ON THE MONEY
A Lower East Side tech startup stumbled this week, facing a storm of online criticism over fostering sexism.
Sqoot, a year-old daily deals platform, was forced to cancel a hackathon — where a mostly male audience of programmers trouble-shoot code — scheduled for next week after the company made an offensive comment about women on its website.
Sqoot’s online event page listed a number of “perks” hackers could expect at the hackathon.
They were going for a party-like atmosphere with DJ and drinks, but crossed the line when it listed among the amenities:
“Women: Need another beer? Let one of our friendly (female) event staff get that for you.”
Yehia and his team were made aware within hours of the posting that a number of women in tech were not amused. The Twitter critics were chirping loudly, assailing the “women behind the bar” attitude.
Yehia said Friday that the event was called off as he and his team do some soul-searching. A number of sponsors had already backed out.
In a phone interview, Yehia seemed emotional. He said he shocked himself with the insensitivity of the comment and regretted that he was blind to the obvious potential for offense.
Surprising Cash King
Despite the computer-maker’s widely trumpeted decision this week to share some of its mind-blowing $97.6 billion cash pile in dividends and a share-buyback program, it’s not the king of cash in tech land.
The laurels go to its nemesis, Microsoft. Sure, Apple is head and shoulders above the Windows-based company when its short- and long-term cash piles are combined.
But the iPad maker has $67 billion tied up in long-term investments like US Treasuries and commercial paper, leaving it only $30 billion in readily available cash.
When it comes to short-term liquid assets that can be turned into cash within 12 months — like boring bank CDs and Treasuries — Steve Ballmer’s firm catapults to the No. 1 spot.
Microsoft has a stunning $50.7 billion in short-term cash, 69 percent more than Apple, according to data compiled by Capital IQ.
In a much quieter announcement than Apple’s, Microsoft recently declared a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share.
It gets more painful in this game of bragging rights. No. 2 among the tech titans is Cisco, with $46.7 billion in short-term cash. That puts Apple at lowly No. 5, behind No. 3 Google ($43.3 billion) and No. 4 Oracle ($31 billion.)
Still, Apple can claim supremacy — overseas. That’s where it has parked an estimated $64 billion in cash, compared with Microsoft’s estimated $57 billion bundle.
Just don’t say that Apple is the cash king here at home. “You can’t negate the $50.7 billion at Microsoft,” Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P, told On the Money, referring to Microsoft’s short-term cash. “It comes down almost to a game of guts.”
John Aiden Byrne
Voli Light is hoping to jump onto the top shelf after rolling out its newest partner, Fergie.
The New York-based, privately held distiller, which also recruited rapper Pitbull to help nail down the male demographic in pitching its clear, low-calorie beverage, believes Fergie — the lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas — can entice women to turn the company into a powerhouse in the multibillion-dollar US vodka market.
The six-time Grammy Award-winner wasn’t interested in just being the company’s eye candy, as her title of partner and co-owner allows for an equity share and the responsibility of working with marketing and advertising teams.
“Like any businesswoman, I want the brand to do well,” Fergie told OTM. “Voli is the perfect solution for an active, healthy girl on the go, so when I heard about it, I wanted in.”
The CEO of Voli Light Vodkas, Adam Kamenstein, is ecstatic to have her in the fold.
“As a brand that appeals to women as well as men, it has always been our goal to align with a vibrant, fun and sexy female such as Fergie,” gushed Kamenstein.