TIME twitter

Twitter Just Apologized For Holding This Controversial Party

US-INTERNET-COMPANY-TWITTER
LEON NEAL—AFP/Getty Images

There was even a Twitter beer pong table

When your Silicon Valley workforce is mostly male and you want to throw a themed-party, what to do? Well, a Twitter team decided it would be a good idea to hold a frat-themed celebration in San Francisco recently.

The company quickly apologized for the misstep, which included “Twitter Frat House” signage and a beer pong table complete with a Twitter logo.

On Tuesday, images of the frat party surfaced on social media when a less-than-enthused female employee brought attention to the event using Facebook, which was quickly removed, but was grabbed and tweeted by the group Global Women in Tech:

Jim Prosser, a Twitter spokesperson, apologized in a statement to Fusion: “This social event organized by one team was in poor taste at best, and not reflective of the culture we are building here at Twitter,” Prosser said. “We’ve had discussions internally with the organizing team, and they recognize that this theme was ill-chosen.”

As the publication notes, Twitter is currently embroiled in a gender discrimination lawsuit in which a female software engineer, Tina Huang, said that promotions are given more frequently to men. Only 10% of Twitter’s tech employees are female, according to company data released last year.

TIME Innovation

How Privatizing Marriage Would Be Disastrous

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Why privatizing marriage would be a disaster.

By Shikha Dalmia in the Week

2. Is the United States working on a new nuclear weapon?

By Oliver Lazarus in the Takeaway

3. Why America’s workforce is shrinking and Europe’s isn’t.

By Tami Luhby in CNN Money

4. The Pentagon is courting Silicon Valley and leaving traditional defense contractors behind.

By Leigh Munsil and Philip Ewing in Politico

5. New drugs for Alzheimer’s could treat Parkinson’s and other brain diseases.

By Jon Hamilton at NPR

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME jeb bush

Jeb Bush Hails Uber In San Francisco, Doesn’t Win Driver’s Vote

Jeb Bush
Eric Risberg—AP Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, puts on his seat belt getting into an Uber car after speaking at Thumbtack, an online startup in San Francisco.

The Uber driver who picked up Jeb Bush Thursday on a San Francisco street corner doesn’t normally vote and didn’t recognize the Republican frontrunner. But the experience of driving a man who could be President, and talking about it with a reporter, may get him to the polls this year.

He said he will probably pull the lever for Hillary Clinton.

Bush is traveling around San Francisco Thursday using the ride-sharing app, the latest embrace by the Republican of the company, which has fought taxi regulations and has come under fire from some Democrats for the scant benefits it offers its network of independent drivers. The GOP has emerged as the company’s staunchest defender, as the party tries to align itself with the hip, and liberal, Bay Area culture as they appeal for younger voters and top donors.

Munir Algazaly, 35, an immigrant from Yemen who has been driving Ubers for a year and a half, said “I had no idea,” that the 6’4″ passenger riding shotgun was the Republican presidential candidate.

Algazaly drove Bush to Thumbtack, a company that matches independent and small-business professionals with consumers—a startup founded by former aides to President George W. Bush that appeals to the GOP’s free-market sensibilities. Bush tweeted that he gave his driver a five-star rating, the highest possible, after the ride.

For nearly an hour before Bush arrived, every car that had the misfortune of slowing near the reporters in the rush-hour traffic was nearly surrounded by television cameras and reporters hoping to view him stepping out of the car. The false alarms continued, even after a campaign aide confirmed that Bush was arriving in a Toyota Camry, with the gaggle of cameras crowding around random vehicles, including this reporter’s taxi when he arrived late bearing a coffee.

About a dozen employees of Thumbtack were waiting by the loft windows of their headquarters to take photos of Bush when he arrived.

In the liberal stronghold, the response from passersby when they realized Bush was infiltrating their Democratic redoubt was mixed. One woman laughed heartily before flashing a “rock-on” hand sign, after briefly being accosted by the cameras in another case of mistaken identity. Another passerby, when informed that the press was waiting for Bush, stuck out her tongue and sneered before driving away. A few more drivers honked and yelled.

Responding to a question from a reporter, Bush reported that his father, former president George H.W. Bush, is “stable” and “doing okay, I think” after a fall Wednesday in which he broke a bone in his neck.

Algazaly said he didn’t recall what Bush’s specific Uber rating was, adding that they talked about the city and traffic as they drove.

While Bush took questions for 10 minutes from reporters after his town hall at Thumbtack, an aide called another Uber for Bush, asking the driver, who was quickly surrounded by cameras and reporters, “Can you handle this?” The driver, who said he was a Democrat, was game, and as reporters shouted questions at him and photographers blocked traffic to take his photo, he slowly pulled away from the curb, saying, “We’ve got to go.”

Read next: Jeb Bush Wishes He Could Speak Like Obama

Listen to the most important stories of the day

TIME Charleston

Apple, Microsoft CEOs Call for End to Racism After Charleston Shooting

President Obama Speaks At Summit On Cybersecurity And Consumer Protection At Stanford University
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection on February 13, 2015 in Stanford, California.

The issue has resounded across social media

In the wake of last week’s shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine dead, some voices that rarely pipe up on national issues resounded across social media: those of Silicon Valley CEOs.

Over the weekend, executives from Salesforce, Apple, Microsoft, and other tech companies took to Twitter to express condolences for the victims’ families. And some took it even further, joining some politicians to call for South Carolina to take down the Confederate flag that flies in the capital.

Mark Zuckerberg, of course, took to Facebook to express solidarity with Charleston. “Hope can overcome hate,” he wrote. But Slack’s CEO Stewart Butterfield certainly takes the cake for being the most outspoken in the Silicon Valley bubble. Butterfield took issue with a Wall Street Journal editorial on the tragedy, which said that the shooting was not rooted in racism. This is Butterfield’s first tweet, and the rest is here.

TIME Video Games

Watch Conan Get Dominated in Halo by the Stars of Silicon Valley

Conan is on the red team, of course

No one has gained as much notoriety for being terrible at video games as Conan O’Brien.

The late-night talk show host has taken his tongue-in-cheek celebration of the medium to a new level in a recent segment in which he (poorly) attempted to play the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. Conan, along with Andy Richter and Aaron Bleyaert, squared off against Silicon Valley stars Thomas Middleditch, TJ Miller and Zach Woods in a multiplayer bout of the new first-person shooter.

Conan was predictably awful, spending one round trying to shoot out a pane of impenetrable glass to release a shark that’s actually just there for decoration. At one point the warring factions call a truce, only for Conan to “accidentally” take a potshot against one of the Silicon Valley stars.

Check out all the antics in the video above.

TIME Apple

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook: Diversity Is ‘the Future of Our Company’

Tech leader says the industry is to blame for not hiring enough women

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook doesn’t mince words when asked about the importance of diversity: “I think the most diverse group will produce the best product, I firmly believe that.”

In an interview with Mashable ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) Monday, Cook told the website that Apple is a “better company” by being more diverse. He says a lack of diversity in tech isn’t because women don’t want to be involved in the sector. Instead, Cook places the blame on the broader tech community saying generally, “We haven’t done enough to reach out to show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.”

Apple is certainly part of the problem. A workforce data report last year showed that just 30% of its global workforce is female. And leadership positions at Apple skew even more white and male than the broader workforce. Cook has in the past said he’s not satisfied with the numbers.

The gadgets maker is also putting a little money up to match Cook’s interest in promoting diversity. Apple generated headlines earlier this year when it donated more than $50 million to groups that want to get more women, minorities and veterans working in tech. But let’s not throw Apple a parade just yet. The company posted a profit of $13.6 billion in the second quarter alone.

More: Read about Apple in the latest Fortune 500 list

TIME Companies

Google’s Proposed New Building Looks Like it Belongs on Mars

Google

The plan comes after Google lost a real estate battle with LinkedIn

Following a real estate rejection from the Mountain View, Calif. city council last month, Google has released new plans for a trimmed-down campus extension that would cover nearly 19 acres of land. Called “Charleston East,” the semi-translucent Google extension looks as if it would fit just as well on the surface of Mars as it would in Northern California.

Google was planning a much bigger headquarters expansion, though Mountain View decided to award the majority of the land up for grabs to LinkedIn. Wired notes Google’s new plan isn’t a replacement of the company’s original vision.

TIME slack

Everyone Wants to Acquire Tech Darling Slack

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive office of Slack.
Slack Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive office of Slack.

CEO Stewart Butterfield says the suitors have been lining up

The workplace messaging app Slack is not just popular among businesses trying to streamline how their employees communicate in the office. It’s also the belle of the ball when it comes to tech companies looking to spend big on acquisitions.

Speaking at the Code Conference Thursday, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield told the audience that he has fielded acquisition offers from between eight and ten companies, according to a report in TechCrunch. But he is simply uninterested in cashing out.

“I’m going to make more money than I need in any outcome at this point,” Butterfield said.

Instead, the Silicon-Valley CEO is in it for the long haul, and for his legacy. “Five or ten years from now, I want people to talk about our employees like, ‘Ooh they worked at Slack,” he said.

TIME Autos

Watch BMW Test Driverless Cars and Virtual Reality

With tech companies on its heel, the top premium car maker taps the Internet to try and win the next race

Automakers have never had so much in common with Silicon Valley. Car makers are increasingly relying on technology to develop, market and sell cars to consumers. In fact, most of the world’s major auto companies established research and development labs of one sort or another in the Bay Area. BMW and Volkswagen set up shop there in 1998, General Motors in 2006, Toyota and Ford in 2012, Renault-Nissan in 2013. The automotive industry spends some $100 billion globally on R&D annually, about 16% of the world’s total for all industries.

Likewise, Bay Area firms are also increasingly interested in autos. Ever since the dawn of the personal computer, Silicon Valley has been inventing or reinventing new gadgets: the music player, the phone, the computer first as a phone and, later, as a tablet. Amazon remade the mall. Netflix and YouTube remade TV. Elon Musk’s Tesla notwithstanding, the last great remaining American preoccupation that tech hasn’t widely tackled is the automobile.

MORE: See Inside BMW’s Secret Design Lab

But automakers have a significantly more difficult task integrating technology into their vehicles. Where a new version of an Android phone, for example, might be reasonably expected to last its owner two or three years, most cars are on the roads for decades. That means built-in technology has to last over a much longer time fame. Legislation, as the fights over Tesla’s dealership model and Google’s self-driving cars have shown, can be limiting. And some high-tech bells and whistles simply never take. For every innovation like GPS navigation, there’s a numeric key pad.

In this video, TIME looks at how the top-selling premium manufacturer BMW is exploring new technology ranging from self-driving vehicles to virtual reality in an effort to keep pace with the competition.

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