How to make it big in tech and still keep the demons at bay

In a testosterone-laden field, many leaders hide their anxieties to avoid looking weak … but a new culture of openness is growing

At a mentoring session for founders of early-stage startups last year, Asi Sharabi broached a topic rarely discussed – at least frankly and in public – by the tech community: the daunting personal and psychological challenges faced by (often very young) entrepreneurs.

“The biggest challenge on a day-to-day basis is what I call managing your own psychology: the pressure, the anxiety and all the faces you have to put on,” he told a roomful of founders selected to be part of Tech Nation‘s growth programme. “I realised there are a lot of balancing acts to being a founder, especially when we decided to play the venture [capital]-backed game.”

Continue reading… …read more

Silicon Valley’s Saudi ties face fresh scrutiny in wake of Khashoggi affair

SoftBank, the world’s largest tech investment fund, partnered with the Kingdom to pump billions into America’s startups

In December 2016, newly elected Donald Trump pulled a beaming Japanese billionaire named Masayoshi Son into a half-hug in front of cameras and reporters gathered in the golden lobby of Trump Tower. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Trump said with a smile, “this is Masa from SoftBank of Japan, and he has just agreed to invest $50bn into the United States.”

Along with the promise of 50,000 new American jobs, the announcement was considered an early win for the president-elect. But, Son, the CEO of a Tokyo-based telecommunications conglomerate, had bigger ideas. He had already begun solidifying plans to build the largest tech investment fund in history, with an eye on Silicon Valley’s startups.

Continue reading… …read more

‘We’ll have space bots with lasers, killing plants’: the rise of the robot farmer

Tiny automated machines could soon take care of the entire growing process. Fewer chemicals, more efficient – where’s the downside?

In a quiet corner of rural Hampshire, a robot called Rachel is pootling around an overgrown field. With bright orange casing and a smartphone clipped to her back end, she looks like a cross between an expensive toy and the kind of rover used on space missions. Up close, she has four USB ports, a disc-like GPS receiver, and the nuts and bolts of a system called Lidar, which enables her to orient herself using laser beams. She cost around £2,000 to make.

Every three seconds, Rachel takes a closeup photograph of the plants and soil around her, which will build into a forensic map of the field and the wider farm beyond. After 20 minutes or so of this, she is momentarily disturbed by two of the farm’s dogs, unsure what to make of her.

Continue reading… …read more

How do Deliveroo and Uber workers cope with precarious pay?

We talk to those who work in the gig economy about how they manage their finances

How do people cope when they don’t know how much they will earn from one month to the next? A report this week found that three-quarters of all workers do not receive the same pay packet from one month to the next – with the problem most acute for low-paid workers in the gig economy or on zero-hours contracts.

The Resolution Foundation found that for those on the lowest annual incomes, the average monthly fluctuation in pay was £180 – which can make the difference between paying the rent or feeding the family. Many are forced to turn to crippling payday loans or high-cost credit cards to make it through to the end of the month.

Continue reading… …read more