Tech boss attacks ‘whiners’ in angry email

Jonathan TeoImage copyright

Image caption

Jonathan Teo co-founded Binary Capital in 2014.

The co-founder of a Silicon Valley investment firm said it is “not my job to make you all feel good” in a long email to staff and investors.

Jonathan Teo from Binary Capital was responding to negative press coverage about the firm following allegations of sexual harassment by his co-founder Justin Caldbeck.

He added that he was “tired and indignant”, and raged against “whiners” who demanded his attention.

Mr Teo has already offered to resign.

He did so after Mr Caldbeck left the firm in June.

“I’m incredibly sorry,” Mr Caldbeck tweeted when the news broke last month.

Mr Caldbeck’s actions were one of several sexism scandals to rock Silicon Valley in recent months.

They include a damning report into the work culture inside ride-hailing firm Uber, and the resignation of venture capitalist Dave McClure, who admitted “inexcusable behaviour” towards “multiple women”.

Image copyright

Image caption

Justin Caldbeck said he was “incredibly sorry” over harassment claims


No allegations have been made against Jonathan Teo, who said he had offered to step down in order to “quell a news cycle”.

He blamed leaks to a “corrupted” media about investors feeling nervous about his firm and claimed his resignation offer had not yet been accepted.

Mr Teo also said he was “angry that women had felt hurt”, but described a suggestion by one of the firm’s portfolio companies that the next partner should be a woman as “moronic”.

“We must choose the best person, male or female,” he wrote in the email, which the BBC has confirmed to be genuine.

“Talent is universal if we only choose to recognize it. Anything else is again grandstanding for a personal agenda.”

Mr Teo also added that reports suggesting investors were trying to buy back shares were untrue, and said that it was “dishonourable” for an entrepreneur to back away “at the first sign of trouble”.


Only one firm has so far announced its intention to pull away from Binary Capital.

Silicon Valley is full of “entitled human beings”, Mr Teo continued.

“As for the people here that whine that they aren’t taken care of, who have not to worry about their lives being taken from them or their basic needs met, who owes them more than the voice they already have access to?” he wrote.

  • I’m a creep, says resigning tech boss
  • A plea for ‘decency’ in shaken Silicon Valley

The email was first published by the website Axios.

Journalist Erin Griffith described the email as “unapologetic” on the Fortune website.

“It is angry and, in parts, barely coherent,” she said.

‘Jerry Maguire moment’

Silicon Valley entrepreneur and journalist Mike Malone said the email was “a Jerry Maguire moment” for Mr Teo.

“He’s having a very bad day,” he said.

“He says he’ll resign, then turns around and says it’s not his fault at all, that everyone is conspiring against him including the media.

“If you were teaching PR 101 this guy has just done everything possible wrong. He has insulted clients, he has insulted investors, he has insulted employees and he has insulted the media.

“This is a venture capital fund and venture capitalists live and die by the amount of money they can raise for their next fund.”

Jonathan Teo told the BBC he didn’t want to comment at this time.

Article source:

Living dragonfly drones take flight

Draper’s Dragonfl-eye is a living dragonfly with a solar-powered backpack that can control its movements using light pulses.

By genetically engineering the “steering neurons” of the dragonfly, researchers hope to be able to use the insect to get to areas larger drones cannot reach.

BBC Click finds out more.

See more at Click’s website and @BBCClick.

Article source:

The coming battle over ‘net neutrality’

A screenshot of an error screen that says sorry, your internet service provider does not want you viewing this content. Youtubers have started creating videos ahead of the day of action.Image copyright

Image caption

Youtubers have started creating protest videos and memes ahead of the day of action.

This week some of the internet’s most popular websites will look quite different, as they participate in a day of action on Wednesday 12 July to oppose changes to US rules which govern net neutrality.

Sites such as Netflix and Amazon are joining with civil liberty groups in a co-ordinated protest, and activists are already sharing viral content on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook in preparation. So why all the outcry – and who’s behind the social media campaign?

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that an internet service provider (ISP) should give consumers equal access to all legal content regardless of its source.

To put it another way, if the networks which form the bedrock of the internet were a motorway, then under net neutrality, there wouldn’t be fast lanes for cars and slow lanes for lorries. Motorists wouldn’t be able to pay to use a faster route. All data regardless of its size, is on a level playing field.

In practice what this means is that ISPs – such as Comcast or Viacom in the US – cannot block content, speed up or slow down data from particular websites because they have been paid to do so. And they can’t give preferential treatment to their own content at the expense of their competitors.

Proponents of net neutrality say it’s a matter of fairness, that it limits censorship and ensures that large ISPs can’t unfairly choke off other content providers. But opponents say it amounts to an undue restriction on business, that regulation stifles investment in new technology, and that net neutrality laws are outdated.

Image copyright
Meme generator

Image caption

Memes like this one are being circulated ahead of the day of action

Why is it an issue now?

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with the support of the Obama administration introduced new net neutrality regulations in 2015, after an extensive campaign by activist groups and tech companies. Those rules put ISPs in the same category as other telecommunication companies.

But President Trump is a vocal critic of the measures, and he appointed a net neutrality opponent, former commissioner Ajit Pai, to chair the FCC at the beginning of this year. Pai said he fears that internet service providers are not investing in critical infrastructure such as connections to low income or rural households because the net neutrality rules prevent them from making money from their investments.

Image copyright

Image caption

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has been a prominent critic of net neutrality regulations

FCC commissioners voted to start the process to end net neutrality rules in May, and the commission is now conducting a public consultation on the issue. Americans have until the end of August to comment on the plans.

Although it’s a tech-world phenomenon and a political debate, the issue has attracted the attention of some prominent celebrities outside of Silicon Valley and Washington.

One of the most outspoken has been British comedian John Oliver, the presenter of Last Week Tonight, who was instrumental in getting the issue of net neutrality trending when the vote results were released, after his tirade against the FCC’s decision went viral.

Image copyright
HBO / Youtube

Image caption

John Oliver has released YouTube films to continue his campaign in support of net neutrality.

Oliver has long been interested in the issue and was one of the champions of the regulations when they were first introduced, and his call to arms saw thousands of people post comments on the FCC website. Some reports even claimed the FCC’s website crashed because of the influx, but the commission later said the crash was due to a denial of service attack by hackers.

What is the Day of Action?

With the deadline for comments on the FCC’s decision looming, tech companies have decided to take co-ordinated action.

On 12 July, huge tech companies such as Amazon will join more than 170 organisations which will “slow down” their services to protest the proposed change. The protest is an attempt to simulate what could potentially happen to popular websites if net neutrality rules are scrapped.

The companies will show advertisements and pop ups which encourage users to comment on a dedicated campaign website.

Image copyright
Battle for the Net

Image caption

Notices like this will appear on popular websites such as Etsy, Mozilla, Vimeo and Kickstarter.

Image copyright
Battle for the Net

Image caption

Twitter and Reddit are to encourage users to participate in the FCC consultation by sharing gifs like this which mimic loading screens.

One of the organisations behind the protest is the Mozilla Foundation, developers of the Firefox web browser.

“We’ve already received some 40,000 comments from people in the US” in response to a campaign, said Mozilla Foundation vice president Ashley Boyd. “On the day people will see some of those comments on our snippet which sits on the front page of Firefox.”

“The problem with this debate is that it can seem very entrenched, with people from big companies on both sides sticking to their views, but we want to showcase that this does have an impact on real people,” Boyd told BBC Trending.

Image copyright

Image caption

The Mozilla Foundation has created a podcast in which experts offer their take on net neutrality – they also plan to share videos on the day of action

BBC Trending on Facebook

ISPs make their case

But it’s not just supporters of net neutrality who will be active on social media on Wednesday. ISPs are also planning to make their case.

Comcast, the largest cable provider in the US, has already started sharing messages stating they support the general principle of net neutrality, but are opposed to the FCC’s existing rules.

Image copyright

Image caption

Comcast argues that they support net neutrality, but that the regulation which classified their company as a “Title II” telecommunications carrier is outdated and heavy handed.

In a blog post, Comcast executive David Cohen wrote: “We have and will continue to support strong, legally enforceable net neutrality protections that ensure a free and Open Internet for our customers, with consumers able to access any and all the lawful content they want at any time”.

The company has backed plans for legislation to protect net neutrality, but claims that the current rules have led to “years of legal wrangling” and uncertainty due to the shift from the Obama administration to Trump’s policies. The company – and other ISPs – worry that a future president could change the rules yet again.

Explaining net neutrality

The challenge for the pro-net neutrality crowd in Silicon Valley is to try and explain the technical nuances of the debate to non-technical people, particularly as most ordinary users of the internet would probably not have noticed a significant change when the rules were introduced in the first place.

Stack Exchange is an American social network of specialists who are trying to fill the knowledge gap. The site follows a question and answer format, with the best answers being voted to the top by members.

One of their earliest communities, Stack Overflow, focused on answering programming questions, and moderator Josh Heyer told BBC Trending that users had been lobbying the company for years to try and get it to take a position in favour of net neutrality.

“Within the company we recognise this is something which had huge potential to cause big problems for lots of our audience,” he said.

“Historically net neutrality rules have been socially enforced, but the whole reason we are having this debate is because it seemed to us that some users of the internet were not sticking to these conventions,” he said. “I tried to explain net neutrality to some friends the other day, and I realised I had been speaking for more than an hour and my friends were still confused.”

Image copyright
Protect the Internet – Facebook

Image caption

Campaigners for net neutrality enlisted the help of their mothers to get their voices heard during a Mother’s Day flurry of activity

Programmers such as Elliott Brown from Ohio have been participating in the debate on Stack Overflow.

“I’m not a political activist, I don’t want to sway a person’s vote one way or the other but I feel they need to have the right information at their fingertips,” he told BBC Trending.

“I’ve been writing concrete and simple examples which frame this debate in laymen’s terms and sending them to friends. No one except us has made the effort to read all the literature, we have a responsibility to explain it.”

Brown is firmly in favour of net neutrality.

“It has huge implications for the whole internet. In the US there are only four or five major carriers. If they were to collaborate they could strangle data access to parts of the internet, it’s not an understatement to say they could influence history,” he said.

Image copyright
Open Media

With the pro-neutrality activists dominating social media it’s easy to believe that the vast majority of tech workers and activists support the existing rules. But there are different perspectives within the tech community. Texan programmer Ben Collins used to work at Stack Exchange and has spent more than a decade in the industry. He told Trending that he thinks the FCC’s changes won’t amount to the “doomsday” for the open internet that many have predicted.

“Fundamentally we want free markets to work, and that the best way for that to happen is for there to be little regulation,” he said. “In the history of the internet there was basically no regulation until this came in, and from my perspective it seems like the only reason we changed things at a fundamental level is because some people were nervous that we might get charged a bit more for fast internet access.”

Collins argues that market pressure will provide an incentive for ISPs to make sure their customers are happy, and that opponents of the rules will be relatively subdued this week – but only because they believe they’ve already won the argument.

“There is market pressure on Comcast and the other providers not to treat their customers poorly,” he said. “A lot of the arguments in favour [of net neutrality] seem to boil down to me that ‘I want better internet access to my house’. The market will provide this but it takes time.”

“I might call my representative next Wednesday to share this point of view, but really I think the reason you won’t see many people saying they want to scrap the regulations on social media is because the commissioners have already made their minds up,” he said.

Blog by Hannah Henderson

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending, and find us on Facebook. All our stories are at

Article source:

Donald Trump backtracks on Russia joint cybersecurity unit

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, 7 July 2017Image copyright

Image caption

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin had their first face-to-face talks on Friday

Donald Trump has backtracked on a proposal to work with Russia to create an “impenetrable” cybersecurity unit to prevent election hacking.

Hours after promoting the idea on Sunday, the US president said that he did not think it could actually happen.

The idea of a partnership with Russia was ridiculed by senior Republicans.

It comes after Mr Trump’s first face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Germany on Friday, in which the pair discussed the issue.

Mr Trump described the outcome of the talks as positive and suggested closer co-operation between the two nations.

“Putin and I discussed forming an impenetrable cybersecurity unit so that election hacking, and many other negative things, will be guarded and safe,” he said.

The initial proposal immediately prompted derision from Democrats, as well as some Republicans who questioned why the US would work with Russia after the Kremlin’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.

Mr Trump shifted his position on Sunday night.

“The fact that President Putin and I discussed a cybersecurity unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t,” he tweeted.

However, he stressed that another issue discussed in his talks with Mr Putin, a ceasefire in south-western Syria, had come into effect.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had sought to defend the proposed cyber unit after Mr Trump’s initial announcement.

Speaking on ABC’s This Week programme, he described it as a “significant accomplishment” for Mr Trump.

“What we want to make sure is that we co-ordinate with Russia,” he added.

However, Republican Senator Marco Rubio suggested that such an initiative would be like partnering with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on chemical weapons.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said: “It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close.”

Media captionTrump to Putin: “It’s an honour to be with you”

A special prosecutor is investigating whether Trump associates colluded with alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US election.

Both Mr Trump and Mr Putin said the allegations had been discussed.

However, the two sides described the content of the meeting differently.

Mr Trump said he “strongly pressed” the issue with Mr Putin, who had “vehemently denied” interfering in the US election.

He also said it was time to work more “constructively” with Russia.

President Putin said he believed President Trump had accepted his assurances that Moscow had not interfered in the vote.

However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said interference in the 2016 election remained an impediment to better relations with Russia, while the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the US “can’t trust Russia” and “won’t ever trust Russia”.

Article source:

Social media firms urged to tackle online body shaming

Harnaam Kaur

Image caption

Campaigner Harnaam Kaur said she received death threats

Internet companies should do more to tackle body shaming online, social media users have told an inquiry into how body image affects young people.

One told Parliament’s annual Youth Select Committee that “so many” young people were suffering from online abuse and feelings of inadequacy.

There should also be greater diversity in the media, the committee heard.

A Facebook and Instagram policy manager said the sites were committed to making sure users had positive experiences.

‘Mean comments’

The Youth Select Committee, which comprises 11 members aged 13 to 18, chose the topic of body image to consider after nearly one million people voted it as one of the top 10 issues in the UK Youth Parliament’s “make your mark” ballot in 2016.

Danny Bowman, who once claimed to be the “world’s first selfie addict”, told the committee he saw “so many young people who are suffering online” from being bullied or body shamed.

He said his own experiences of social media led him to have a mental health problem over his body image and to him being housebound for six months.

Image caption

Danny Bowman told the committee he saw “so many young people” being bullied or body-shamed online

Mr Bowman said he thought Instagram – and the images it has of “six packs left, right and centre” – was “becoming more detrimental, especially to young men”.

He added: “I think it translates into the idea of success and failure – a lot of young men are looking at these images and feeling they are inadequate, a failure…

“If we want to solve this problem we have to go directly to social media networks.”

Image copyright
Paul Michael Hughes/Guinness Wor

Image caption

Harnaam Kaur is a body positivity campaigner

Harnaam Kaur, a body positivity campaigner, said there was a lack of diversity in the media.

Ms Kaur, who has claimed a Guinness world record for her beard, said this had encouraged her to set up an Instagram page.

“That is why Instagram is so important for me, to do photo shoots and show people it is ok to look different.

“I do also feel that companies need to open up their doors to people who do look different and actually stop photo-shopping images…

“The way that women’s bodies and men’s bodies that are being portrayed are not actually their natural form.”

Image caption

Stephanie Teboah said it was “difficult to find models of colour”

Stephanie Teboah, a plus-size model, said a “Westernised standard of beauty” dominated the media, and called for a greater variety of ethnicities and body types.

However, she credited Instagram as a site that also hosts “body-positive” content, too, adding that users can curate their feeds to see the content they want to see.

Karim Palant, Facebook and Instagram’s UK public policy manager, told the committee Instagram was “absolutely committed” to making sure its community is “as positive as possible”.

He added that the companies wanted to make sure policies and tools were in place so that “negatives are dealt with as quickly as possible”.

The committee, which next meets on 14 July, will also hear from academics, mental health experts, education professionals, and government officials.

Article source:

Qualcomm seeks Apple iPhone sales ban

iPhoneImage copyright

Qualcomm, the world’s biggest producer of mobile phone chips, has appealed for the sale of some iPhones in the US to be blocked.

It claims that iPhones using chips by rivals, such as Intel, infringe six of its patents.

Qualcomm said it had asked the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to investigate and impose an import block.

It is the latest move in a series of disputes and lawsuits between Apple and Qualcomm.

In January, Apple filed two lawsuits against Qualcomm, claiming it had abused its dominant market position.

It also alleged the chip-maker had broken an agreement between the two companies, by denying Apple access to chip technologies it was entitled to use under the terms of a licensing deal.

The latest disagreement concerns six patents relating to energy-saving features on the iPhone, which Qualcomm says Apple has used without permission.

According to the news agency Reuters, Qualcomm has also filed a lawsuit seeking financial compensation from Apple.

“Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it. These lawsuits seek to stop Apple’s infringement of six of our patented technologies,” the company said in a statement.

Apple referred the BBC to a previous statement on Qualcomm, in which it said the company’s business practices “harmed the entire industry”.

“They supply us with a single connectivity component, but for years have been demanding a percentage of the total cost of our products – effectively taxing Apple’s innovation”, it said.

“We believe deeply in the value of intellectual property but we shouldn’t have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with.”

Qualcomm said it hoped the ITC would begin an investigation in August.

Article source:

Petya victims given hope by researchers

ScreenshotImage copyright

Image caption

Many reports suggested that screens around the world received this message, indicating a ransomware attack

A security firm says it has managed to decrypt files damaged by the recent Petya ransomware attack, on one infected computer.

The cyber-attack caused havoc for businesses around the globe, but mainly in Ukraine.

The potential solution only works if the ransomware secured administration privileges to the machine.

However Positive Technologies said the concept is currently too technical for most average computer users to run.

“Once you have a proof of concept of how data can be decrypted, the information security community can take this knowledge and develop automatic tools, or simplify the methodology of getting the encryption reversed,” said the firm’s Dan Tara.

The company says in a blog that the creators of the ransomware made mistakes in programming the encryption algorithm Salsa 20 that was used with administration rights.

Mr Tara said his team had not expected to get this result when it started investigating the outbreak.

“Recovering data from a hard drive with this method requires applying heuristics, and may take several hours,” said Head of Reverse Engineering Dmitry Sklyarov.

“The completeness of data recovery depends on many factors (disk size, free space, and fragmentation) and may be able to reach 100% for large disks that contain many standard files, such as OS [Operating Systems] and application components that are identical on many machines and have known values.”

Media captionWhat is ransomware?

It is impossible to work out how many victims would have had their administration privileges taken over.

Without this, the ransomware carries out a different method of encryption which is only reversible with a private key obtainable from the criminals behind it.

However the email address that was provided was initially shut down meaning that they were not contactable by victims who chose to try to pay.

‘Cause for hope’

The research team’s finding only works on the recent Petya ransomware and its variants.

“It doesn’t look like a working solution yet but it gives cause for hope,” said security expert Prof Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey.

Salsa20, which activates when the ransomware has admin privileges, corrupts a device’s Master File Table (MFT), meaning that files are lost forever.

“What they seem to have discovered is that there’s a portion of the MFT that isn’t corrupted and they are suggesting they may have found a way of recovering that,” Prof Woodward added.

“If that is true, that would be a significant finding. It may actually allow people to recover the so-called boot disks, that contain the original operating system, which we were assuming you couldn’t do.”

Earlier this week the perpetrators of the attack appeared to have accessed the ransom payments they raised and made fresh demands.

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Nurofen painkillers, Dettol cleaner and Durex condoms, said the attack may have cost it £110m because of lost production and delivery time, the Financial Times reported.

Article source:

Stream-ripping is ‘fastest growing’ music piracy

YouTube error messageImage copyright

Image caption

Converting and downloading YouTube videos is a violation of the site’s terms and conditions

Stream-ripping is now the fastest-growing form of music piracy in the UK, new research has suggested.

Several sites and apps allow users to turn Spotify songs, YouTube videos and other streaming content into permanent files to store on phones and computers.

Record labels claim that “tens, or even hundreds of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month”.

One service alone is thought to have more than 60 million monthly users.

According to research by the Intellectual Property Office 15% of adults in the UK regularly use these services, with 33% of them coming from the 16-24 age bracket.

Overall usage of stream-ripping sites increased by 141.3% between 2014 and 2016, overshadowing all other illegal music services.

Image copyright

Reasons given for stream-ripping included:

  • Music was already owned by the user in another format (31%)
  • Wanting to listen to music offline (26%)
  • Wanting to listen to music on the move (25%)
  • Cannot afford to pay for music (21%)
  • The feeling that official music content is overpriced (20%)

Robert Ashcroft, chief executive of PRS for Music, said: “We hope that this research will provide the basis for a renewed and refocused commitment to tackling online copyright infringement.

“The long-term health of the UK’s cultural and creative sectors is in everyone’s best interests, including those of the digital service providers, and a co-ordinated industry and government approach to tackling stream-ripping is essential.”

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Tesla to build world’s largest lithium ion battery in Australia

Tesla chief Elon Musk speaks following the announcement in AdelaideImage copyright

Image caption

Tesla chief Elon Musk said the battery was the world’s largest “by a significant margin”

An Australian state will install the world’s largest lithium ion battery in a “historic” deal with electric car firm Tesla and energy company Neoen.

The battery will protect South Australia from the kind of energy crisis which famously blacked out the state, Premier Jay Weatherill said.

Tesla boss Elon Musk confirmed a much-publicised promise to build it within 100 days, or do it for free.

The 100-megawatt (129 megawatt hour) battery should be ready this year.

“There is certainly some risk, because this will be largest battery installation in the world by a significant margin,” Mr Musk said in Adelaide on Friday.

He added that “the next biggest battery in the world is 30 megawatts”.

Large capacity

The Tesla-built battery, paired with a Neoen wind farm, will operate around the clock and be capable of providing additional power during emergencies, the government said.

“It will completely transform the way in which renewable energy is stored, and also stabilise the South Australian network as well as putting downward pressure on prices,” Mr Weatherill said.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The entire state of South Australia was blacked out following a storm last year

Mr Musk’s 100-day pledge will begin once an electricity grid interconnection agreement has been signed.

Tesla has been expanding its battery business alongside its car production.

  • Musk: I can solve Australia power crisis
  • The freak storm that took out a state

South Australia has suffered from blackouts since September last year, leading to a political spat over energy policy.

The row culminated in a bizarre confrontation between Mr Weatherill and a federal government minister at a press conference in March.

Article source:

Cheryl Yeoh: ‘It was sexual harassment at the highest level’

Cheryl YeohImage copyright
Cheryl Yeoh

Image caption

Cheryl Yeoh revealed details about Mr McClure’s behaviour on her website

Tech entrepreneur Cheryl Yeoh’s account of sexual harassment by a leading Silicon Valley investor is the latest discrimination scandal to rock the tech industry.

Dave McClure resigned from 500 Startups, the firm he co-founded, following claims made by another woman – which encouraged Ms Yeoh to publish her own story online.

In her first interview, Cheryl Yeoh explains why she decided to talk publicly about the incident, which took place in 2014, and what she thinks needs to change.

It has been edited for length.

How do you feel about what happened now?

“I was obviously angry and hurt but also surprised that I felt like it wasn’t a rare thing, it was considered normal in the start-up world, the tech world.

“Now I realise that’s not OK and that’s part of the problem. That’s why we need to speak up about it and have a conversation around how do we change this dynamic, how do we change the narrative?”

You thought that it was “normal” for someone in your flat to brainstorm ideas to try to sleep with you?

“My issue is, it wasn’t even me inviting him. It was him and a few other business partners who wanted to come over to brainstorm, and in the start-up world it’s not uncommon to have after business hours brainstorm sessions.

“A lot deals are made after office hours, it’s definitely not uncommon at all.

“What I was shocked about was how bold he was to message me after that and, prior to that, he had asked me to come to his hotel room through text. It’s shocking how bold they are that they wouldn’t be afraid of consequences.”

Would you say that’s still the case today, or are things any better in the start-up world?

“Oh yeah… it takes one person coming out about sexual harassment or discrimination.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Ellen Pao was ordered to pay her former employer’s legal costs after losing her case

“That was a few years ago with Ellen Pao’s case, and with the recent Susan Fowler story about sexual discrimination at Uber, and then a few other stories around Binary Capital, more and more women have the courage to speak up about it, because it was for the longest time a very controversial topic.

“So more people are aware of it and because of it more transparent policies are being created to address it so offenders are hopefully going to think twice before they do it again.”

Can you tell me, if it’s not too difficult, what happened that night?

“I had just moved to Malaysia from San Francisco to take on this very public position as CEO of a government agency that was given $30m [£23m] to start accelerators and programmes to encourage entrepreneurs in South East Asia.

“So Dave McClure had visited Malaysia to work with me to start an accelerator in Malaysia for South East Asia.

“After our board meeting he and some business partners came to my apartment to brainstorm ideas for the programme.

“They bought alcohol over, they brought whiskey, and he kept pouring whiskey into my glass before it was empty, and that felt a little weird.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Dave McClure visited Ms Yeoh’s home in June 2014

“And then hours later, everyone decided to leave and order their cabs but he didn’t seem to want to. When I asked him, like ‘Dave are you leaving?’ he said ‘no’.

“So I said: ‘Do you want to crash here? I have a guest room’.

“I walked him to the guest room and then I walked to my room thinking: ‘I guess he’s just too intoxicated’.

“And then he came into my room and wanted to sleep with me, and I told him: ‘No, I have a boyfriend what are you doing, do you want to leave?’

“I showed him the way out and on the way out, he backed me up against the wall and moved forward to kiss me… that was when it was overboard. Thank goodness I didn’t drink that much and I pushed him away and I opened the door and made sure he was out.

“I couldn’t help but think: what if I was helpless, or I was weaker, or he used more force, what could have happened?

“And that’s just terrible, no one should ever go through that ordeal, so I think that itself is sexual harassment at the highest level.

“And the second thing that was going on there was the power dynamic.

“He had a deal looming over us and if I were to speak up about him then it might compromise the accelerator and that wasn’t even for me, it was for the region, and I felt like I couldn’t report him because the whole region would not get the benefits of the accelerator just because of that night.”

Did you confront him immediately after that, did you speak to him about it again?

“I tried not to speak to him after that, I didn’t know what to say.

“If I had told him how angry I was at the time he might have pulled the deal off… you know now looking back, I’m angry that even though I was mad at him I couldn’t tell him that and that’s just not a good memory.

“But in my post, when I retold my account of what happened, I urged women to write down a full account of what happened (that night), email it to themselves right away so they have a timestamp and they remember what happened, or email it to your best friend, your mum, and when you’re comfortable email it to him, so he knows that what he did was not OK, and that you’re hurt.

“I think that helps with getting closure and it also makes them realise that you’re not OK with it.”

Did you send your post to Dave McClure before you published it?

“I didn’t send him my entire post, I sent him a summary of what happened that night, that he pushed me, I said no multiple times, I told him I was hurt and his [previous] apology was not sufficient.

“And he wrote back and told me that he acknowledged it and he’s ashamed of it and he’s sorry and that he can’t deny any of it.”

[The BBC has seen this message]

And you also heard a claim that he had harassed somebody after leaving your apartment that night?

“As he was leaving my apartment he messaged me around 04:00, and then half an hour after he left he messaged another female entrepreneur in tech and propositioned her.

“She sent me proof of that and I saw it and I was shocked.

[The BBC has also seen screenshots].

“This is not the behaviour of someone who was intoxicated that night and maybe made a mistake.

“It was premeditated and a failed attempt and then another attempt immediately at 05:00.”

Image copyright
Cheryl Yeoh

Image caption

Ms Yeoh published her account online on 3 July

Did you ever think about pressing charges or were you just too worried about the impact on the work you were trying to do?

“At that time, I was in Malaysia, I wasn’t familiar with the law in Malaysia for sexual harassment, I frankly didn’t have time to look it up, I couldn’t go through all that – I was CEO of a $30m company, I just couldn’t at the time.

“I’m back here in San Francisco now and because the incident didn’t happen in the US I can’t really press charges here but I am looking into what I can do in Malaysia.

Hardly any people who actually come forward want to talk on the record, do you think that is going to change?

“I really hope so, it is something very personal and emotional and it’s also very controversial – it shouldn’t be but it is. There are grey areas.

“It’s very easy to victim blame – why did you even let him into your house, why were you even drinking, a tonne of things?

“People don’t want to be judged and if their names that are going to be linked to a sexual harassment case online, very few people are willing to let that tarnish their name.

“I’m in a different position, I’ve done previous work before, I’ve had publicity online for other good things I’ve done, so I know my record goes far beyond this and I certainly don’t need the publicity for this for myself.

“In my post I offer a way to categorise the level of harassment or assault. So an inappropriate comment should have a very different consequence to an unwanted physical sexual advance, and I think if there are different categories it will make feel people more comfortable reporting them.”

Dave McClure’s called his resignation post “I’m a creep, I’m sorry”. He has admitted inexcusable behaviour, is having counselling and has made a very frank admission about his past. Do you think that’s enough?

“No, because the accusation at the time was that he had texted an entrepreneur who was seeking a job from him and the text goes ‘I’m not sure whether to hire you or hit on you’… that’s not right, but it’s a more minor offence.

“When he stepped down from being CEO and apologised for his inappropriateness, everyone thought it was because of that comment, it was too minor a misdeed for him to step down.

Image copyright
Cheryl Yeoh

Image caption

Ms Yeoh is currently a board member at the virtual mobile network operator Flexiroam

“He had a tonne of supporters coming out to say: ‘Oh my gosh, you don’t deserve this, you were just being a man, what’s wrong with this’.

“And that was the problem because the public didn’t know the extent of the harassment he had done to other people.”

Do you think part of the problem is the culture in Silicon Valley?

“It is the nature of tech start-ups, it’s definitely male dominated but you can say the same for finance, and this doesn’t just happen in tech or finance, it happens in the media, in fashion, so many industries. I’ve heard about it from my friends.

“But why it seems like it’s only in the tech world is that we are more vocal as entrepreneurs and we’re more social and we have a more transparent company culture – people are more willing to speak up and there are more platforms and support groups for us to do such a thing.

“So, I think awareness is just more heightened in the tech world, but it happens everywhere.”

Dave McClure has been contacted by the BBC for comment.

Article source: