CNCF’s Priyanka Sharma on building an open source movement during a pandemic

When Priyanka Sharma took the reins at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) this summer, it was hard to say whether her timing was auspicious or ominous.

As general manager of the organization that oversees the fast-growing open source movement, she is in an immensely influential position. But with a global pandemic upending everyone’s plans, she knew the foundation’s priorities would need to adapt.

For four months now, she’s been trying to strike a balance between helping the foundation navigate its technical mission and tending to the well-being of its community. What she’s learned so far is that both aspects are essential for an open source movement to thrive.

“Many people are like, ‘Oh, what a terrible time to walk into this job,’” Sharma said. “But I think it’s been really good because I’ve had a chance to step up and help the community go through a challenging period.”

A new cloud infrastructure

Founded in 2015, the CNCF is an open source organization that operates under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation. The CNCF’s mandate is to oversee the ecosystem of tools being developed to drive the growth of “microservices,” or “cloud-native computing.”

This approach to developing cloud infrastructure, which relies on containers, holds that breaking applications into smaller, self-contained units can significantly reduce the costs and time needed to write, deploy, and manage them. The result should be a web that is faster yet more stable. Just as compelling to proponents, it should deliver a more open web that makes it easier for users to change cloud platforms.

As containers began taking off several years ago, Google developed an orchestration platform called Kubernetes to manage them. Google approached the Linux Foundation about open-sourcing Kubernetes, and those talks led to the creation of the CNCF, which also counts Twitter, Huawei,

Building Strategies To Unlock Growth, Inclusion And Prosperity For Women In Technology

Co-Founder of Women in Cloud. I influence brands and entrepreneurs to unlock economic access through digital strategy and partnerships.

It’s been shown that diverse teams, including those with greater gender diversity, are on average more creative and innovative, and ultimately, they are associated with greater profitability. However, as McKinsey & Company notes, “despite the growing number of voices pushing for gender equality across the United States, and many tech companies stating that diversity is a priority, we are not yet seeing concrete gains in the tech industry.”

Women-led technology businesses face significant barriers when it comes to economic access. In 2018, female technology founders brought in just 2.2% of U.S. venture capital dollars.

While women in the technology sector were behind in the race for economic opportunities before the Covid-19 outbreak, the recent pandemic-related restrictions have had devastating economic and emotional impacts, pushing them even further to the back. According to a recent survey we conducted with Microsoft, women-led technology businesses are expected to lose between $1.5 million and $5 million in revenue and opportunities as a result of Covid-19.

Now more than ever, we need to increase economic access and leadership opportunities for women-led technology companies to support their recovery and growth. Here are four ways corporations, businesses and the private sector can improve economic access for women technology founders and their companies and support their recovery from — and growth beyond — the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unlocking Procurement Opportunities For Women Technology Founders

Many mistakenly assume that market competition and anti-discrimination legislation address any improper biases in contracting and procurement. However, only 1% of women technology entrepreneurs win contracts.

In order to improve women-led technology companies’ chances of securing high-level contracts, businesses and governments alike must unlock procurement vehicles to make them more accessible to women tech

Fairfield Commercial Building Adds 2 New Tenants

FAIRFIELD, CT — A commercial building in Fairfield recently added two new tenants.

Elinco International Inc. has leased 7,406 square feet of warehouse space on the first floor of 418 Meadow St., while Atmos Air is leasing 3,072 square feet of offices on the second floor, according to a Sept. 25 news release from Southport-based commercial real estate firm Angel Commercial LLC.

“It is great to have found tenants that can utilize the space to help grow their business while remaining in Fairfield,” Angel Commercial LLC President Jon Angel said in the news release. “… The building is in an excellent commuter location with easy access to I-95, Exits 23 & 24.”

Angel was the sole broker in both transactions. Elinco International will take over the space previously occupied by the Fairfield Public Schools maintenance department, according to Jacqueline Greenwood, marketing director for the firm.

Within the last year, the department moved to a location in Bridgeport, after Fairfield officials chose not to renew the school district’s lease at 418 Meadow St., which is owned by Julian Enterprises and serves as the company’s corporate headquarters.

At the time, Julian and Fairfield were embroiled in a legal battle related to Julian Development’s management of the town fill pile. Additionally, several former Fairfield employees were charged in connection with an investigation of contamination at the pile, as was Julian Companies Owner Jason Julian.

Incoming 418 Meadow St. tenant Elinco International Inc. was founded in 1926 in Stamford, and manufactures instruments and controls for electric utility companies.

New office tenant AtmosAir Solutions was established in 2004 and provides continuous indoor environmental sanitizing technology. Its bipolar ionization HVAC device has tested more than 99.9 percent effective in neutralizing the coronavirus, according to the news release from Angel Commercial LLC.

418 Meadow Street is located

AI Weekly: Palantir, Twitter, and building public trust into the AI design process

The news cycle this week seemed to grab people by the collar and shake them violently. On Wednesday, Palantir went public. The secretive company with ties to the military, spy agencies, and ICE is reliant on government contracts and intent on racking up more sensitive data and contracts in the U.S. and overseas.

Following a surveillance-as-a-service blitz last week, Amazon introduced Amazon One, which allows touchless biometric scans of people’s palms for Amazon or third-party customers. The company claims palm scans are less invasive than other forms of biometric identifiers like facial recognition.

On Thursday afternoon, in the short break between an out-of-control presidential debate and the revelation that the president and his wife had contracted COVID-19, Twitter shared more details about how it created AI that appears to prefer white faces over black faces. In a blog post, Twitter chief technology officer Parag Agrawal and chief design officer Dantley Davis called failure to publish the bias analysis at the same time as the rollout of the algorithm years ago “an oversight.” The Twitter executives shared additional details about a bias assessment that took place in 2017, and Twitter says it’s working on moving away from the use of saliency algorithms. When the problem initially received attention, Davis said Twitter would consider getting rid of image cropping altogether.

There are still unanswered questions about how Twitter used its saliency algorithm, and in some ways the blog post shared late Thursday brings up more questions than it answers. The blog post simultaneously states that no AI can be completely free of bias, and that Twitter’s analysis of its saliency algorithm showed no racial or gender bias. A Twitter engineer said some evidence of bias was found during the initial assessment.

Twitter also continues to share none of the results from

Rethinking Building Construction And Maintenance, With Help From The Cloud

The construction industry can—and must—undergo as profound a digital transformation over the next few years as any business segment, spurred on by help from the cloud. 

Foundational business practices—such as supplier and customer relationships, as well as organizational structures and marketing methods—have profoundly changed in 2020. That’s true no matter what product or service you sell, and there’s a strong chance these new ways of working will survive the COVID-19 pandemic as lasting parts of your business. 

Many organizations are already working in the cloud for faster and more accurate sales tracking, as well as quicker reactions to market changes. Typically, those companies are in fast-moving industries like online retail, finance, and digital media. But what about industries that haven’t been seen much in the cloud? There are signs that businesses in these industries are also moving toward profound digital change, reimagining themselves in unexpected ways—and reaping benefits that prove the cloud isn’t just for digital-native companies. 

Too often we hear the argument that digital transformation is only for digital companies. I don’t agree.

Consider the field of construction and building maintenance. Two years ago, a survey by Ernst & Young of companies along the engineering and construction value chain (including general contractors, designers, developers, and companies focused on infrastructure, building materials, and engineering) showed that only 25% of respondents had a clear digital transformation plan in place. That’s a fairly shocking number for industries of this size. The construction industry alone employs more than 7 million people and creates $1.3 trillion worth of structures each year, according to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America, the leading association of the industry. This means that businesses that can put together and execute their