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Online food delivery: A guide for Stanford

With Dead Week and Finals Week around the corner, students will soon be searching for convenient food (more than they already do, that is). While Domino’s delivery has long been the service of choice among starving Stanford students, a recent boom in food delivery platforms has dramatically increased the number of options available. Chief among this group of startups are Postmates, Doordash and Fluc, each with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Investigating facets from driver base (Postmates seems to have the upper hand) to cost (should you tip your DoorDash deliverer?). The Dish Daily has sampled and contacted all four of the major services to compile this guide to help you wade through your options:

 

(CAITLIN GO/The Stanford Daily)

Contact Cameron Van de Graaf at camvdg ‘at’ stanford.edu, and Kendrick Kho at kkho207 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Women in Tech: Ellora Israni talks She++

The latest edition of the Graduate School of Business’ (GSB) ‘View From the Top’ guest lecture series featured Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of the biotechnology company Theranos. I was impressed by her strong yet quiet demeanor. During her Q&A, Holmes discussed a startling conversation she had with the CEO of The Girl Scouts, Anna Maria Chavez, that brought up an issue that had never crossed my mind.

She recalled a time when she was speaking to an audience consisting of the Girl Scout program’s valedictorians.

“Raise your hand if you think you’re going to be a leader in the technology business,” Chavez remembers asking the girls.

None did.

When trying to explain to Holmes why no one had raised their hands, Chavez realized that there weren’t enough women leaders in technology to be role models for the young girls.

“Women should be founders of multibillion companies and be CEO,” Holmes addressed the audience at the GSB. She urged that we need to create female role models of women to help give girls confidence in pursuing and succeeding a career in technology.

In sum, we still face a gender disparity in the corporate world. In the top 100 companies, 83 percent of executive committees were men, according to the Gender Balance Score Card. As a result, The Dish Daily is launching a series on Women in Technology to highlight female leaders in the Bay Area.

The first profile is Ellora Israni ’14, cofounder of She++, a 501 (c) non-profit that helps empower college and high school women to pursue a career in the technology. She currently is a software engineer at Facebook and serves on the board of She++. Her dream is that She++ is no longer necessary because we’ve achieved gender parity both in the numbers and how the people are treated.

Ellora Israni, Co-Founder of She++. Courtesy Ellora Israni

Ellora Israni, Co-Founder of She++. Courtesy Ellora Israni

Ellora Israni
Co-founder, She++
Software Engineer, Facebook

Read more >>

Brad Katsuyama talks high-frequency trading and IEX at the GSB

Brad Katsuyama doesn’t fit into the stereotype of Wall Street pervaded by the media.

“Movies like ‘[The] Wolf of Wall Street’ piss me off, because they give Wall Street a bad name. The people who watch a movie like Wolf of Wall Street and want to work on Wall Street are exactly the kind of people who shouldn’t,” he explained.

Brad Katsuyama, CEO and co-founder of IEX, an Alternative Trading System (ATS), gave a talk at the Graduate School of Business (GSB) this past Monday, Feb. 23. Katsuyama was profiled in Michael Lewis’ well-received book “Flash Boys.” IEX became well-known for being the the first equity pool owned exclusively by buy-side investors and is dedicated to institutionalizing fairness in the markets.

At his talk, Katsuyama focused on the importance of having integrity in a business that is transaction-oriented.

“I’m a capitalist,” he emphasized. “We want to make money, but we [IEX] want to make money doing the right things. I care very deeply about the function it serves in the economy.”

Integrity is, in fact, the very thing that drove him to create IEX in the first place. In 2007, Katsuyama was running U.S. trading and managing risk for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) when the Regulation National Market System (NMS) was promulgated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Regulation NMS, which, in essence, ties the multiple stock exchanges together to comprise the entire market, came into play.

While Katsuyama was trading tech stocks on behalf of mutual funds, hedge funds or banks on capital, if he put in an order for 100,000 shares of Intel, he could only get 80,000 shares. In 2008, it decreased to 65,000 shares – in 2009, 48,000 shares. Katsuyama noticed that he was consistently unable to get the full order of shares that he intended to purchase.

“This actually drove me crazy for two whole years,” laughed Katsuyama. “People think I’m some renegade or crusade who was fighting this, but it was a long process and didn’t become clear until I joined the technology team in 2009.”

In 2009, Katsuyama left his team of traders at RBC to manage a group of technologists who were building the tools that traders used. It was at this point that he understood the discrepancies between what he perceived as the market and what he could access.

“That’s when I realized the market I saw on screens and the market I thought I knew wasn’t the real market,” he explained. “The market is a collection of multiple markets, but the issue was that they were all at different locations.”

He explained his point using the example of a simple purchase of 100,000 equity shares.

“Say I wanted to buy 100,000 shares,” he started.

“I’d send the order to a piece of technology that would take 4 orders and blast it out to the market, and it would arrive at BATS, the first and closest exchange; then Direct Edge; then NASDAQ; and finally NYSE. The orders were sent at the same time, but there was a two-millisecond difference in arrival time between the first and last exchange,” Katsuyama said.

One of Katsuyama’s technology team members built infrastructure for high frequency trading firms and explained to him that it only took 476 microseconds to get from the first to the last exchange. Katsuyama was also able to see that exchanges were selling technology and data that allowed high frequency traders to race the big banks and buy ahead of their purchases. By sending his orders to NYSE first, Katsuyama discovered that his fill rate went back up to 100 percent – essentially he could purchase all the shares he wanted. But Katsuyama also realized that he couldn’t have been the first to discover this.

“It dawned on me that everyone else who knows this problem exists is part of the problem. The others weren’t trying to solve it – they exploited it and perpetuated it,” Katsuyama said. “I don’t blame them. You can’t fault for people for competitively doing what their competitors are doing.”

He does, however, place the blame on the exchanges.

“The national stock exchanges are selling the data and technology and have created multibillion dollar businesses out of this,” Katsuyama said. “It’s a problem if you trade on information that other people don’t have.”

So Katsuyama and his team set out to change the system.

“IEX creates a delay of 350 microseconds to even the playing field, forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue that other exchanges gain by selling technology or data,” Katsuyama explained.

“We spent 18 months building this exchange, and on Oct. 24, 2013, the night before we launched, we had no idea what was going to happen the next day,” he added. “We knew that in order for IEX to be a success, one of the big banks needed to buy in that we are the future.”

Today, Goldman Sachs is their number one client.

“We’re a market-based solution that gives people an option to act properly,” Katsuyama said. “It’s about giving people a rational choice that’s in the best interest of the market and their clients, and Goldman – which many people find ironic – took that option. We’re making a bet on people, not on a corporation or brand.”

He ended his talk with a comment about the future, especially in the context of all the business students in the room.

“Wall Street is going through this disruption, and it’s a great opportunity for all of you,” Katsuyama said. “The entrenched businesses are the hardest to break in, but when shit’s going on all over the place, it’s a great time to be young, ambitious and curious.”

 

Contact Jenny Lu at jenny123 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

TreeHacks hackathon attracts over 670 participants

(RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

(RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

TreeHacks, Stanford’s first large-scale collegiate hackathon, took place at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center this weekend and attracted over 670 participants, including 369 Stanford students. The 36-hour event brought together college students from all over North America to “hack” in teams and create their own technology projects.

A total of 124 projects were submitted by 11 a.m. on Sunday morning, and the top eight teams had the opportunity to demo their work. After being selected by a group of over 20 judges, final awards were decided by a diverse panel of seven, including professionals from the technology industry and Stanford computer science faculty professor Mehran Sahami ’92 M.S. ’93 Ph.D. ’99 and lecturer Jerry Cain M.S. ’98.

MetroArm, made by two students from Purdue University and the University of Waterloo, won first prize for a robotic arm controlled by a Leap Motion controller. Leap Motion is a device that tracks the motion of its user’s hands and fingers and translates them into computer input. The team won trips to Taiwan and Seoul to compete at HackNTU and Global Hackathon Seoul, respectively, and also received tickets for a ZERO-G Experience provided by Zero Gravity Corporation.

Fabric, a team that included Stanford freshmen Liezl Puzon ’18 and Sabar Dasgupta ’18 and students from the University of Rochester and Princeton University, won second place for their project, which also used a Leap Motion device alongside an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset to create an interface for designing and manipulating objects for 3D printing. Third place went to Wake, a team from Michigan State University, an app that used mobile devices to detect when users have fallen asleep at a non-scheduled time. Both teams received various hardware prizes such as an Emotiv EEG headset and a Parrot drone.

Participants also voted for their favorite hack in the top eight using Democracy2.1 and chose MAKKMat, a “smart” mat that detects various exercises, such as planks and push-ups, and sends the repetition and activity data to the user’s phone. The team included Stanford masters students Michael Weingert M.S. ’16, Adam Craig M.S. ’16 and Kornel Niedziela M.S. ’16 and USC student Kaitlyn Lee and was awarded a trip to Hawaii.

In addition, 63 prizes were also presented by various sponsors including Apple, Orange GigaStudio and Microsoft. Interdisciplinary work was also highlighted through prizes from Stanford’s English and history departments to highlight the new CS+X joint major programs.

The hackathon was co-directed by Rishi Bedi ’17, Russell Kaplan ’17 and Jason Teplitz ’17, and TreeHacks’ internal team included 20 Stanford students and several volunteers. The event was organized by the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES) HackSpace.

“We were incredibly excited to see all of the amazing work the hackers created, which made everything worthwhile,” Bedi said.

This article has been updated.

Contact Nitish Kulkarni at nitishk2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Kylie Jue contributed to this report.

Cardinal Ventures brings Stanford Student Enterprises back into the incubator game

Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) announced Cardinal Ventures today, an incubator program which aims to educate students on developing entrepreneurial ideas and skills. The program will start this coming spring quarter.

Cardinal Ventures, created by Justine Moore ’16 and Olivia Moore ’16, is centered around a 10-week educational program on startup operations and creation. In addition to networking opportunities with a set of speakers and Stanford alumni in the tech industry, the program will culminate in students pitching their plan to SSE’s board of directors and a set of outside investors. Those pitching successfully will also have the option for their business to become a fully-funded division of SSE.  All teams accepted to the Cardinal Ventures incubator program will receive a grant of $1,000. Applicants for the program must be composed of between one and three Stanford students and have a life cycle of two years or more.

The program also stipulates that successful applicants must be able to be profitable within a year of operation and cannot offer a service already available to Stanford students, unless they are determined by SSE to have “strong competitive advantage” over their competition.

Like the well-known Stanford-affiliated incubator StartX, Cardinal Ventures does not take equity in companies involved in the program. StartX, Stanford University and Stanford Hospitals and Clinics operate the Stanford-StartX Fund, which has invested $31.4 million in StartX companies as of this January.

StartX, formerly named SSE Labs, was a division of SSE until it was spun off as an independent entity in 2009.

Also like the StartX program, Cardinal Ventures features a strong selection of mentors, including team members at SV Angel and August Capital. Teams in the program will partner with these mentors as well as SSE staff members.

Cardinal Ventures will host a speaker series that starts on April 1 with a talk by Ann Miura-Ko from Floodgate Ventures.

Partners of the program include General Catalyst Partners, GCV Capital, Floodgate Ventures, August Capital and Banneker Partners.

Applications for Cardinal Ventures’ spring 2014 class close Tuesday, March 24. Find out more at their websiteStartX is announcing results for its spring 2015 class by Feb. 27.

This article has been updated.

Contact Nitish Kulkarni at nitishk2@stanford.edu.

Corporate security officers discuss technical ideas for the future

In a panel on Friday afternoon at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, the Chief Security Officers of five Silicon Valley companies argued for user-safe technology and warned of the cybersecurity challenges faced by small and medium businesses.

Moderated by Amy Zegart, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the co-director of CISAC, the discussion centered on technical ideas for a secure future.

 

Safety, not security

In a panel moderated by Amy Zegart (left), Facebook Chief Information Security Officer Joe Sullivan (right) and four others discussed technical security ideas. (CATALINA RAMIREZ-SAENZ/The Stanford Daily)

In a panel moderated by Amy Zegart (left), Facebook Chief Information Security Officer Joe Sullivan (right) and four others discussed technical security ideas. (CATALINA RAMIREZ-SAENZ/The Stanford Daily)

A guiding theme for the event was finding ways to motivate behavior that promotes cybersecurity, especially for consumers.

Scott Charney, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of trustworthy computing, advocated for technologies that prevent users from having to become security experts. For example, terms of service agreements have shown that users will click ‘OK’ on almost anything, so the burden placed on consumers should be minimized.

Yahoo Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos agreed that greater attention has to be paid to the user.

“We’re really good at building secure products, but that’s not the fight anymore,” Stamos said. “We need to build safe products.”

Melody Hildebrandt, Palantir’s global head of cybersecurity, argued that there isn’t enough information for consumers to make informed decisions. Cars have safety ratings and food has nutritional info, she noted, but Internet-facing products lack an analogue.

“Most consumers don’t know the questions to ask,” Hildebrandt said. Read more >>

White House Summit takes on balance between national security and digital privacy

Widening the flows of information between the private sector and the government was a central theme at today’s White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. The topic was an issue of contentious debate both informally and formally through panels at the event.

Phyllis Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security spoke to The Daily about some of the administration’s policy goals.

“First of all the reason we worry so much about info sharing is about connecting the dots,” she said.

Schneck talked about the importance of taking information from government and private sector resources and connecting the dots. She mentioned two interfaces, the NCIC (National Cybersecurity Communication Integration Center) and the CTIC (Cyber Threat Integration Center).

“The NCIC is the main interface for cybersecurity information sharing for the private sector,” Schneck said.

She also explained that the CTIC is a space for the intelligence community to work and combine information from multiple sources.

Not all of the attendees were as optimistic on information sharing, however. Nuala O’Connor, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), addressed potential issues posed by this increased information flow.

“I am very concerned about sharing [information] with the government,” she said. “Once you’ve got data in the hands of any government agency, the chances that it will flow to other government agencies for other purposes is quite high.”

O’Connor explained that the CDT was calling for improved collaboration in the private sector to allow for better threat and risk analysis but was wary of the government connection.

“To have it end up permanently in the hands of the federal government in any wholesale manner is a huge civil liberties risk,” she added. “We need to be very leery of those kinds of solutions.”

One of the more concerning issues with large amounts of metadata, O’Connor explained, was the risk of metadata being de-anonymized. She cited Jonathan Mayer’s recently publicized research in the subject.

“Trend analysis, pattern analysis, that’s all good,” O’Connor said. “Your and my personal information about our transactions and our daily lives – that has a level of privacy associated with it that I think we really want to keep on the commercial side of the house.”

O’Connor also discussed the risks behind large amounts of metadata.

“When you look at it across different platforms, you can re-identify people; you can do trend analysis that could lead you to certain assumptions and judgments about people,” she said.

“I think metadata should be treated like data,” she concluded.

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s comments about the development of Apple Pay earlier in the day spoke to O’Connor’s point.

“Security was part of the reason we developed the technology for [Apple Pay],” he said. “It starts with the premise that your credit card purchases are personal to you, and they should stay that way. For every payment, we create a unique one-time code for that individual transaction.”

Schneck assuaged fears that increasing government interest in cybersecurity would dampen the burgeoning growth of network-enabled devices, the so-called “Internet of Things.”

“The innovators and the researchers are going to hold those reins [of control],” Schneck said. “I think you’re going to push the laws of physics even further, and you’re going to control how they are used. I think the role of government is to enable that.”

Schneck emphasized the fact that one of the Department of Homeland Security’s new missions is to be a front for cybersecurity information exchange.

Arthur W. Coviello, President of the RSA Division of EMC, expressed his issues with new government initiatives for information sharing. Coviello explained that policy should take the perspective that privacy should reinforce security instead of conflicting with it. RSA was acquired by EMC in 2006.

“Having an active debate on how we can secure the privacy and freedoms of us as individuals while still being able to determine who is trying to violate that privacy in the form of criminals and nation-states and hacktivists that would do us harm – that’s the issue that really needs to be discussed from a policy standpoint,” Coviello said.

Like O’Connor, Coviello emphasized the need for information flow but cautioned about open information flow to the government.

“The problem that we’ve had with the government in the past is a lack of transparency,” he said. “A big problem with the Snowden disclosures is that the National Security Agency was viewed to have not been transparent and going over the line in terms of the kind of data they were collecting.”

“I think that set the trust between private individuals and companies and the government a long way,” he added.

Scheck acknowledged the issue of maintaining a balance between data privacy and the protection of individuals but also emphasized that it is an important and current issue of policy debate.

“We want to be able to provide the most privacy we can for people’s data, and we also have to make sure that we can track bad guys,” she said. “I think the discussion is going to be very challenging.”

 

Advice and suggestions for students

The setting of the summit at Stanford encouraged attendees and panelists to emphasize the importance of cybersecurity issues to the current generation of students.

“[The] big scary advice people give is to be very aware of what is posted online in your profiles,” O’Connor told The Daily. “You will be seen by potential employers. My number one piece of advice is be wary of how you set your privacy settings and understand that what you have posted will be used to judge you.”

O’Connor expressed that there were some advantages to the surge of ephemeral communication technologies.

“We need better ephemeral systems and technologies – I can see some benefits from Snapchat,” she added, laughing.

Coviello expressed that students need to maintain caution while being online and discussed how the current generation of students live in an entirely new environment.

“You guys eat, drink, sleep, breathe technology,” he said.

“If anything I would caution you all to be careful about what kind of information you put out there and make sure you understand where it’s going and where you go wherever you are on the internet,” he concluded.

Schneck spoke to the importance of new minds entering into and learning about the field of cybersecurity.

“It is so important that we bring the best people into government,” she said. “I think [that in] the future you’ll find careers being a mix of the government and private sector, creating a hybrid of skills.”

Echoing remarks about the importance of education from President Obama and the morning session’s panelists, Schneck talked about nurturing technical skills.

“We need to start nurturing these skills from the high school level itself,” she said.

Schneck advised students to look at building technical understanding.

“It’s always helpful to understand how something works when you are deciding the policy around it,” Schneck said. “Even if you choose not to go into a purely technical field, the background will help you make better decisions.”

 

Contact Nitish Kulkarni at nitishk2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Victor Xu contributed to this article.

Payment technology changes discussed at cybersecurity summit

The afternoon session of the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection discussed the more technical aspects behind cybersecurity policy.

Maria Contreras-Sweet, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, discussed imminent payment technology changes. (CATALINA RAMIREZ-SAENZ/The Stanford Daily)

Maria Contreras-Sweet, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, discussed imminent payment technology changes. (CATALINA RAMIREZ-SAENZ/The Stanford Daily)

Stanford Law School Professor George Triantis, chair of the Stanford Cybersecurity Initiative’s steering committee, opened by discussing the unique role and position that Stanford has to play in terms of cybersecurity.

“Stanford has been birthplace of many of the great tech advances in computing and network innovation,” Triantis said.

“Universities play a unique role through their research and their ability to work across issues,” he added. “The Stanford Cyber initiative embraces these goals of multidisciplinary research and engagement.”

Maria Contreras-Sweet, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, followed Triantis with remarks on the subject and the event.

Addressing the large crowd in the Graduate School of Business’ CEMEX Auditorium, she opened with a reference to the event’s date: Friday the 13th.

“You ever notice that when you wander off from the group, things don’t go very well?” she asked. “It’s a great lesson for cybersecurity.” Read more >>