Data Sheet—Thursday, February 9, 2017
Technology enthusiasts often talk about its transformative powers. Tech’s power to transform, however, is severely limited when disadvantaged students don’t learn the basic skills they need to succeed in a tech career.
Enter ScriptEd, a nonprofit that’s teaching teenagers in 31 high schools in New York City how to code. The group recently expanded to San Francisco, where it is up and running in three high schools. ScriptEd recruits professional software developers to teach coding as it’s practiced in real-world engineering departments. Then it finds companies willing to provide summer internships for the students. The result is the creation of an opportunity for young people who never would have thought of a career in computers. Building on a course at their own school they get a shot at joining the future—and more importantly, the middle class.
I attended a dinner Wednesday in San Francisco hosted by Josh Silverman, a former president of American Express and one-time CEO of Skype, who is ScriptEd’s chairman; and Maurya Couvares, the organization’s executive director. They painted a compelling picture of what the group can accomplish. Most U.S. public schools don’t award credit for computer science classes. Too many students ScriptEd encounters have never had a coding experience. In return for signing up, ScriptEd promises them a lucrative summer internship.
A host of companies already provides internships to ScriptEd students, including About.com, Razorfish, Rent the Runway, and Sailthru. But the nonprofit needs more, especially in San Francisco. (It prefers that companies offer positions to at least two students so each has a buddy.) It also is looking for volunteers willing to commit to a rigorous program of learning how to teach coding to high schoolers. (Being a good coder and teaching it to teenagers are two different things.)
Unsurprisingly, ScriptEd also needs money. But by Silicon Valley’s standards, it doesn’t need much. Silverman says the group is looking for $300,000 to fund its expansion in San Francisco. The sad truth is that in the heart of the technology business too many students won’t ever learn to code. ScriptEd is doing its best to change that.
Intel pledges $7 billion to build another Arizona chip factory. It's been quite a week for the chip giant, which made a SuperBowl splash with its futuristic drones. CEO Brian Krzanich paid a visit to the White House on Wednesday, where he disclosed the company's plan to complete construction of its third plant in the state within the next several years.
Intel actually announced the facility, which will create about 3,000 long-term jobs, several years ago but delayed it because of uncertainty surrounding personal computer sales.
Keep your eye out for more Intel musings on Thursday, when the company is set to meet with analysts for its annual update. Fortune's Aaron Pressman weighs in on what to expect.
BITS AND BYTES
Twitter reports its slowest growth since going public. The social media network missed analysts' expectations for revenue growth and user additions during the fourth quarter, as advertising sales slumped. On the upside, new research shows that President Trump's liberal use of the platform as a bully pulpit is reviving sign-ups. (Reuters, Fortune)
Snap Inc. signs big contract with Amazon's cloud division. The messaging app's IPO documents revealed its big dependence on Google's cloud services operation, which it will pay $2 billion over the next five years to run its services. In an updated filing made public early Thursday, Snap revealed that it's also relying heavily on Amazon Web Services, with a $1 billion contract over roughly the same time period. (Fortune)
You won't find any human employees at these Bank of America branches. The financial services giant has opened three completely automated branches over the past month. The locations feature ATMs and video-conferencing equipment that allows customers to chat with employees at other branches. (Fortune)
GM's autonomous car division is testing a ride-sharing app. Cruise Automation employees are piloting a service for requesting rides in self-driving versions of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle. Cruise was acquired by General Motors last year for $1 billion, alongside the automaker's big investment in Uber's best-known ride-sharing rival, Lyft. (Fortune)
Oracle will settle with ex-employee who questioned cloud accounting practices. The software giant says it has come to terms with a former finance manager who sued it late last year over how the company reports on sales of its cloud applications and services. The case illustrates how difficult it has been for some traditional software companies to represent growth as more of their sales transform from on-site license to cloud services. (Computerworld)
A new hire is reviving speculation about Apple's TV business. Timothy Twerdahl, who used to head Amazon's Fire TV business, has joined Apple as vice president overseeing Apple TV product marketing. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been pretty mum about the company's future plans, but the move could signal progress. (Fortune)
Get ready for an onslaught of smartwatches. The next version of Google's Android operating system is due Friday, and U.S. carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are announcing deals on wrist-worn devices that run it. BTW, even though Apple doesn't share sales figures for Apple Watch, new data suggests it sold 6 million last quarter. (Fortune, Fortune)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
GE Wants 5,000 More Women to Launch Their Tech Careers There, by Lucinda Shen
Why Your Company Could Be Wrong About Cyber Risks, by Geoffrey Smith
Facebook Takes Steps to Ban Discriminatory Ads, by Jonathan Vanian
Tesla Eyes India, by Kirsten Korosec
Can Border Agents Ask for Your Facebook Feed? by Jeff John Roberts
Why Facebook Could Be Snapchat's Biggest Threat, by Sunny Dhillon
ONE MORE THING
This is what makes Nike's self-lacing sneakers work. The company's $720 HyperAdapt 1.0 may look like ordinary athletic shoes, but each pair is chock-full of sensors that dictate and adjust the fit automatically—without requiring the wearer to bend over. (Fortune)