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posted by LaminatorX on Sunday October 05 2014, @11:54PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the they-pay-me-in-cred dept.

LinkedIn has published its third annual list of the top ten startups (fewer than 500 employees) in Silicon Valley most attractive to IT professionals, based on analysis of views and follows of company Linkedin pages, and pages of company employees, made by site members residing in the USA or Canada during the past year.

This year's top ten were Lytro (plenoptic cameras), Theranos (fingerstick blood tests), Fitbit (wearable fitness trackers), Coursera (online learning), Minted (greeting cards and wedding invitations), Wealthfront (investment management for individuals), Bromium (hypervisor-based security software), Twilio (cloud-based telephony), Egnyte (enterprise file storage), and Leap Motion (gesture user interface).

fyamuse: the LinkedIn blogger coaxed the honorees to choose theme songs, each of which are linked in TFA to YouTube videos.

Only one of the top ten (Coursera) was a repeat from last year's list. So what happened to the others? The answer is pretty impressive: three of the ten went public, while six others now have valuations between 1 and 10 billion USD.

Related Stories

Google Reportedly Acquires Lytro, Which Made Refocusable Light Field Cameras 14 comments

Google is reportedly acquiring Lytro, a company that made light field cameras and hoped to pivot to virtual reality video capture. Google appears to have gotten a good (or at least cheap) deal:

Multiple sources tell us that Google is acquiring Lytro, the imaging startup that began as a ground-breaking camera company for consumers before pivoting to use its depth-data, light-field technology in VR.

One source described the deal as an "asset sale" with Lytro going for no more than $40 million. Another source said the price was even lower: $25 million. A third source tells us that not all employees are coming over with the company's technology: some have already received severance and parted ways with the company, and others have simply left. Assets would presumably also include Lytro's 59 patents related to light-field and other digital imaging technology.

The sale would be far from a big win for Lytro and its backers. The startup has raised just over $200 million in funding and was valued at around $360 million after its last round in 2017, according to data from PitchBook.

Despite a lot of hype, Lytro had little success with its expensive, ergonomically challenged, and low resolution light field cameras for consumers.

Also at 9to5Google and Engadget.

Related: LinkedIn's Top 10 Silicon Valley Startups for 'Talent Brand' - Note: Both Lytro and Theranos are on the list.
A Pocket Camera with Many Eyes - Inside the Development of Light


Original Submission

Judge in Theranos Fraud Case Orders 14-Hour Psychological Test for Holmes 43 comments

Judge in Theranos fraud case orders 14-hour psychological test for Holmes:

Holmes and Theranos' former president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani were charged in June 2018 with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

[...] According to the court document filed this week[*], Holmes—who is now being tried separately from Balwani—notified the court last December that she plans to submit "expert evidence relating to a mental disease or defect or any other mental condition" that has bearing on the issue of guilt. The expert providing such evidence was named in the document as psychologist Mindy Mechanic, of California State University, Fullerton.

According to Mechanic's faculty website, she focuses on "psychosocial consequences of violence, trauma, and victimization with an emphasis on violence against women and other forms of interpersonal violence." The site also notes that Mechanic "frequently provides expert testimony in complex legal cases involving interpersonal violence."

[...] In response to Holmes' plans to provide mental health evidence, federal prosecutors requested that they should also be able to examine Holmes' mental state and provide their own psychiatric evidence in court as a fair rebuttal.

[...] The judge in the case, US District Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California, agreed with the prosecutors. As such, he ordered Holmes to undergo up to 14 hours of psychological testing and psychiatric evaluation by two government-appointed doctors over the course of two consecutive days. Davila also ordered that the government's evaluation of Holmes be recorded on video—over Holmes' objections.

[*] Here is a link to the court document.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @12:05AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @12:05AM (#102234)

    POP!

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday October 06 2014, @12:33AM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday October 06 2014, @12:33AM (#102242) Homepage

    Sure, the place is a great place to work. Nobody cares about when you leave and come in as long as you get your work done, and the boss himself comes downstairs every Friday to hand out free Giants or Mets tickets (" and have a few more for the wife and kids, we appreciate your hard work! ").

    Then you get bought out.

    First comes the decision that those sturdy parts with specific chemical composition that are made in America are to be sourced from China to cut costs. Product reliability and MTBF both drop as a result, with faceless bureaucrats handing out big bonuses to each other and slapping each other on the back to celebrate the cost-savings, laughing that, " Our products lasted too long anyway. The shorter they last, the more they will buy!" The corporate overlords then decide that they need to keep any eye on their common workers to maximize their productivity, so they hire more middle-managers coming around and asking inane questions every 5 minutes, letting you know you're being watched. And by the way, you won't be getting those nice bonuses you were previously getting because "the economy is bad." No more free ballgame tickets are handed out as the boss has already either bailed or will be forced out after the data analysts and corporate-sponsored VP's quantify the inner workings of the company. The HR staff was forced out shortly after the acquisition, too, for being too "employee-centric." Next come all of the buzzwords - 5-S, Lean, Kaizen, and the installation of Andon lights everywhere to prepare workers for the sweatshop mindset.

    For "security" reasons, all employees will now have to badge-access the building and all badge access will be recorded. Supervisors will be pressured to start "hinting politely" that employees are expected to be in early and leave late, and will reference badge accesses at specific times as an intimidation tactic. It is approximately at this point that the often well-liked veterans will either leave or be under pressure to leave, and that all floor employees are continually replaced with temporary employees. Strong procedures, rather than strong players, are emphasized due to the high turnover rate as temps are let go and replaced with another when their 9-month contracts expire. Comfortable workstations are replaced with wireframe and standup workstations to discourage employees from being too comfortable where they sit. Unrealistic metrics are introduced to demonstrate that no employee is worthy of receiving raises and to encourage them to work ever harder in pursuit of those fruitless goals. Quality continues to drop as the pressure to ship overrides quality at all levels, from engineering all the way down to the most menial wrench-turner. By now the customer has become vocally aware of the company's declining quality, and competition has sprung up due to expiring patents up for grabs.

    Meanwhile, morale is at an all-time low, so nobody takes pride in their work as the pressure to ship still takes precedence over everything else, as the upper-management begins to offer more concessions on the Customer Service end to ensure sales. Metrics encourage predatory behaviour and discourage interdepartmental cooperation, so now every interdepartmental task which previously took days now takes weeks and involves mediation from upper management. The crushing beareaucracy impedes agility and imposes ever more restrictions in the same of quality and standardization even as the quality of the products is openly declared secondary to sales and shipments.

    Eventually the company is in life-support mode. Its functions are outsourced to further cut costs, its engineering and development staff reduced to a skeleton crew, with a vast majority of the customer base having already moved on to the alternatives which presented themselves in the face for the corporations wanton disregard for what their customers actually thought. Support and charity from friendly congressmen granting them contracts are the only things keeping them afloat at this point.

    And then, the whole cycle begins again at the next place. I know engineers who have spent their entire careers working for awesome startups and then bailing shortly after the buyouts.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @09:15AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @09:15AM (#102343)

      beareaucracy

      I was with you right up until government by ursine aroma.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @10:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @10:51PM (#102752)

      This is depressingly spot-on, at least from my anecdotal experience. My wife's previous job was working for a small company (200-ish employees) run by the original owner. The owner cared about the company and its people. There were family-friendly events such as a summer picnic, Holiday party, etc. The company was moderately profitable. The owner went into retirement by selling it to a multi-billion dollar corporation. They brought in a new CEO who was going to take the company into a new and exciting era. The first year was spent doing the bullshit CEO-ego-appeasing crap like new corporate colors, logo, slogan, etc. Next came the cost-cutting to show the parent company what a great job she was doing. They did that rank everyone from 1 to 3 thing and got rid of almost a third of the company (right before the Holidays too). They apparently got rid of everyone who had any knowledge of one of their legacy products, then tried to hire some of them back (can you say "fuck off"?).

      The atmosphere became poisonous enough that some VPs left without having another job to go to. Fortunately my wife got a new job because they are bleeding employees faster than they are losing clients. It is humorous to read a time series of their reviews on Glass Door. Apparently the CEO encouraged them to post positive reviews on that site (within a five day span, seven positive posts were made that lifted the company approval rating from 0 to 21%). Although my wife is happy to be out of that place, it saddens her to see a good company she cared about get run into the ground.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 07 2014, @05:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 07 2014, @05:20AM (#102881)

      Parent post paints a vividly grim picture that is all too true.

      I've been 'behind the curtain' doing IT work in ad-hoc, informal business settings that were ran like that!

      All that was missing in the 'badge part' was mentioning the close monitoring of employee's bathroom/lunch breaks (Implication from management: "What? Do you REALLY think we will pay you to sit on your @$$ and LITERALLY stuff your piehole with food and later $#!+ it out your backdoor? FVCK NO! ")

      So those badges are designed to automatically clock you in/out as you pass through the doorway to the bathroom/breakroom. Any attempt to 'game' the 'badge system' will be deemed fraud and subject the offender to summary job termination with subsequent automatic loss of any and all accrued retirement benefits -- a great way to 'BELL' [everything2.com] someone nearing retirement age! :P.

      The EASIEST way to avoid 'gaming' the badges is to require all hourly employees to be 'chipped' [wikipedia.org] in order to work at such a company.

      But that paves the way to very bad things.... [biblehub.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @01:14AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @01:14AM (#102246)

    There's quite a lot of buzz about Theranos [fortune.com] in particular, which is starting to disrupt the lab testing portion (est $70 billion) of the health care industry. The founder and CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, looks likely to replace Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg, and Meg Whitman as the Alpha-most Female in Silicon Valley. She was the prime mover for her company, not a smooth talking suit that came in when things were well underway.

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday October 06 2014, @01:33AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday October 06 2014, @01:33AM (#102255) Homepage

      Marissa Mayer: " Look how hot I am, I'm even in Vogue magazine! That makes me successful! "
      Sheryl Sandburg: " I'm Jewish. Because of this I'll succeed no matter what happens in America, because it is politically incorrect to point out my flaws and I'll be fast-tracked to the State Department in a couple years! That Zuckerburg is also Jewish has no effect whatsoever on my career. "
      Meg Whitman: " I'm a woman in California and they still haven't made me governor yet. You all are sexist. "

      The bar for female success in Silicon Valley is pretty low, but she still won't get any accolades, even in a population dominated by sex-starved and socially-inept male geeks.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @01:49AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @01:49AM (#102259)

        As Johnny Carson used to say after his monologue (and audience reaction, on good nights): "You're in a good mood tonight".

  • (Score: 2) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Monday October 06 2014, @11:04AM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Monday October 06 2014, @11:04AM (#102359)

    The flaw I see in using LinkedIn page hits to determine top talent is that top talent is not going to invest significant time at LinkedIn because they're too busy. Top talent are the people actually creating new software and hardware. I'd go so far as to say the more top-talent level someone is, the less time the person has to waste on LinkedIn. So this methodology is like finding the best investors by looking at lottery ticket buyers.

    --
    (E-mail me if you want a pizza roll!)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @12:56PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @12:56PM (#102385)

      I'd say it's more like determining the popularity of a programming language by studying clickthru numbers at StackOverflow. The majority of programmers probably don't hang out there, but still, they might read pages on a semi-regular basis as a result of Google searches.