News & Analysis

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    By still failing to act, Michael Heyward allows the cancer inside Whisper to grow

    On Friday, I made the should-be uncontroversial point that Michael Heyward, the CEO of Whisper, should respond to the privacy scandal that continues to obliterate public trust in his company. Specifically, I wrote, Heyward needs to either make a clear statement in support of staffer Neetzan Zimmerman’s claim that the Guardian fabricated its reporting into Whisper’s user privacy policies, or he needs to refute it and fire Zimmerman. Only by making clear his own position can Heyward reassure Whisper users that…
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    So, what should we talk about on Monday’s PandoLIVE?

    It’s that time of the week again, when we pick the topics for Monday’s PandoLIVE. Sarah and I will be in the Rackspace studio from 5pm Pacific tomorrow and we’d love for you to join the discussion (877-959-6739).

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    GM’s hit and run: How a lawyer, mechanic, and engineer blew open the worst auto scandal in history

    As the sun was setting on a stormy Georgia day, Brooke Melton was 30 miles outside of Atlanta in her Chevy Cobalt. It was March 10, 2010, her birthday, and the 29-year-old pediatric nurse was on her way to her boyfriend’s to celebrate. Melton had purchased the white GM Cobalt in 2005, the year the four-cylinder compact first rolled out of factories, and lately it had been giving her trouble. A week earlier the engine had unexpectedly shut off. Melton…
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    It’s time for Whisper’s CEO to do his damn job

    It was Michael Heyward’s game to lose. The well-documented awfulness of Secret, and its suicide-happy founder David Byttow, had made Whisper by default the “less evil” secret-sharing app. A content partnership with Buzzfeed and another apparently in the offing with the Guardian, tens of millions in funding and a $200m valuation. All Heyward and his team had to do was not screw the pooch. That was last week. This week: Oh, the stories that bandy-legged pooch could tell. You’ve…
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    Evgeny Morozov did not “plagiarize” in the New Yorker, but what he did was almost as bad

    Evgeny Morozov is almost certainly smarter than me and he’s probably smarter than you. I know because the Belarus-born academic and author has held all sorts of vague positions like “fellow” and “visiting scholar” at prestigious universities that wouldn’t let me anywhere near, except maybe the basketball arena to watch a game. He’s written two books and his byline has appeared in dozens of respected newspapers and magazines. And while I don’t always agree with his criticisms of modern technology, and often find…
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    Quick! Get your ticket to next week’s Pando Monthly with Aneel Bhusri and Jerry Yang

    A triple treat for PandoMonthly attendees next Thursday: Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and Workday CEO/Greylock partner Aneel Bhusri together on stage in San Francisco, interviewed by Pando’s Sarah Lacy. Courtesy of Bhusri, expect killer insight on SaaS, enterprise, venture capital and more. And, of course, with all the interest around Yahoo and Alibaba (“the most lucrative bet in Silicon Valley history” — Forbes) there’s no better time to hear Yang tell that story in his own words. (Speaking of bets, it’s a pretty safe…
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    Oh Yes, He’s The Great Connector: Jason Hirschhorn’s Expertly Curated World

    “While his REDEF website curates the best of the web, Jason Hirschhorn has become one of the most popular, and well-respected, seers of the media world.” – Daily Beast
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    Buzzfeed beefs up news app team with Financial Times hire

    During the summer, Buzzfeed announced it was building an app devoted just to its news vertical. Now it has an editorial head to go with its development team: Stacy-Marie Ishmael, vice president of communities for the Financial Times. [Source: Nieman Lab]
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    Warner Music Group acquires Playlists.net

    Warner Music Group has acquired Playlists.net for an undisclosed sum. According to Techcrunch, the popular playlist sharing site “is thought to have compiled the biggest database of independent Spotify playlists.” [Source: Techcrunch]
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    Why you shouldn’t freak out about Twitter’s new timeline experiments

    For the most-experienced power users of Twitter, the timeline is sacred. We constantly prune and pluck at the accounts we follow, shaping our feed to produce the funniest and smartest timeline of curated chaos we can handle. But most users don’t do this, and Twitter knows it. That’s why it’s been experimenting with the home timeline, adding popular or relevant tweets from accounts you don’t follow or activity from accounts you do. Many have already observed these changes on their own feeds —…
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    Amazon may not have the best products or services, but it can still lead in customer service

    If there’s anything in need of “disruption” in the tech world, it’s customer service. Fortunately, companies are beginning to realize that just making cool or useful products is not enough. Samsung has added a new feature to its Chromebook 2 laptop that allows consumers to video chat with a customer service representative and seek help with their product problems. But if there’s any company that’s really led this idea of, you know, caring about customers, it’s Amazon. The company introduced a…
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    Obama names Revolution Ventures’ Ron Klain as US Ebola Czar

    Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Bidon, has been named as US Ebola Czar by President Obama. Most recently, Klain has been President of Case Holdings and General Counsel of Steve Case-led investment group Revolution Ventures. Klain will be taking a leave of absence from Revolution, according to a tweet by Case this morning. [Source: CNN]
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    Uber fired, re-hired driver after he shared a Pando article

    Uber fired one of its drivers for sharing a Pando article about a series of robberies in Los Angeles and then re-hired him after the media caught wind of the outrageous overreaction. A spokesperson told the Guardian that the account should “never have been deactivated” and was “reactivated…upon discovering the mistake.” [Source: The Guardian]
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    How can Apple offer the future of payments if its own stores are so inefficient?

    It’s strange to think that Apple can promise the future of payments when it can’t process financing requests in its own retail stores. But based on my experience seeking 12-month financing for a new laptop last night, that inconsistency is all-too-common in stores. I thought it would be easy for Apple to process the request, grab the device, and hand it over to my fiancée and me. Instead we were treated to a system built around an online store…
  20. Mobile Spam

    Whitepages adds Spam Score to its Android caller ID app, leaves iOS badly outclassed

    With many consumers abandoning landlines in favor of mobile phones, telemarketers, robocallers and other forms of more nefarious spam calls are no longer confined to the home. Today, these calls are finding us wherever and whenever, often even spilling over into text messages, and as a result are more intrusive than ever. Android users just got a sexy new weapon in the fight against call spam with the latest update to the Whitepages Caller ID app released today. Consumers…
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    Amazon brings its grocery service to Brooklyn

    Amazon has brought its grocery service, which allows its customers to purchase food in addition to all the other miscellanies they can buy through the eclectic marketplace, to Brooklyn. It will start in the Park Slope neighborhood and expand to other areas of the borough in the future, according to Re/code, before it spreads around New York. [Source: Re/code]
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