The previous yr was a turbulent one for the tech business.
There was a brand new controversy seemingly each week, whether or not it was Uber’s myriad scandals; extra private knowledge breaches; Russia’s use of social media and different on-line platforms to attempt to influence U.S. voters; growing concerns over tech giants’ energy; and a series of sexual misconduct allegations towards male buyers and firm executives.
Xconomy lately reached out to business and technology leaders from around our network to place 2017 in perspective and look forward. Below are the highlights from our e-mail trade with entrepreneur and investor Dave Balter, a associate with Boston-based Flipside Crypto, a cryptocurrency funding providers agency. (Balter beforehand led the businesses BzzAgent, Smarterer, and Mylestone.)
Xconomy: Have your private patterns of know-how utilization modified because of one thing that occurred in 2017? If so, how?
Dave Balter: Actually, [there was]little or no change in my tech utilization sample. I didn’t flee Uber for Lyft, for instance; not as a result of I don’t assume Uber’s conduct was gross and calculated, however as a result of I all the time discovered the Uber service to be a bit simpler, and their new leadership is working to proper the ship. I’m an enormous fan of loyalty to providers that carry out—and, largely, Uber did for me.
I did, nevertheless, discover an actual shift within the conduct and angle of tech group members based mostly on #MeToo and inappropriate male actions. Many VCs refusing to have closed door conferences or personal drinks with feminine entrepreneurs, and I observed one who refused to place his arms round shoulders or backs in any photographs. More than that, I observed a common, constructive shift in male-to-male banter—much less off-colour joking round, and rather more sensitivity to, our equal feminine counterparts.
X: If you assume public notion concerning the tech business turned for the more severe in 2017, what ought to the business do to rebuild belief in 2018?
DB: Here’s the unlucky fact: the outing of the tech business’s male predatory conduct was surpassed by the leisure and political business’s personal outings. No one talks about Dave McClure anymore as a result of they’re targeted on Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken and Roy Moore. My solely hope is that the give attention to tech wasn’t too brief, that extra individuals come ahead, and that energy dynamics proceed to redefine themselves right into a extra balanced ecosystem.
X: Have you adjusted your funding standards in mild of adjusting public attitudes towards the tech business?
DB: I’m doing a lot much less investing today, as I’ve been focusing as an alternative on the cryptocurrency market. This has nothing to do with public attitudes, simply my very own curiosity itch.
X: What are your predictions for the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors in 2018?
DB: Cryptocurrency is just getting started, to be trustworthy. The [financial]establishments will arrive in full drive in 2018, and that’s going to create much more curiosity and hypothesis. There will probably be a variety of ups and downs, however usually that is nonetheless an excellent time to spend money on the cryptocurrency market.
I do consider we’re going to see a serious shift within the prime cryptocurrencies, as simpler blockchain applied sciences (i.e. Japan’s Cardano) come to market, and we see true utility from numerous tokens. Expect some surprises.