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What's up with WATT, Pt I (or "What's Wrong with Tech Journalism?")

It's been a while since I covered Energous (whose ticker symbol is WATT . Other posts are here , here , here , here , here , here , and...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

And in other news...

I've not been commenting much on uBeam lately - there's really no need, I've said pretty much what I felt needed saying, and I'll wait for the post-mortem to take much more time out my life to talk about them - but there have been a couple of events recently that warrant at least a couple of lines.

The first is an article that appeared in Epic Magazine in July, "Silicon is Just Sand", a sizable piece by author Stephen Elliott on Silicon Beach, regarding the growth of technology companies in the Venice/Santa Monica area. It's a nicely written piece that gives a great flavor of the people and culture in Silicon Beach, it reminded me of my time there, and his sarcastic responses to many of the more ridiculous parts lend the feel of "the only sane man in the asylum". Each of the many sections is devoted to a different person or company, with a particular thread running through it. uBeam, however, earned two sections to cover the extraordinary fit of self-destruction that an industry friend of mine described as "managing to shoot themselves in both feet with a single bullet". (Sections 8 and 9, but I encourage you to read it all.)

I'm not going to go line-by-line through the jaw-dropping hilarity of the article. It speaks for itself, just read it. My personal reaction to it was "Yep, sounds like a typical day at uBeam" and I laughed as he was taken from believer to skeptic and closed with "Fake it till you make it".

Second is an announcement from uBeam, which can be found here. The headline is that they've hired an SVP of Engineering, Larry Pendergass, who is a big name and is another tick-box in the needed list for Series B funding. Congratulations, I'm sure this means they are about to give a public demo and release a commercial product any day now, as promised.

What's more interesting, though, is what's not said. First of all, this was picked up by exactly zero press outlets that I'm aware of. A year ago this would have been all over the tech media news, but even Techcrunch didn't touch it. Was this deliberate? If you self publish seemingly important company news last thing on a Friday afternoon it's usually an attempt to bury it, but I'm also wondering if the services of uBeam's PR team are "no longer required" following the above "Silicon is Just Sand" debacle and it's the B-Team that are running press releases now. It's garnered a whole eight likes in the three weeks it's been up, which is about half the number of likes I have on my lowest viewed LinkedIn article and I'm a nobody. It seems the sparkle has dimmed a bit. 

Next thing hidden in there is that it sounds like my replacement as VP Acoustics has "graduated" to the advisory board after about 7 months in the job. Perhaps I can add "gives the company a less embarrassing exit route for departing executives" to the list for reasons to have an advisory board? I'm not sure who is on the team now that has any extensive ultrasound experience, it'll be interesting to see who my replacement's replacement will be. I'm sure he'll be the cream of the crop.

I do love the pictures of what looks to be a monster office in San Jose (8500 sqft or so given landlord data?) for what is now two employees. I'm sure that's been a necessary expenditure over the last few months in light of the imminent product release and huge expansion.

That's it, not much more to say here. Back to more important things.

Update: Rather than do a new post, I thought I'd add this in here:

uBeam are now advertising for a Director of HR. If you are interested, one of the key requirements is:

defining the couture (sic) best able to position the organization as the leader in the market place

so I guess a stylish uBeam uniform is the last thing the company needs before releasing their demo and product by the end of the year? There's a simpler way to ensure they get the job - don't come to the interview through the door, just break in through a window. And if you get rejected, turn up for your first day of work anyway, only losers take 'no' for an answer.

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