PledgeLA to Boost Diversity and Inclusion in The Los Angeles Tech Community

PledgeLA to Boost Diversity and Inclusion in The Los Angeles Tech Community

As the tech sector in LA grows due to the saturation of the tech industry in the San Francisco area, the same problems in Silicon Valley are now coming up. There’s a growing tension between the upstarts of the tech industry and the regular folks in the community surrounding this IT boom.

According to critics, what will follow in LA will be what happened in San Francisco if there’s nothing done about it. Regular people and longtime residents will feel alienated and looked down upon. They will feel like they’re being forced out by the higher rents and costs of homes as well as the prices of regular consumer goods.

That’s why more than 80 entrepreneurs and tech investors are joining Mayor Eric Garcetti and the non-profit Annenberg Foundation to launch PledgeLA. This is the LA tech community initiative that seeks to avoid what happened in San Francisco and to the people there who felt disenfranchised by the growing tech boom.

PledgeLA Features

Features of the initiative include the following:

  • More opportunities will be provided for everyone, regardless of race, background, or gender. So even non-white women who grew up poor should have the same opportunities as the white guys who grew up rich.
  • Those who signed to the PledgeLA agreement will track civic participation and diversity data each year. That data will be made public so that people will know if a tech company is made up of exclusively white males from the Ivy Leagues and other top schools.
  • Startups and funds will report on the composition of their workforce noting various factors. This won’t be just noting age, gender, and race. It will also note socioeconomic origin, educational attainment, and even sexual orientation to see if there’s bias against hiring members of the LGBT community. Other factors will include the status in regards to disabilities, immigration, and military service veteran. Even the tenure at a firm will be noted.
  • The signatories also will come up with a proper code of conduct centered on diversity and inclusion, and diversity will be practiced in corporate hiring.

Good Business Sense

While many who signed PledgeLA did so out of a sense of moral and ethical rightness, it also makes good business sense to emphasize diversity on corporate hiring practices. A Diverse workgroup brings different points of views when it comes to making decisions. It helps with networking for sources of talent, and the diverse work group can help build a diverse consumer base as well.

LA has now become one of the top 5 US destinations for technology investment and it’s now one of the top tech hubs in the country. The top 100 tech companies in LA and Orange County has reported a 24% increase in employment within the last year.

There are a still a few notable holdouts to PledgeLA, however. Tesla and SpaceX have not yet signed on, and nor has Snap. But LA is an inherently diverse area, and such a diversity must be maintained in the tech workplace as well.

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Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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Military-Grade Encryption VPN Device Created by Former JPL Mechanical Engineers

Military-Grade Encryption VPN Device Created by LA Mechanical Engineers from JPL

Many savvy smartphones, tablet, and laptop users utilize a virtual private network (VPN) to surf anonymously, stay protected from malware, and avoid censorship, among others. But why stop there? There’s a new gadget that can provide these useful services, as well as allow individuals and organizations secure and remote access to their home and office networks.

The izzbie ONE is an all-in-one VPN device that offers a personal cloud, online security, and a private local area network. This means that as you access your private network at home or in the office, your online activities will be protected without encryption.  

Plus, there’s no need to go through third-party providers, such as Apple and Dropbox. These providers can encrypt files and messages but keep in mind that these can still be hacked in theory.

With izzbie ONE, you can also access geo-restricted websites and their contents, as is the case with the strict censorship laws in China. Basically, it’s a useful tool for accessing the Internet without your location determining the content you can see.  

You will then be able to enjoy complete privacy and safety online. No wonder that it’s a device gaining more acceptance among digital nomads, the entrepreneurs running their own businesses on the road.

The izzbie ONE is a small black box device with plug-and-play features. Just plug it into your router using an Ethernet connection, go to your computer’s control panel, and add the internal IP addresses of the items that will be connected.

These can be your network attached storage (NAS), IP cameras, video game devices, and wireless printers. You can connect as many local networks as you want, too. You can, for example, print a paper from your laptop while in a hotel to your printer at home.

You may also build a virtual mesh network with multiple locations provided these are all connected to izzbie ONE. Think of it as being in all or any of these locations without physically being there.

Author Details
Editor-In-Chief
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

john@lastartups.com
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Editor-In-Chief
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

john@lastartups.com

How Virtual Reality Can Boost Your Business

How Virtual Reality Can Boost Your Business

It seems like only a few years ago when the idea of actual virtual reality was the stuff of science fiction movies. Of course, there were some niche products here and there, but VR tech was generally considered high tech and prohibitively expensive.

But nowadays, virtual reality and augmented reality are much more viable, and the growth of this VR/AR market has been phenomenal. Expert projections for 2019 have the VR market for hardware and software growing to $12.1 billion, and that’s double from last year’s market. It’s estimated that its growth can reach up to $40 billion.

Of course, it may seem like this isn’t terribly relevant news for your business if you’re not participating directly in the VR/AR market. Yet even then, this technology can still help your business as it can be used for your marketing.

Budget Considerations

You may be doubtful about the realistic use of VR marketing due to your wariness about the costs. But just like for the PC, the mobile phone, and the LED TVs, prices have dropped for the hardware. It not as expensive as it was when the first VT products came out.

Because of the comparative cheapness of the hardware, consumer interest in these items has increased. So now you can develop a VR/AR app that’s related to the products and services you offer, and you’ll have plenty of consumers to pitch to.

Creative Ways of Using VR/AR

Many notable business organizations have made use of this technology to promote their brand and their business. The most famous examples include:

VR stories. It’s well known that even iconic print brands like the New York Times have found it difficult to maintain their status in the digital age. Subscriptions to actual newspapers have alarmingly dropped and their readerships have serious fallen. So, of course, the NY Times has adapted to the new reality by having online editions.

Of course, to maintain their iconic status they have to take the lead in the industry, and they’ve done very well with that by releasing VR news reports and stories. Now they have an app that lets you use the Samsung Gear VR or the Daydream View to experience 360-degree reality. Now you don’t have to read about Iraqi forces fighting against ISIS, or even watch news reports on TV. Instead, you can use the VR app so that it seems like you’re alongside the Iraqi troops.

VR music videos. Artists have long used music videos to promote their singles and albums. But Bjork has been just as experimental with here videos as she is with her music. She has enabled VR users to be transported into her music videos, and this has certainly boosted her album sales.

Trying things out. What would a piece of furniture actually look like when it’s in your living room? Now you don’t have to imagine thanks to the Ikea AR app, which lets you to actually see for yourself. The app lets you pick among the Ikea products and then you can use your smartphone camera to point at the space where you want to place the furniture.

The possibilities are almost endless, and it’s a new horizon for marketing. Now you’re not limited by text, images, or even videos. With VR/AR, marketing is now a much different reality.

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

Crucial Blockchain Skills Needed to Transform Your Business

Crucial Blockchain Skills Needed to Transform Your Business

It’s been said that Blockchain technology is poised to transform and disrupt the entire landscape of businesses if it ever goes mainstream. More and more businesses have realized the advantages of using Blockchain, with the number of Blockchain-related job postings in 2017 increasing by more than 6.3 times what the demand was in 2015. The problem is that there aren’t enough blockchain developers out there, with 14 job postings for each developer. Most of these developers are basically self-taught.

So if you’re going to make use of this exciting new technology, you may have to educate your own developers yourself.

What’s Blockchain?

Blockchain is basically a digital ledger that keeps a record of all the transactions that it monitors. These transactions are stored in chronological order, and they’re pretty much permanent. They can’t be changed and they’re even impervious to hacking.

This is why it’s used for cryptocurrency transactions like for Bitcoin. Now each party won’t have to store their own version of a transaction in their database. Now each party can instead consult the same ledger for more accurate information, which is recorded in real time.

How Can It Help Your Business?

Walmart provides the template that showcases the benefits of blockchain even for non-cryptocurrency transactions. Its effect on supply chain management is revolutionary.

Walmart gets its food supplies from various sources, including China. Their blockchain program tracks all these food products as they move up the chain, from the farmer to the food processor, to the food distributors and on to the retail stores.

So if there’s a report that a retail store has sold contaminated goods, Walmart can then trace back the origins of the food product and easily find out where it came from and where it became contaminated. Conversely, if a farmer reports that their food products have been contaminated, then they can be traced to their current locations and pulled off the shelves.

Before blockchain, tracking the movement of the food products across the supply chain would have involved checking various systems and going over numerous documents on paper. Now with blockchain, tracing the provenance of a product can take only minutes or even seconds. It’s that efficient.

Skills Your Developers Will Need

Yes, they will need skills like the ability to prioritize tasks, teamwork, and time management. But for the most part your developers will need the following:

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in Engineering or Computer Science.
  • At least 2 years of professional experience working as a software engineer. It’s much better if this experience was gained in the finance sector.
  • Familiarity with ledgers, consensus methods, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies in general.
  • Formidable proficiency in threat analytics, anomaly detection, and performance management.
  • Expert grasp of algorithms, data structures, cryptography, and data security, and decentralized technologies.
  • Expert coding skills with any of the following languages: Go, C, C++, Java, or Python.
  • Familiarity with distributed storage such as RDBMS or NoSQL.
  • Some experience in producing blockchain frameworks and business applications.

There are numerous online courses that can help, and you should start enrolling your developers in those programs.

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.