Day: August 9, 2019

Teenager finds educational software exposed millions of student records

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Teenager Bill Demirkapi had been ghosted. Hard. “It didn’t feel good,” he explained to the large crowd gathered to hear him speak. “It hurt my feelings.” 

But Demirkapi, despite his status as a recent high-school graduate, wasn’t lamenting the traditional spurned-love problems typical of his cohort. Far from it. Instead, he was speaking at the famous DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas, and the ghoster-in-question was educational software maker Blackboard. 

Demirkapi had reported numerous vulnerabilities in Blackboard’s software to the company; after initially being in communication with him, the company stopped responding to his emails. But Demirkapi, who found he could access a host of student data — including family military status, weighted GPAs, and special education status — through vulnerabilities in Blackboard’s system, was undeterred.  Read more…

More about Hacking, Students, Def Con, Tech, and Cybersecurity

What Is Your Success Meter?

What does success mean for you?

Here’s an interesting story.

In 1983, a young talented guitarist was kicked out of his dream band. He was delirious with joy even just before the manager called him at his office to kick him out. It happened just three days before he was about to record his first album.

No reason, no complaints, no fight, just shown the door. For no reason.

So, as he sat on the bus from Los Angeles to New York, you know what he did?

He cried.

What did I do wrong? Just, how did this happen? I have worked so, so hard to get here and now, this. Let me jump from the roof of this bus. I would never go home.

But he went home. When he stepped out of the bus, his tears were evaporated by the heat of his anger. How dare they fire him? Who are they? Just a crappy band with a dozen songs and 1000 fans?

Blah.

He was over his self-pitying and he was definitely not that guy who’d quit playing guitar. He would build his own band and throw concerts in New York in front of them. He’ll become more famous than them.

And he was right.

His name was Dave Mustaine.

He founded the band Megadeath.

Later on, Megadeath toured the whole world and  has sold  over 25 million albums. Today, Mustaine is considered as one of the most brilliant and influential musicians in the history of heavy-metal music.

young dave mustaine
Via rockandrollgarage.com

But, unfortunately the band which kicked him out was Metallica. It has sold over 180 million albums worldwide. Metallica is considered by many to be one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

So this man, Dave Mustaine was a success freak. You can just guess how successful he was. He has billions of fans and had no guitaring background. From crap, he had made a billionaire of himself. His anger made him successful.

Normally, people would say, “See? He believed in himself and he always sought revenge. That is why he is who he is now. He was overtly successful.”

Or, was he?

In a rare interview in his old age, he said with tears that he has never tasted success. Even with so much money and many fans, he was not successful. For him, success meant one thing and that’s to be more famous than Metallica.

Since he was not, he didn’t consider himself successful.

dave mustaine
Via youtube

Now, you and I will laugh at his condition. But to him, he had worked so hard, but his life was a failure.

Our success is determined by our own success meters.

Someone’s success can be your failure while someone’s failure can be your success.

Dave Mustaine was:

a) A failure (according to his success meter)
b) A success (according to my success meter)

We like to determine other’s success and failures by our own success meters. If you ask what success in life is, many of us would say it’s getting a nice job, getting paid good money, having a car, and having a selfie-ready spouse with two cute kids. These are high success meters but not for everyone.

That is why your parents often tell you that your cousin is a total failure because he dropped out of school to pursue his singing career even though he has concerts regularly and gets 10k likes on each song in YouTube.

So, you define what is successful, either consciously or unconsciously.

Don’t get fazed by other’s success meters. Maybe your dad is a lecturer at a university and wants you to do the same.

Just think, would you be happier if you become a lecturer and get paid nicely? Or would you be happier if you build your business and it collapses and you’ll be poor?

Your answer tells something about your success meters. Do what you think will make you successful. Forget career stereotypes — be a lecturer if you want to, otherwise start your dream business.

See Also: 20 Qualities for A Successful Life

The post What Is Your Success Meter? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A.Capital Partners, founded by Ronny Conway, targets $140 million for its third fund

Silicon Valley investor Ronny Conway is raising his third early-stage venture fund, shows a new SEC filing that states the fund’s target is $140 million and that the first sale has yet to occur.

The now six-year-old firm, A.Capital, focuses on both consumer and enterprise tech, and has offices in Menlo Park and San Francisco.

Among the many brand-name companies in its portfolio are Coinbase, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Reddit. (You can find its other investments here.)

Conway led the seed-stage program of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) for roughly four years in its earliest days and left in 2013 to raise his debut fund, which closed with $51 million in capital commitments. He also raised two, smaller parallel funds at the time.

According to SEC filings, he sought out $140 million for his second fund, though he never announced its close.

A.Capital is today run by Conway, along with General Partner Ramu Arunachalam (also formerly of a16z) and Kartik Talwar, who worked previously with Conway’s brother Topher, and his famed father, Ron, at their separate venture firm, SV Angel.

Conway maintains a far lower profile than his father, who throughout his venture career has nurtured relationships not only with founders but with tech reporters and local politicians.

Though now ancient history in Silicon Valley years, Ronny Conway has been credited with introducing a16z to Instagram when it was a nascent mobile photo-sharing app.

Conway, a former Googler, met Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom in the several years when Systrom, too, worked for the search giant, beginning in 2006. It turned out to be a highly worthwhile introduction to a16z, though it could have been even lucrative. Though the firm made a seed-stage bet on Instagram, it didn’t follow up with another check because of a separate investment in a competing startup that would eventually flounder (PicPlz).

It was a sensitive issue at the time for a16z, with some noting its missed opportunity. In fact, firm cofounder Ben Horowitz felt compelled to write in a blog post that when Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, a16z did just fine, wringing $78 million from its $250,000 seed investment in the startup.