Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood helps listeners understand the business behind the technology that's rewiring our lives. From how tech is changing the nature of work to the unknowns of venture capital to the economics of outer space, this weekday show breaks ideas, telling the stories of modern life through our digital economy. Marketplace Tech is part of the Marketplace portfolio of public radio programs broadcasting nationwide, which additionally includes Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace Weekend. Listen every weekday on-air or online anytime at marketplace.org. From American Public Media. Twitter: @MarketplaceTech
Marketplace Tech with Ben Brock Johnson

Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood

From American Public Media

Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood helps listeners understand the business behind the technology that's rewiring our lives. From how tech is changing the nature of work to the unknowns of venture capital to the economics of outer space, this weekday show breaks ideas, telling the stories of modern life through our digital economy. Marketplace Tech is part of the Marketplace portfolio of public radio programs broadcasting nationwide, which additionally includes Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace Weekend. Listen every weekday on-air or online anytime at marketplace.org. From American Public Media. Twitter: @MarketplaceTechMore from Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood »

Most Recent Episodes

The blockchain is coming to Wall Street

In 2018, ICOs, or initial coin offerings, were the hot new thing in startup fundraising. A company could raise money by selling you a little bit of value or equity in the form of a digital coin, similar to bitcoin but specific to that company. ICOs raised about $22 billion, or so we think. It's hard to know because the practice has been unregulated. A lot of them turned out to be scams. The Securities and Exchange Commission started fining celebrities like Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled over sketchy paid promotions for ICOs. It got weird, and now it's regulation time. That means that future ICOs and their digital coins might start to look a lot more like good old-fashioned stock, except traded on the blockchain, and that has big ramifications for Wall Street. Molly Wood talks with Kristen Howell, a partner with the law firm Fox Rothschild who helps companies create ICOs. Today's show is sponsored by Kronos, Mozilla/Firefox and Lenovo for Small Business.

Tech IPOs were set for a comeback, then the government shut down

It's been a big story that tech companies are staying private longer. And there are fewer and fewer tech IPOs. It seemed like the drought was lifting: Uber and Lyft have filed for initial public offerings, and there were rumors that Airbnb, Pinterest and Slack might finally pull the trigger. But three weeks into 2019 and the Securities and Exchange Commission isn't picking up the phone. The SEC lawyers and accountants who work on IPOs are shut down along with the government. And if this shutdown goes on much longer, the big names might be fine, but it could chill the whole tech IPO resurgence. Molly Wood talks about it with Corrie Driebusch, a reporter who covers markets for The Wall Street Journal. Today's show is sponsored by Triple Byte_JD and Amazon Web Services.

New tech doorbells have cameras, and that's an ethics problem

Internet-connected doorbells with cameras built in are becoming very popular. Amazon-owned Ring is the best-known product. Google also has the Nest Hello. But the phenomenon of doorbell video has privacy experts worried. There's the potential for misuse and abuse of these home surveillance devices by people who are shaming each other or labeling people as suspicious. And the companies that make them may have access to video at a level customers don't understand. Molly Wood talks with Laura Norén, director of research at Obsidian Security. She says part of the problem is that owners of video doorbells are filming a lot more territory than the terms of service say they should. Today's show is sponsored by the University of Florida Warrington College of Business and Indeed.

Facebook is looking to Instagram for the future of digital ads

In yesterday's show we talked about how advertisers are not leaving Facebook. But lots of them are migrating from Facebook proper to another platform it owns: Instagram. One analyst estimates that ads on Instagram will account for 70 percent of Facebook's new revenue by 2020. And the most exciting thing for the company is Stories, the little posts that expire after 24 hours. Instagram may have stolen the idea from Snapchat, but it's working. There are even Stories on Facebook now. Mark Rabkin is vice president of ads and business platform at Facebook. In the second part of his conversation with host Molly Wood, he says people are posting over a billion Stories a day, and advertisers better get on board. Today's show is sponsored by Pitney Bowes and Indeed.

The world might be mad at Facebook, but advertisers still love it

You, or people you know, might have quit Facebook over the last year or so. But you know who hasn't left? Advertisers. Facebook is still the second-biggest digital ad platform in the world, just behind Google. And in 2018, a lot of us realized just how Facebook uses our posts, our connections, photos, location, the quizzes we take, to help advertisers target us. But there have been changes. The past year brought the Cambridge Analytica scandal, new privacy rules in Europe and days of getting yelled at by Congress. Now Facebook says it's trying to clean up and streamline what it calls the "data supply chain": where the data comes from, who gets access to it and how it gets used. Molly Wood talks about it with Mark Rabkin, vice president of ads and business platform at Facebook. Today's show is sponsored by Indeed.

5G is here! Well, it's almost here

If you ask the major U.S. telecom companies, they'll tell you the next generation of mobile wireless technology, 5G, has arrived. But things are a little messy right now. Carriers still might mean different things when they say "5G." There aren't any 5G phones that operate on 5G mobile networks. And when there are, how much is the service going to cost? The big carriers are plowing ahead because they'll make a ton of money with business opportunities far beyond just our talk, text and data plans. Molly Wood talks about the promise of 5G with Nicki Palmer, chief network officer at Verizon. Today's show is sponsored by Pitney Bowes and Indeed.

The biggest tech conference has some of the same old problems with women

Today is the last day of the huge Las Vegas tech conference CES, and it's ending on a mixed note when it comes to gender and diversity. On one hand, the Consumer Technology Association, which puts on CES, announced a $10 million fund at the show to support women and minority tech founders. On the other hand, the CTA gave an innovation award to a company that makes a robotic vibrator for women, but then, before the show even started, took it away and banned the company and its product from the show floor (while sex tech like augmented reality porn did show up on the CES floor.) And CES still has no explicit ban on what are commonly called booth babes, models in skimpy clothes hired to draw attention to company booths at the event. Molly Wood talks with Heather Kelly, a tech reporter at CNN. Kelly was also at CES and says progress is just ... slow. (1/11/2019)

The biggest tech conference has some of the same old problems with women

Regulators are clearing the sky for drones to ... fill the sky

Drones hold a lot of promise beyond delivering Amazon packages. They are already used to survey damage from hurricanes, and just this week, regulators granted a waiver to a major insurance company for "beyond visual line of sight" usage of drones to allow for more flights. What could relaxing regulations mean for businesses that want to use drones? Jed Kim talked with Miriam McNabb, editor-in-chief of DroneLife.com. He asked first about drones being deployed by businesses. (1/10/2019)

Exodus of Chinese investment from Silicon Valley is real. But how much does it matter?

Part of the Trump administration's hard line against China is focused on intellectual property concerns. One fear is that widespread investment of Chinese money in startups gives the Chinese too much access to cutting-edge American tech innovations. That's why legislation was passed to limit foreign investment. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, is now able to probe foreign investments in startups. And that is making investors, especially Chinese, balk. Deals are being abandoned. Silicon Valley watchers say Chinese money has pretty much stopped coming into the Valley. Marketplace's Jed Kim talks about it with Heather Somerville, a tech reporter for Reuters, based in San Francisco. (01/08/19)

Exodus of Chinese investment from Silicon Valley is real. But how much does it matter?

When Big Tech embeds staffers in political campaigns

If there's one thing that's clear from the 2016 election, it's that the internet and social media have a huge influence on the political process. These days if you want to run a successful campaign, you need an effective digital strategy. Fortunately for politicians, Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook provide representatives to embed within a campaign. They help navigate digital platforms and give tech support. But are those tech reps getting too much access to politicians and future leaders? We talk about it with Daniel Stevens, executive director of the Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog group in Washington, D.C. (01/08/19)

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