• ariel-diaz

    Boundless on PandoWeekly: Taking on textbooks, getting sued, and being a consumer startup in Boston

    Ariel Diaz, the founder and CEO of Boundless, is taking a big lawsuit filed against his company in his stride. Publishers Pearson, Macmillan, and Cengage filed a copyright suit against the “textbook alternatives” startup early in its life. In the year and a half since, however, Boundless, which is backed by $10 million of venture money, has evolved its business and grown all of its core metrics, including number of users, subjects covered, and products, says Diaz.…
  • Miley media critic

    Miley Cyrus: Millennial media critic [Clickbait edition]

    The world has fair reason to hate the song “23,” but based on recent evidence it should at least hear Miley Cyrus out when it comes to her comments on media in the age of Millennials. Rolling Stone today published some outtakes from its recent cover story on Miley, and the tonguey pop princess said some pretty interesting stuff, not only about social drugs like molly and weed, but also about how the media affects public discourse.…
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    Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes says government has a role to play in tech

    Public policy has a role in determining the future of technology and the extent to which tech companies can track us, Facebook co-founder and The New Republic owner Chris Hughes told Sarah Lacy at PandoMonthly in New York on Thursday evening. “This language that we use to talk about big data and technological determinism as the future no matter what drives me crazy,” Hughes said. “The machines don’t control us. The technology and the software do not determine our future.…
  • Causes logo

    New-look Causes ditches Facebook app in search of social network for social good

    Six years after it was founded and touted as one of the leading new Facebook apps, campaigns platform Causes is pivoting, repurposing itself as a standalone social network for social good in which people and brands can meet to raise money for things they care about. Causes was once the great hope of the early apps built for the Facebook Platform, which, if you stretch your mind back to 2007, was originally envisaged as an app ecosystem that would serve…
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    Screw virality! Antisocial networks are on the rise

    I’ve compared Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates before. It’s both a flattering and unflattering comparison. The parallels aren’t perfect, but both men have built huge and defensible businesses by commanding monopoly-like positions in our digital lives. Microsoft controlled the desktop, and Facebook, like it or not, is the world’s best social graph. It won social the way Google won search. Google+ isn’t pulling an Android-like spoiler. It’s done. But as we all know, just because it’s comprehensive, doesn’t mean…
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    How the LA Dodgers turned a parking lot into Boston’s hottest tech center

    The LA Dodgers might be the best thing that has ever happened to Boston’s startup ecosystem. When Frank McCourt, a Boston real estate developer, bought the beleaguered baseball team from Fox Entertainment in 2004, he inadvertently changed the landscape for Boston tech companies. To muster up the cash to make the purchase, the man that the Boston Globe has described as “volatile, impatient, and brash,” sold 24 acres of parking lots located on Seaport, a boomerang of land jutting…
  • Grove screenshot

    Sequoia launches entrepreneurship content site. (Sound familiar?)

    One of Sequoia Capital’s biggest attributes is its insanely storied history going all the way back to founder Don Valentine’s roots at Fairchild through Atari, Apple, Oracle, Cisco, Yahoo and so many of the companies that made Silicon Valley what it is today. You can understand why the firm has always stubbornly stuck to venture capital classic: Small number of partners, taciturn with the press, reluctant to overpay for valuations, and a sense that an investment from Sequoia meant…
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    Facebook: the Web’s unhappiness scapegoat

    It’s fitting that Facebook features blue iconography and interface design. Interacting with these networks, especially Facebook, is often said to increase a person’s feelings of loneliness, depression, and general unhappiness. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Leuven confirms this hypothesis. The researchers text-messaged 82 Facebook users over the course of two weeks and found that “the more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next…
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    Former Facebook editor launches Beacon, a platform that pays journalists

    Former Facebook managing editor Daniel Fletcher and the two founders behind the Backspaces storytelling app have launched the beta version of a platform that aims to help independent journalists get paid for their work. Called Beacon, the new platform lets readers follow their favorite writers, and others who publish on the service, for a monthly fee. Fletcher and cofounders Adrian Sanders and Dmitri Cherniak want Beacon to foster relationships between readers and writers on a one-to-one basis. Writers can promote…

  • Keep Calm

    Calm down, media, before you hurt someone

    This morning at least one shooter opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard killing at least 13 and wounding many others. Then some new outlets engaged in the usual media modus operandi: In the morning frenzy, news teams competed over who could be first to get out any and all information they had to the public. Then the inevitable mistake occurred. NBC and CBS provided reports that identified one of the shooters as a man named Rollie Chance, after…
  • Aeon Magazine

    Is Aeon Magazine the best magazine on the Internet?

    If “slow media” needs a poster child, it can find one in Aeon Magazine, an online publication about culture and ideas that marks its first birthday tomorrow. In the space of a year, the magazine, started by a London-based Australian couple who have no background in media, has established itself as a first-rate example of a modern-day magazine, free from the constraints of legacy press and proudly aloof from the pageview-chasing linkbaitery of the Web 2.0 era. It publishes top…

  • Carlson was forced to make his own bed.

    “There were a lot of mattress stores” — Business Insider’s inside look at Airbnb

    I went to San Francisco last week for a conference and to meet with sources. Usually when I go to SF, I stay at the Courtyard downtown. The location is great, plus the rooms are nice. A good breakfast is included. There’s a gym. There’s even a pool. So I was about to book a room, but then I saw the price. It was over $500 per night! Ack! I decided to try my luck with Airbnb, a site where…

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    Article One Partners brings the crowd to a patent fight

    Perhaps the most compelling tips from our step-by-step guide to slaughtering patent trolls are to “do your research” and to “team up with other companies fighting the same troll.” Not because they’re new ideas, but because the same tactics have been employed in global conflicts and schoolyard squabbles for years. Article One Partners (AOP) was founded based on both principles. The patent research company tasks some 27,000 independent researchers with scouring the US Patent and Trademark Office…
  • BuzzFeed Community

    BuzzFeed’s new community rules fix nothing

    Three weeks ago, an anti-abortion group called PersonhoodUSA published anti-Planned Parenthood propaganda piece on BuzzFeed’s “community” platform. BuzzFeed copped a lot of flak for doing so, and I criticized the company, saying it had to choose between being a platform and a publication. Today, BuzzFeed issued new community guidelines, intended to make clear its policy around its “open platform,” to which any entity can post. The new rules are vague and won’t do anything to prevent future Personhood USA-type cases…

  • bundleWP

    “Can you help?”: Media startups find models for journalism without ads

    On September 5, NSFWCorp founder and editor-in-chief Paul Carr sent an email to the publication’s subscribers. The subject line was just three words, but it communicated a message greater than just the contents of the email: “Can you help?” In the missive, Carr shed the chirpily optimistic tone he usually assumes when speaking about his Las Vegas-based startup, which publishes a paywalled publication that bills itself, tongue in cheek, as “the future of journalism (with jokes).”

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    What to expect when Apple’s expecting

    So you’ve decided that you’re interested in whatever Apple has to announce on Tuesday. Now you’re probably wondering how you should prepare for this consumeristic clusterfuck and what to expect in the hours and days following the announcement. That’s okay. We’ll do this together. The day before the event. Congratulations, you’re expecting an Apple announcement to come any day now! Here’s what’s most likely to happen in this stage of development: Last-minute reports and leaks. Apple employees and other “sources…

The Week in Review