Historic Statement By Tech Industry Leaders to Legislators 

I wanted to share this press release with all of you. I have never been prouder of the tech industry as I am today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEApril 1, 2015
Stephen Peters | stephen.peters@hrc.org | 202-423-2860

Tech Industry Leaders Make Unprecedented & Historic Joint Statement to Legislators: Add LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections to Civil Rights Laws

WASHINGTON – Today, in response to a host of anti-LGBT bills pending or signed in to law in states around the country, tech industry leaders signed an unprecedented joint statement supporting the addition of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people to civil rights laws. Other leaders are also expected to sign on later today.

“This unprecedented and historic effort by the giants of the tech industry should be a clarion call to policymakers that discriminating against LGBT people is not acceptable in today’s marketplace of ideas,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.“These leaders have made it clear: if states want high tech jobs, they must put fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections in place immediately.”

“If anything can be learned from the battle for fairness and equality in Indiana, Arkansas, and other states, it’s that LGBT people deserve to be protected from unjust discrimination,” said Max Levchin, CEO of Affirm, and the organizer of the joint statement. “We are proud to stand on the side of liberty and justice and call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in non-discrimination protections. This will ensure that no one faces discrimination while everyone preserves their right to live out their faith.”

Joint Statement from Tech Industry Leaders

The values of diversity, fairness and equality are central to our industry. These values fuel creativity and inspiration, and those in turn make the U.S. technology sector the most admired in the world today.

We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk. The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake.

Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws. No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service or housing because of who they are or whom they love.

However, right now those values are being called into question in states across the country. In more than twenty states, legislatures are considering legislation that could empower individuals or businesses to discriminate against LGBT people by denying them service if it they felt it violated their religious beliefs.

To ensure no one faces discrimination and ensure everyone preserves their right to live out their faith, we call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to their civil rights laws and to explicitly forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone.

Anything less will only serve to place barriers between people, create hurdles to creativity and inclusion, and smother the kind of open and transparent society that is necessary to create the jobs of the future. Discrimination is bad for business and that’s why we’ve taken the time to join this joint statement.

Sincerely,

Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm
Mark Pincus, Chairman, Zynga
Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp
Marc Benioff, CEO, SalesForce
Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square
Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
Joe Green, CEO, Lyft
Brian Chesky, CEO, AirBnB
Joe Gebbia, CPO, AirBnB
Nathan Blecharczyk, CTO, AirBnB
Ron Conway, CEO, Axon JuriMed Group LLC
John Donahoe, CEO, Ebay
Paul Graham, CoFounder, YCombinator
Rich Barton, Chairman, Zillow Group
Chad Hurley, CEO, Mixbit
Adora Cheung, CEO, Homejoy
Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote
Trevor Traina, CEO, IfOnly
Nirav Tolia, CEO, NextDoor
Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson
Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip
Joe Lonsdale, CEO, Formation 8
Thomas Layton, Chairman, Elance-odesk
Fabio Rosati, CEO, Elance-odesk
Dave Morin, CEO, Path
Mark Goldstein, Chairman, BackOps
Kevin Rose, CEO, North Technologies
Yves Behar, CCO, Jawbone
Padmasree Warrior, CTSO, Cisco Systems
Tony Conrad, CEO, about.me
Sunil Paul, CEO, Sidecar
Michael Moritz, Chairman, Sequoia Capital
Dan Schulman, President, PayPal
Devin Wenig, President, eBay Marketplaces
Robert Hohman, CEO, Glassdoor
Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and Chair, Emerson Collective
Mohan Warrior, CEO, Alphalight
David Spector, CIO, Penny Mac
Shervin Pishevar, CoFounder, Sherpa Ventures

 

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


 

Coloring Books For Adults 

   

       

Illustrations from Barnes and Noble and Amazon 

As a youngster, my happiest days was when I was coloring in a coloring book. I would go into a zone that was peaceful, full of hope, and very mysterious. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, as senior adults, if we could experience some of that same euphoria? Apparently, I’m not the only senior who wants an hour or two every few days to participate in this glorious non-digital exercise. 

According to a salesman at Book Soup, West Hollywood, CA,  there has been a significant run on coloring books for adults. I first read about the idea in the New York Times on Sunday when they ran a major feature on Johanna Basford’s coloring book for adults called “Secret Garden.” It’s a 96-page collection of elaborate black-and-white ink drawings of flowers, leaves, trees and birds. 

   

Images: Digitalartsonline.uk


I was in LA at the time so I rushed over to Book Soup on Sunset Blvd. to buy whatever copies I could get my hands on. I was so disappointed to learn that the coloring books were already sold out. I was told that Basford and her publisher, Laurence King Publishing, had no idea that the New York Times article was going to run on that day. They had no extra time to issue additional copies so everything in stock sold out.

“Secret Garden” has sold 1.4 million copies in 22 languages.  Basford’s newest coloring book, “Enchanted Forest,”‘ has already sold 226,000 copies. Basford is 31 year old illustrator from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 

The Book Soup salesman told me that fans buy several books at a time. I can understand why.  If you make s mistake, you can start all over again. He also said there are a few other publishers that have coloring books for adults but I decided to wait for Basford’s illustrations.  

Tomorrow, I search for colored pencils.
 
   

 


Barbie Goes Digital 

Six months from now, you will be able to buy a Barbie for the really young ones in your life that will be able to have a conversation with them. We are entering the era of a whole new world of digital toys. I’m not sure many of you are going to like, it but you don’t have much choice. Most toys in the future will be digitally-enabled. 

Mattel plans to introduce Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi enabled version of their iconic doll, right after the summer. Barbie will be using ToyTalk’s technology system “to analyze a child’s speech and produce relevant responses,” according to the company’s press releases.

ToyTalk of San Francisco creates conversational characters for children. Founded in 2011, ToyTalk is known for its animated conversational apps, Winston Show and SpeakaZoo. The apps help young children “engage in complex dialogue with a menagerie of make-believe characters.” 

Read about what the toy industry and early childhood educators think about Mattel’s new Barbie. The New York Times had a great piece on this development. 

Photos From Maui

For the past week, I’ve been writing to you from Maui. I’m here with Eliot, daughter Whitney, her boyfriend, Fredrick, and cousins Darren, Larry, Beth, Jeff, and Hanna. We try to go away together at least once a year, plus see each other Thanksgiving time at the Jeff Young’s extravaganza feast. 

Other cousins are welcome to join in at any time. The charter group may come and go too depending on schedules but we try to pick a date far enough out that everyone can plan ahead.  

Everyone has heavy work schedules so we all are equipped with the devices that keep us connected. Whitney is the only one who is completely disconnected. She doesn’t believe in mixing Maui with work. Her outgoing email message is:

“Aloha! I am on a mindful vacation in Maui, without phone or computer, and won’t be checking email until I return on March 30. If this is an urgent matter, you may contact my assistant. He will be able to reach me.”

The rest of us don’t mind checking in with the office a few times a day. As far as I’m concerned, I prefer working from the road. Otherwise, I could never go away. I’m taking advantage of the Interent. I love my virtual office existence and feel blessed that I’m living in a time that this is possible. 

Twice this week,  I had to wake up at 4:30am and 5:30am for conference calls. I also answered emails and wrote several pitch letters. I scored a few major editorial hits and wrote new DigiDame everyday.

I didn’t miss a meal or an activity with the family. I slept six hours a night and read several newspapers a day. Somehow you learn to pace yourself. Yes, there are times when it’s stressful but many things on vacation can be challenging. Whitney, Fredrick, Larry and Darren went zip lining today. That would make my BP go haywire. 

Checking emails is a piece of cake. I’m on the ground, not suspended a thousand feet over a waterfall. I know what I can handle. Mixing work and pleasure is my honor in this day of digital conveniences.  

  

 

  

 

  

     

  

 

   

       

  

A New Era In Broadcasting 

A new era has entered the world of broadcasting. It’s called live-streaming. I may finally get my chance at on-air reporting. This is all made possible because of two new apps, Periscope and Meerkat. They allow you to broadcast live.  

Meerkat and Periscope can only be broadcasted live when there is a real time distribution platform like Twitter. There will be plenty of other formats in the future.

The amazing thing about live streaming is that your viewers are watching your broadcast as you are taping. These two apps are in tremendous competition with each other because this is the future of Internet broadcasting. 

Watch the videos for a full explanation. Twitter owns Periscope but don’t discount Meerkat. They both have unique features that make each of them very attractive. 

Tomorrow I will tell you about the tremendous funding they are both attracting. 

The war has just begun!!!

Apple – iOS 8 – Health

     

If you upgraded to Apple iOS 8 on your iPhone, you should be taking advantage of the Health app that was provided free of charge. I believe Android folks have had a similar app for quite sometime.

I didn’t even know it was there until my friend told me about it. I saw it but never paid attention to it.  Then I noticed that my friend wasn’t wearing a Fitbit of any kind anymore. I asked him why and, at first, he was coy about it. 

Annoying me, wouldn’t let up, until one day he said that he uses the iPhone health app now because it offers many of the features found in the all of the fitness gadgets.

I really didn’t believe him until I started using it myself. The apple health app gives you heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar, cholesterol, all in one place. There is also a place to store all of your important health information: blood type, allergies, etc. 

There is so much more to read about the Apple health app. Click here.


Zya’s Ditty

 I’m always trying to think of ways people my age can subtlety appear cool to their offspring, and their offspring (grandchildren). 

The app I’m about to tell you about is a step in the right direction. “Ditty” (no relation to Sean Combs) let’s you take a message and turn it into a video and onscreen lyrics. The company behind this new way to send messages is Zya.

It’s very simple to use.  You pick one of the track offerings, type in a message up to 70 characters, and magically your text will turn into a song. You have just produced a “ditty.” 

“Ditty’s” can be sent on Facebook Messenger, Instagram, vine, email, whatever. It’s available on all smartphone formats

Instagram’s New Photo App

    

 

The one kind of art that I loved the most over the years is the collage. There is something about a collage that makes me want to stop and study the composition for long periods of time. I think it is the mystery that a collage presents. The more you look, the more you see.

Good news for everyone with an iPhone. Instagram just introduced a new collage app called Layout. An Android version will be coming soon. 

Layout let’s you create photo collages from images you have stored on your camera roll. Once you create a collage, you can save it to your camera roll as well.

Look at the collages I created just before I wrote this post. There are 10 different layouts to choose from. One of the layouts lets you choose up to nine photos.

Instagram has 300 million users. The company said 20 per cent of their overall users already use a third party collage app to post photos. Instagram is always looking for new ways to keep their clientele happy. This is going to be a lot of fun. 

The Layout app also has a photo booth feature that takes four pictures in rapid fire. You can also mirror images. This really let’s you get creative.

Your imagination is going to run wild. I hope you will send me some of the collages you create. 

A Whole New Way To Bond With Kids/Grandchildren 

       

So many of you complain that digital gadgets are not helping the children of today use their imagination. With Atsushi Shiraishi’s new wearable jungle gym, interfamily bonding has taken on a whole new meaning, 

 The leather-and-rope contraption is perfect for young children to cling to you while you represent the stronger than life figure to them.  

Shiraishi, a student at Tama Art University in Japan, created this creative wearable gym for his thesis but plans to sell it in the upcoming months. Remember you saw it here first. It is called AthleTitti (sounds strange to me).