if the actual person implied to own the account doesn’t personally maintain it, they at the very least endorse and agree with the content on this account. It’s clear from the official statement (and other comments to the press) that the @BarackObama twitter account isn’t technically even owned by the president, but is the “brand account” for the Organizing for America SuperPAC. Should this account be verified? If this was Miley Cyrus’s verified account, let’s say, and she said some things that were off message for her via the social media channel (let’s say she made a social faux pas, something homophobic or racist). If she came out in the media the day after and claimed that her manager hired a PR or marketing firm to run her account with no oversight or buy in from her, could or should Twitter maintain the “verified account” status? Keep in mind that we’re not talking about minimal or limited oversight, as is the case with some...

RTFA: Did you know the Supreme Court writes this stuff down?

One of my biggest pet peeves: Idiots who refuse to listen to the oral arguments or read the written decisions of the Supreme Court, but are somehow legal experts and pundits. Yes, I’m probably talking about you… many of you reading this status message have posted completely asinine analysis of the recent raft of Supreme Court decisions and clearly haven’t read them but still feel compelled to share out that Mother Jones article or that awesome analysis you found at a guest post on Mashable. There’s almost no reason to read analysis of Supreme Court decisions anymore (certainly not the hamfisted chaff passed off as analysis at most pubs these days), since the horse’s mouth is literally available the instant the decision is public. You can listen to and read the oral arguments, free, no paywall. You can read the entire decision, majority opinion and minority opinion (if any). In fact, I suggest you do so rather than read the tripe you think is good. Most of the time, you’ll find that it to be a refreshing experience, devoid of the polemics of debate you see in Facebookland, but still accessible and written plainly. Or, you can carry on in your ignorance and earn my derision. Either way is fine – just don’t be surprised when your “clever analysis” where you refer to the SCOTUS as the SCROTUM makes all your friends universally regard you as a...

The ACA Is Not Tenable

And insurance executives already are warning about double- or triple-digit hikes for next year. “I do think it’s likely premium-rate shocks are coming,” said Chet Burrell, CEO of Care First BlueCross BlueShield. Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, one of the first to raise the alarm, said increases “could go as high as 100 percent.” I just did my taxes last night. I spent in excess of 15% of my income on health insurance premiums last year. Assuming I don’t get a raise when these predicted hikes come along, I’ll spend almost a third of my income in insurance premiums, if these quotes are correct. The screams of the ideologues of the left still echo in my head from during the ACA debates. Many of them are reading this post right now… I know them, and some of you know them. They screamed at people like me who raised the concern that this law was untenable, saying things like: “I have kids with pre-existing conditions that you obviously want to die.” I don’t know what I want to say to these people now. I do know that if a third of my income gets taxed to the insurance companies, I’m faced with the choice of paying the fine or giving up the mortgage payment. This system isn’t...

Foreigners’ Acts of Love and Other Scary Things

Even though I’m loathe to vote for another Bush for office (there are many other fully qualified candidates out there with less statist tendencies, and no one is looking for Bush v. Clinton II: The Reckoning), this full on attack on the “acts of love” quote is un-American and borderline racist. According to a 2007 CBO study, while illegal immigrants are a net deficit to the economy, legal citizens at the same income levels as the average illegal immigrant cost about $40,000 more per year per person. How is this possible? Well, according to studies, most undocumented workers pay taxes (income and SS), but do not collect the benefits of their retirement programs and unemployment benefits. “But,” you say… “But the jobs!!!11!one” A 2006 study by the Texas State Comptroller estimated that the 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas alone added almost $18 billion to the state’s economic output, and more than paid for the $1.2 billion in state services they used by generating $1.6 billion in new state revenues. Research by Harvard University’s George Borjas found that the influx of immigrants (both legal and illegal) from Mexico and Central America from 1980 to 2000 accounted for a 3.7% wage loss for American workers (4.5% for black Americans and 5% for Hispanic Americans). Conversely, a study by Economist Giovanni Peri concluded that between 1990 and 2004, immigrant workers raised the wages of native born workers in general by 4%. So can we please stop demonizing immigrants? I know that this appeals to the jingoistic, tribal tendencies that live in the deep dark recesses of all of us, but it’s...

Has the US Government become an outdated relic?

How many people (experts, if you will) do you think you’d have to gather into a room to understand the totality of federally enforceable American law? Let’s make this simpler… How many people (again, trained experts in the law, so we can somewhat reduce the number) do you think would be required to understand the totality of federally enforceable American law that was passed for 2013? Ignorance of the law excuses no man, as the axiom goes. I wonder if you can say that still truly applies when the number of experts required to know the totality of the law is hard to imagine, even for those with large...

Bad Production is Painful

Good: Everyone is doing live streaming now at their events. Bad: In far too many cases, they’re doing it poorly. If you need help with live streaming, give us a call at SiliconANGLE. We’ve been doing this for five years. We’ve figured out a few things. We want to help you. On a not at all related note, the transcript and partial video from the SxSWi Snowden keynote is...