Profil Of Thomas Templeton, An Apple Hardware Expert Who Is Building An Online Bitcoin Wallet For Square And The Way He Uses His Photos Of Retail Countertops To Help Inform The Design Of Products
templeton apple squarepimentelprotocol The Square executive leading Jack Dorsey’s big plan for a bitcoin wallet is a veteran hardware technologist with a quirky hobby: taking pictures of countertops.
“My wife gives me a hard time because my camera phone is full of baby pictures and countertops,” Thomas Templeton, Square’s general manager for hardware, told Protocol.
Templeton takes photos of countertops at coffee shops and stores where he gets fresh ideas for improving Square’s ubiquitous point-of-sale registers. The practice, he admits, is “a little weird” and typically prompts a shop owner to ask: ‘What are you doing?'”
It’s a good question for his new challenge, too, which is something harder to capture in the wild: making a hardware device that safeguards the private keys used to unlock cryptocurrencies. Right now, it’s a niche product category that caters to the most hardcore crypto HODLers.
But it’s one of several bitcoin-related bets Dorsey is making to solidify Square’s role in the crypto world — and that makes Templeton’s job, which is to make the device appealing and user-friendly to the same kind of people who trade bitcoin on Cash App, all the more crucial.
That could mean a lot of conversations with bitcoiners, just like Templeton chats up Square merchants today.
“I talk to them and say, ‘Your setup is a little bit unique and I’m taking it back to the design team,'” he said. “Every business is different. If you think about countertops — there are some really deep countertops, some narrow countertops, some really high ones.”
That same wild diversity can be found in Square’s target market, which Templeton acknowledges is complicated. Jesse Dorogusker — Templeton’s boss, whose portfolio now includes both hardware and the Tidal streaming service — said the plan is to “to make bitcoin custody more mainstream.” But some people buy bitcoin as an investment, some use it to hedge against unreliable local currencies, some speculate and some just see it as a glimmer of the world’s financial future.
As Dorsey’s profile in the crypto world has grown, so has bitcoin’s importance to Square. Bitcoin revenue tripled year-over-year to $2.7 billion in the second quarter when it made up more than 40% of Square’s total sales.
Crypto wallets, which are typically small USB-drive-like devices, are popular among retail crypto holders who want to make sure their assets don’t get hacked. It’s currently a niche market, valued at $202 million in 2020, but growing fast along with the value of cryptocurrencies.
Chris McCann, a general partner at Race Capital, a venture capital firm which has made crypto investments, said “it’s hard to see how hardware wallets would be a material revenue driver” for Square in the near term. But he called the company’s move “a hugely positive and exciting step for the ecosystem” and a way for Dorsey and Square to “expand the market much broader than what it is today.”
Square’s objective, Templeton said, is “to bring bitcoin [wallets] to the masses, to the next 100 million people around the world,” adding, “We believe bitcoin is for everyone.”
He said he’s in the process of building the wallet team, which already includes hardware security lead Max Guise, whose name is on several patents related to physical unclonable functions, a key technology. Templeton declined to discuss details of the plan so far, saying they’re early in the process.
But it’s clear from what Dorsey and Dorogusker have said that the goal is to come up with an easy-to-use mass consumer product with broad appeal. “The more seamless the experience is, the more people will try it,” McCann said.
The ideal would be what Apple accomplished with products like the iPhone, the investor added: “Marrying the best of hardware and software into one package would greatly help self-custodianship.”
Templeton certainly understands the challenge — and that comparison. Before joining Square in 2011, he was part of the Apple team that helped develop the iPhone camera. (Dorogusker, who joined Square from Apple shortly before Templeton, served as a director of engineering at the tech giant.)
Templeton joined Square when its hardware team “was still pretty small,” and they developed what he called a “really iterative process.”
“As soon as we have a product, there are a million things I want to change about the product for the next version,” he said. “As soon as you ship [a product], you’re already going, ‘Oh, my god. I wanted to change this. I wish we did that. This wasn’t enough.”
His habit of taking countertop photos is part of his process of figuring out ways to make Square products easier to use. “We want to be as frictionless as possible,” he said.”How can we provide tools that are flexible enough, where they don’t have to rip out their countertop or change their setup to use Square?”
Templeton said his team was constantly making tweaks to the point-of-sale lineup, like adding an extra screen or changing the aspect ratio to cut a second or two in the payment process and make life easier for customers and staff.
“Seconds might not seem like a big deal, but when it’s rush hour, those seconds add up,” Templeton said.
The challenge, though, isn’t to just design a beautiful device. It’s making sure it can be manufactured — thinking about “tolerances,” or how much variation is acceptable as product after product comes off an assembly line.
Before Apple, Templeton worked in the chip industry as a staff engineer at Xilinx.
“I spent a lot of time in factories early in my career and those helped, and I do think those helped when designing products,” he said.
“Designing for high volume is different from designing for dozens or hundreds or thousands of units,” he added. “I’m designing to make millions of these. How can we design something and be able to make it scale?”
To get answers, Square is doing something that would have been all but unthinkable at Apple: It’s reaching out to the bitcoin and crypto community, including hardware makers it may even end up competing with.
The CEO of Zapier talks about the secondary market investment from Sequoia and Steadfast Finance that took place in January
Experts and investors in the business world are constantly searching for the next great thing. In the corporate sector, the marketplaces for technology and business items are where you’ll find the next big thing. We just received funding from Sequoia Capital and Steadfast Finance, and in this post we’d want to share an interview with Zapier’s CEO, James Cargill. Cargill explains why Sequoia and Steadfast invested in Zapier and how the company’s platform can help companies of all kinds in this interview. Wishing you a wonderful time reading!
CEO of Zapier discusses the secondary market investment from Sequoia and Steadfast Finance that took place in January. Last month, it was reported that Sequoia Capital and Steadfast Finance had invested in Zapier through a secondary market deal. Shawn Henry, founder and CEO, joined us to talk about where Zapier is headed and why we should put money into it.
What made Zapier appealing to Sequoia Capital and Steadfast Financial?
Shawn Henry: We thought Zapier had a great product and team, so we decided to invest. Its product’s ability to streamline complicated processes across environments makes it invaluable to organisations of all sizes. And they have an excellent team; their platform is intuitive and expandable.
What criteria did you use to judge Zapier’s worthiness?
Henry, Shawn When testing Zapier, we considered a wide range of criteria. The company’s product and crew were top priorities, so we had to verify their worth first. Secondly, we were interested in gauging the company’s market standing to determine whether or not it had opportunity for expansion. Next, we checked the company’s long-term viability to make sure it was solid. After consulting with the Zapier team and evaluating their statistics, we were convinced that the platform met all of our requirements and made the decision to invest.
Exactly what does Zapier do?
It was revealed on Monday that Sequoia and Steadfast Finance had provided Zapier, a web-based automation platform, with $25 million in Series C funding. This investment will be utilised to fuel the company’s expansion into new markets and product lines.
Engineers Jamie Reynolds and Christian Holzmann founded Zapier in 2009 to serve as a hub for setting up seamless workflows between software programmes. More than 700,000 people utilise the service, and it integrates with over a thousand other apps.
Stripe co-founder John Collison: “We are pleased to see Zapier continue to expand as an impactful business and help people work better across their whole lives.” Their expertise in automating complex processes makes them an invaluable resource for companies of all sizes.
According to Reynolds, the funding will enable Zapier to rapidly increase its customer base and continue making its products simpler and easier to use. He also mentioned that agreements with larger financial institutions are being considered as a means of expanding the business’s sphere of influence.
Why did you decide to make this financial commitment?
Daren Metropoulos, CEO of Zapier, spoke with Silicon Valley Business Journal about funding from Sequoia and Steadfast Finance. Zapier is a service that facilitates the automation of processes across several software platforms. With this funding, the company now has more room to move into other markets.
The Sequoia Capital and the Steadfast Financial Group are two of the most prominent Silicon Valley VC firms. They put money into businesses they think will experience quick expansion. Zapier is a great addition to their offerings because it frees up workers from repetitive activities and allows them to concentrate on more strategic endeavors.
According to Metropoulos, Zapier’s investment was worth $15 million, and he anticipates that figure to rise as the company enters new areas. He adds that the company will utilize the funds to hire more people and develop new features for its existing products.
As an organisations, why did you decide to put money into Steadfast Financial?
Jeff Dunn, CEO of Zapier, recently discussed the company’s investment in Steadfast Finance. According to Dunn, Zapier was impressed by the potential of Steadfast Financial’s product and strategy.
The staff at Steadfast Financial was exceptional, according to Dunn. They are developing a fantastic product, and their product is excellent. Dunn added that the investment from Steadfast Financial was a natural fit for Zapier because the company can grow with the help of outside investors. It aids Zapier’s expansion and gives its users more options.
Zapier expects to increase its product line and advertising budget with the money it put into Steadfast Finance.
To what end does this funding serve Zapier?
Jesse Draper, CEO of Zapier, recently spoke with StartUp LA about the company’s investment from Sequoia and Steadfast Finance.
Draper remarked, “Our objective is to make linking different things more efficient, and we think that’s a pretty essential thing. It’s important to us that consumers be able to make sense of the myriad channels and platforms at their disposal. The company has placed a premium on innovation in recent years, and as a result, it has added support for a number of new connections, such as Slack and Wunderlist. The funds will be used to expand Zapier’s infrastructure and support the company’s rapid expansion.
IT firms in Ukraine expect the best but prepare for the worst
A large number of well-known IT enterprises and contract programmers for international clients may be found in this country.
Russia invaded Ukraine in an official capacity on Thursday. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said at a press conference on Thursday that sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies are not anticipated to instantly halt the Soviet advance. Meanwhile, Ukrainians wait tensely for whatever comes next. There are several ways in which the technological world has been affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Certain American sanctions, for instance, are aimed at preventing Russia from acquiring advanced technology for military and other uses. Moreover, Ukraine is home to a number of technological enterprises that serve millions of customers and organizations worldwide. On Thursday, the first day of the Russian occupation, I had a chance to speak with a few of them.
Perhaps the most well-known Ukrainian IT firm is Grammarly. Grammarly is the maker of an AI-driven service that helps people communicate better in writing. Millions of people all around the world use it, and some of the best venture capital firms in the world, like General Catalyst and Blackrock, have invested in it. Its current worth is $13 billion. The company’s headquarters and a large portion of its software development staff are located in Kyiv, Ukraine. The distance between Kyiv and the fighting zone in eastern Ukraine is around 700 kilometers (435 miles). It also employs people in New York City, San Francisco, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Senka Hadzimuratovic, a representative from Grammarly, emailed me on Thursday to tell me that the company is currently putting into effect the backup measures they had developed to safeguard their employees in Ukraine. According to her, the corporation is being secretive about the intentions out of concern for employees’ safety. She also reassures me that, should the crisis worsen, the corporation has preparations in place to keep its services functioning. So that our team members in Ukraine may focus on the immediate safety of themselves and their families, we have taken measures such as establishing alternative channels of contact and temporarily shifting mission-critical tasks to members of the team based in other countries.
A LinkedIn post by Grammarly CEO Brad Hoover read as follows: “Grammarly was founded in Ukraine, and I’ve had the privilege of getting to know its vibrant culture and kind people over the past decade — that includes many of our resilient, unstoppable team members who are yet again facing stress and uncertainty. Even while I still hold out hope for a de-escalation, I am saddened by the ongoing escalations in the country.
Kyiv-based Readdle was one of the first app stores to sell apps for the iPhone and iPad. Its history is littered with successful productivity apps for iOS devices and computers. Products like PDF Expert and Scanner Pro have been downloaded about 200 million times, according to the business. Denys Zhadanov, a board member, informs me that the company has over 150 workers in Ukraine. I inquired as to the current concerns of the minds behind Ukraine’s tech startups. All large CEOs agree that Ukraine should be a sovereign state, he said. This is an act of wartime hostility. The time Zhadanov spends in each location is roughly equal.
Zhadanov, like other Ukrainian business leaders, claims that his firm has backup plans and that its infrastructure and customer data are stored on servers in the United States and Europe. With offices in 11 different locations and a workforce spread around the globe, he is confident that business won’t take a hit. We are now taking precautions for the safety of our Odessa-based personnel. While technology advances, some Ukrainian IT leaders lament that geopolitics may seem stuck in the Cold War era.
MacPaw, based in Kyiv, creates utilities like CleanMyMac and The Unarchiver to make Macs more useful. As 21st century humans, “we all wish that the dreadful days of war were a thing of the past,” stated MacPaw CEO and creator Oleksandr Kosovan in a blog post on Thursday. We have seen how vulnerable freedom, independence, and the human right to life and choice are once again with the Russian onslaught against Ukraine. Kosovan continues by saying that the safety of MacPaw’s employees in Kyiv is the company’s top priority right now. To secure the security of its employees in Ukraine, the business has developed “different assistance programs and formed an emergency plan.” Customer information is stored on AWS servers outside of Ukraine, he adds.
She exposed tech’s impact on people of color. Now, she’s on Biden’s team
Alondra Nelson, the nation’s first deputy director for science and society, will investigate how technology affects people.
Alondra Nelson has seen first-hand the disappointment of Facebook. Known for studying the societal impacts of new technologies and scientific endeavours, the famous social scientist has been appointed as President Biden’s first deputy director for science and society. Nevertheless, three years ago, she was chosen to assist lead Social Science One, an ambitious research initiative funded by a number of different foundations and aimed at providing academics with access to vast amounts of Facebook data in order to study the platform’s effect on democracy. This project was especially important given the context of its timing—right after the Cambridge Analytical scandal—and its potential impact on the relationship between social science and Big Tech. Nelson presided over the non-profit organisations Social Science Research Council, which doled out the aforementioned Social Science One awards. But, by the year 2019, it had failed. Researchers who were promised funding by Nelson were unable to receive the data they requested from Facebook due to privacy concerns. Social Science One, a collection of wealthy benefactors, and the Council were at odds about the best course of action.
Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, told Protocol, “The privacy issues turned out to be way harder than anybody knew when we started, therefore we weren’t able to send the data to the researchers.” “We’re on the line here,” [Nelson] was reportedly heard saying. If Facebook isn’t willing to provide over the data soon, Nelson said the groups should end the effort. The Council decided to abandon the initiative in the end. Two years of work resulted in the release of the dataset in the early part of last year.
According to danah boyd, chief researcher at Microsoft Research and founder of Data & Society, Nelson’s work was a driving factor in the Council’s decision to shift its research focus to technology rather than the social sciences. A member of the Council board at the time, boyd, declared, “That was a win even when Facebook never unlocked the data.” It sparked a wide-ranging discussion among academics on how best to collaborate with major enterprises. Boyd remarked, “It offers openings for other possibilities down the line when there is more of this kind of data,” referring to the fact that the Council has never sought to use corporate data before to this effort.
That knowledge is now being brought to the White House by Nelson. During his campaign, Vice President Biden pledged to view all policies, especially those pertaining to technology, through the lens of civil rights. In many ways, Nelson exemplifies that promise through his study of how race and technology interact.
Since neither Nelson nor the Office of Science and Technology Policy responded to requests for comment, we’ll assume that Nelson’s inclusion was well received by the community of AI ethicists, tech critics, and civil rights advocates who believe that the government should address the civil rights and social justice issues that technological innovations are raising.
When we offer inputs to the algorithm, when we program the gadget, when we create, test, and research, we are making human choices,” Nelson said in her award address earlier this month. That’s why, throughout my career, I’ve made it a point to hear out the communities and individuals who aren’t typically consulted but whose lives are affected by the decisions made behind closed doors. When Barack Obama was in office, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) at the White House was staffed by scientists and technologists who hoped to spread their knowledge and enthusiasm for new technologies throughout the government. Nelson, on the other hand, is more likely to be the sceptic in a conversation on how race, class, and gender interact with new technologies. Her dissertation explored the paradox that African Americans “have been the most injured by science and technology,” but “have also been the most imaginative with it, despite these conflicting pressures,” as she phrased it in an interview last year. The anthology “Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Daily Life,” which she co-edited, examines how people of color use technology in their daily lives, and her book “The Social Life of DNA” digs into the tense relationship between genetic testing and Black communities.
She has been working with a group of academics to make the tech industry more inclusive over the past year under the banner of Just Tech. Her most recent work for her current employment, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), focuses on how the Obama administration has integrated ethics into its operations. “It’s certainly not the superficial ‘open data will solve all policy issues’ rhetoric that we’ve seen from certain persons in some earlier administrations,” said Meredith Whittaker, faculty director of the AI Now Institute and a leading figure in the tech labour organizing movement. According to Whittaker, the strength of political organisations was made clear by Nelson’s study of the Black Panther party’s grassroots medical action.
To have someone who “thinks that widely” and “understands the capacity for organized groups and the individuals who are living the effects of these technologies” is exciting, as Whittaker put it. Given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and minority communities, Nelson’s new position is crucial as the next administration weighs the tradeoffs between surveillance and privacy. Advice on contact tracing, machine-enabled vaccination deployment, algorithmic bias, and data privacy are all likely to come from the Office of the Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), whose position is fluid and often defined by the personalities within it.
She’ll be asking, “Who can be hurt by this technology?” with a sceptical eye. Simone Browne, an associate professor at the University of Texas in Austin, has remarked that Nelson’s study has affected her own work on anti-Blackness and surveillance. For former Obama deputy CTO Jen Pahlka, “her hiring certainly looks to be an indication that some of the issues of her study — which delve into race and class and equity, and the shape of our society” will become increasingly central to OSTP’s efforts.
As the Biden administration employs Silicon Valley elites to shape policy, activists like Whittaker are both excited and skeptical about Nelson’s selection. A former Facebook attorney is apparently being considered by his attorney general for a position leading the Department of Justice’s antitrust division. Concerned that Biden is inviting key executives like Nelson and tech industry officials who have formed the unequal business she has investigated, Whittaker expressed her worries to the press.
The OSTP has not yet opened for business. Biden has yet to hire people for a number of key jobs in the office, including chief technology officer, and the team is currently building out its portfolio. When it comes down to it, Nelson’s opinion won’t count for much in determining the future of science and technology policy. Yet, President Biden’s decision to select her is an indication of significant changes to the administration’s approach to technology policy.
If Alondra is as successful at OSTP as she has been elsewhere, as one commenter put it, “she will open so many doors for folks who would otherwise have no access to any of this,” body added. And it’s crucial if we want to build a government that represents the people.
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