News & Analysis

  1. Overheard

    “We didn’t get the price right. I think people come to expect a great value, and we sort of mismatched expectations. We thought we had it right. But we’re also willing to say, ‘we missed.’ And so we corrected.”

    — Amazon's David Limp explains the Fire Phone's price problem

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    Android creator Andy Rubin leaves Google

    Android creator Andy Rubin has left Google shortly after handing the reins of his mobile platform to Sundar Pichai and leading the company’s advanced robotics efforts, the New York Times reports. He plans to create “a tech incubator focused on start-ups interested in building hardware.” I wonder how many of ‘em will end up being sold to Google. [Source: The New York Times]
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    Hungary cancels plans for Internet tax

    Hungary has canceled plans for a tax on data transfers, the BBC reports, just one week after it was first revealed. The proposal was met with swift criticism from Hungarian citizens, many of whom have protested the tax for the last week. [Source: BBC]
  5. Uber Halloween

    Uber wisely over-communicates about surge pricing ahead of busy holiday weekend

    Uber’s surge pricing has landed the company in hot water on countless occasions. Most publicly were the company’s arguably tone-deaf response in the lead-up to floods in NYC in fall 2012*, where rates climbed as people tried to get home from work or leave the city. More recently, Uber came under fire (unfairly in my opinion) in San Francisco for what many claimed was profiteering off of a tragic BART fatality and rail service interruption. Large public…
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  7. taibbi

    First Look staffers finally admit Omidyar massively interfered with editorial, say Taibbi accused of sexist bullying

    Well this is absolutely remarkable. Just a few days after NY Magazine reported that Matt Taibbi was on the way out of Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, Taibbi’s former colleagues have published what they claim is the inside story on his departure. In the post, the First Look staffers finally admit what Pando has been reporting for months: That Omidyar exercised a ridiculous level of editorial control over First Look. That control included vetoing editorial hiring and firing and even…
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    THE INSIDE STORY OF MATT TAIBBI’S DEPARTURE FROM FIRST LOOK MEDIA

    “A collision between the First Look executives, who by and large come from a highly structured Silicon Valley corporate environment, and the fiercely independent journalists who view corporate cultures and management-speak with disdain. ” – The Intercept
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    Nike’s new LeBron ad and the dangers of buying into the “Believeland” hype

    Who is LeBron James? Is he a fresh-faced youth who, displaying maturity beyond his years, keeps his head and down and lives up to the hype? Is he a goofball whose nice-guy attitude is a relatable counterpoint to his terrifying on-court prowess? Is he a devil-may-care lord of darkness who simply doesn’t care what jilted Cleveland fans think? Or are they all acts, and James is really the Rust Belt Savior who has returned to…
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  11. svitlana-zalishchuk-and-omidyar

    Omidyar-funded candidate takes seat in new Ukraine parliament

    Ukraine just held its first post-revolution parliamentary elections, and amid all of the oligarchs, EU enthusiasts, neo-Nazis, nepotism babies, and death squad commanders, there is one newly-elected parliamentarian’s name that stands out for her connection to Silicon Valley: Svitlana Zalishchuk, from the billionaire president’s Poroshenko Bloc party. Zalishchuk was given a choice spot on the president’s party list, at number 18, ensuring her a seat in the new Rada. And she owes her rise to power to…
  12. sklar

    By speaking for just herself, Rachel Sklar speaks for all women

    I guess it had to happen eventually. Rachel Sklar and I have not always seen eye-to-eye on how to talk about the challenges facing women in tech, and beyond. Today, however, Sklar wrote something about women that I completely agree with. Like nodding-at-every-word agree with. In an honest, thoughtful essay, posted today on Medium, Sklar shared with the world the news that she is single, 41, and pregnant. And — although Sklar doesn’t say it quite this aggressively– she essentially adds that if people,…
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  14. Bitcoin Bill

    SEC chairman turned bitcoin board member Arthur Levitt talks volatility, regulation, and currency instability

    There’s a revolving door between industry and the regulatory halls of Washington DC. It’s not uncommon to see high profile regulators “retire” from public service to land cushy jobs in the financial industry, pharma, defense, and other sectors where their “experience” and “connections” can pay major dividends. This much isn’t news. But former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Arthur Levitt has taken a less traveled route, opting to join the boards of several early-stage startups. In addition to his…
  15. Overheard

    Petition to boycott Birchbox calls for cruelty-free beauty products

    “Please sign this petition to get the message to Birchbox that their business will suffer unless they stop using animal-tested makeup products. Help them understand that every time they sell an Estee Lauder/Shiseido/Unilever product, they are contributing to an animal’s pain, suffering, and even death. Only cruelty-free can be beautiful.” –The Petition Site
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    Freaked out by artificial intelligence? Don’t watch the trailer to “Ex Machina”

    One of the good things about living in a scarily disruptive era of unprecedented surveillance and technology is that it makes for great fodder for artists. From “Her” to “Black Mirror,” the past couple years have brought some terrifying and terrifically entertaining science fiction stories that speak volumes about today’s world. After all, with technological advancement moving faster than ever, the future worlds imagined by these films have never been closer to reality. While my anxieties tend more toward…
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    The MPAA bans Google Glass, but I’d rather share a theater with Glassholes than assholes

    The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theater Owners have updated their policies to force theater-goers to turn off and put away “wearables” at show time. This means products like Google Glass, which have already been banned from some theaters on an individual basis, are no longer allowed to be worn in any theater in the country. It seems like the ban would be easy to support. Glass makes people uncomfortable, as shown by
  19. smart-watches-are-dumb

    The tech industry is turning health trackers into commodities before they even go mainstream

    We’ve reached Peak Health. In the last few days, Google has released a fitness application that uses smartphone sensors to measure physical activity; Microsoft has announced its own health platform and fitness tracker; even Nintendo has revealed a device that “reads a user’s movement, heart rate, respiration and fatigue, and sends that data to servers to be analyzed,” as Polygon reported Wednesday night. That’s not counting Apple’s HealthKit platform, Facebook’s interest in adding health-related tools to its products, and…
  20. Overheard

    “While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

    — Apple CEO Tim Cook in a letter published by Businessweek

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The Week in Review