Light Phone’s founders discuss life beyond the smartphone – gpgmail


For a seemingly tough pitch, Light has had little trouble getting noticed. The company has run two successful crowdfunding campaigns for a pair of minimalist phones designed to augment or replace the smartphone. Today the startup announced that it will be shipping the second version of the handset, which introduces a handful of features back into the product, like texting.

Ahead of the launch, we spoke to Light’s founders, Kaiwei Tang and Joe Hollier, about funding, feature glut and the future of the handset.

How it all began

Brian Heater: The project essentially started as an in-house at Google, is that correct?

Kaiwei Tang: We met in 2014 in Google’s incubator called 30 Weeks. That’s where we met and started talking about Light Phone eventually.

Joe Hollier: 30 Weeks program was an experiment that came out of the Google creative lab, and their hypothesis was that if given the right resources, guidance, designers might be able to create new creative startups, and that designers should be on the founding table of companies.

So their hypothesis was that we as designers would be able to imagine a new going to startup in the software application space, and then through designing the end product, which is how the Google creative lab works, we’d be able to inspire the engineers and make the funding investors that we would need to make the product a reality.

Brian: What did you see in the market that wasn’t being fulfilled by countless different smartphone companies?

Joe: People were feeling overwhelmed by their smartphone and craving some escape, and we didn’t really see an escape.


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Pinterest starts displaying information from health organizations for searches related to vaccines – gpgmail


As part of its efforts against health misinformation, Pinterest is now displaying information from public health organizations for keywords like “measles” or “vaccine safety.” The social media platform had previously blocked vaccination-related search terms, but a new announcement says the company wants to close the “data void” that results from false information being spread more widely than accurate information.

“What we and others have observed is an enthusiasm gap between those creating and disseminating harmful health misinformation and those creating resources rooted in settled science,” wrote Ifeoma Ozoma, Pinterest’s public policy and social impact manager. “Generally, there’s more accessible and visually compelling health misinformation than science-based journal articles on the virtues of vaccinations. In addition, we’ve found that some purveyors of health misinformation have a financial incentive.”

Pinterest search results for health-related keywords will now display information from the World Health Organization, the Vaccine Safety Net (created by WHO to provide vaccine information in different languages), the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers of Disease Control.

In addition, an information card on top of the results notifies users that “pins about this topic often violate our Community Guidelines, which prohibit harmful medical misinformation. Because of this, we’ve limited search results to Pins from internationally-recognized health organizations. If you’re looking for medical advice, please contact a healthcare provider.”

Users also won’t see recommendations or comments on Pins in these search results. “We’re taking this approach because we believe that showing vaccine misinformation alongside resources from public health experts isn’t responsible,” said Ozoma.

The new search feature is currently available in English on Pinterest’s website and iPhone and Android apps and will be expanded into other languages. Ozoma wrote that Pinterest will focus on vaccine-related searches first but “keep evolving our list of terms for which we block medical misinformation and provide expert advice as people try to get around our safeguards. We’ll also continue to remove this content and accounts that spread it from our service.”

Importantly for a visually-based platform, Pinterest, which has more than 300 million visitors a month, is also developing resources that health organizations can use to create eye-catching pins for text-based information.

Once filled with anti-vaccine pins (in 2016, researchers found that most vaccine-related posts on Pinterest contained anti-vaccine sentiment), Pinterest has become one of the most active social media platforms in terms of stemming the spread of misinformation about vaccines. In 2017, it began banning pins with “anti-vaccination advice,” which have always been prohibited by its advertising policies.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have also begun taking measures to stop the proliferation of anti-vaccine content, which has contributed to the return of diseases like measles around the world. In the U.S., the Centers of Disease Control said that between January 1 and August 22, 1,215 cases of measles were confirmed, the greatest number of cases reported in the country since 1992, and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.


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Reports say White House has drafted an order putting the FCC in charge of monitoring social media – gpgmail


In the executive order, the White House says it received more than 15,000 complaints about censorship by the technology platforms. The order also includes an offer to share the complaints with the Federal Trade Commission.

As part of the order, the Federal Trade Commission would be required to open a public complaint docket and coordinate with the Federal Communications Commission on investigations of how technology companies curate their platforms — and whether that curation is politically agnostic.

Under the proposed rule, any company whose monthly user base includes more than one-eighth of the U.S. population would be subject to oversight by the regulatory agencies. A roster of companies subject to the new scrutiny would include Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Snap and Pinterest .

At issue is how broadly or narrowly companies are protected under the Communications Decency Act, which was part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Social media companies use the Act to shield against liability for the posts, videos or articles that are uploaded from individual users or third parties.

The Trump administration aren’t the only politicians in Washington are focused on the laws that shield social media platforms from legal liability. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took technology companies to task earlier this year in an interview with Recode.

The criticisms may come from different sides of the political spectrum, but their focus on the ways in which tech companies could use Section 230 of the Act is the same.

The White House’s executive order would ask the FCC to disqualify social media companies from immunity if they remove or limit the dissemination of posts without first notifying the user or third party that posted the material, or if the decision from the companies is deemed anti-competitive or unfair.

The FTC and FCC had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.


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A.Capital Partners, founded by Ronny Conway, targets $140 million for its third fund – gpgmail


Silicon Valley investor Ronny Conway is raising his third early-stage venture fund, shows a new SEC filing that states the fund’s target is $140 million and that the first sale has yet to occur.

The now six-year-old firm, A.Capital, focuses on both consumer and enterprise tech, and has offices in Menlo Park and San Francisco.

Among the many brand-name companies in its portfolio are Coinbase, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Reddit. (You can find its other investments here.)

Conway led the seed-stage program of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) for roughly four years in its earliest days and left in 2013 to raise his debut fund, which closed with $51 million in capital commitments. He also raised two, smaller parallel funds at the time.

According to SEC filings, he sought out $140 million for his second fund, though he never announced its close.

A.Capital is today run by Conway, along with General Partner Ramu Arunachalam (also formerly of a16z) and Kartik Talwar, who worked previously with Conway’s brother, Topher, and his famed father, Ron, at their separate venture firm, SV Angel.

Conway maintains a far lower profile than his father in particular, who throughout his venture career has nurtured relationships not only with founders but with tech reporters and local politicians.

Though now ancient history in Silicon Valley years, Ronny Conway was credited with introducing Andreessen Horowitz to Instagram during its earliest days.

Conway, a former Googler, met Instagram cofounder Kevin System in the several years when he, too, worked for the search giant, beginning in 2006. It turned out to be a highly worthwhile introduction, though it could have been even lucrative for a16z.

Though the firm made a seed-stage bet on the what was then a far simpler mobile photo-sharing app, a16z never followed up with another check because of investment in another photo-sharing startup that would eventually flounder (PicPlz).

It was a sensitive issue at the time for a16z, with some noting its missed opportunity. In fact, Ben Horowitz later felt compelled to write in a blog post that Andreessen Horowitz made $78 million from its $250,000 seed investment in Instagram when Facebook acquired it $1 billion in 2012.


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