News & Analysis

  1. uber

    Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is joining Uber

    According to ABC, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will take a voluntary role as chairman of Uber Military. Gates says he is “proud to be a part of this unprecedented effort by a single company to ensure that tens of thousands of our nation’s military members, veterans and spouses have access to a unique entrepreneurial opportunity.” [Source: ABC]
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    EU wants to break up Google

    According to a draft motion seen by the Financial Times, the European Commission will call for a break-up of Google, which would result in an “unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services.” [Source: Financial Times — paywalled]
  4. uber

    NYC taxi drivers ask TLC to suspend Uber’s license

    Taxi drivers in New York have asked the Taxi & Limousine Commission to pull Uber’s license to operate in the city after it was revealed that the company used a tool called “God View” to learn about a BuzzFeed reporter’s ride history. [Source: The Guardian]
  5. pando-breaking-news-small

    Amazon reportedly planning ad-supported video service

    Amazon is developing a video-streaming service that relies on advertising to undercut the price of similar services from Netflix or Hulu, according to the New York Post, which says the service is expected to debut early next year. [Source: The New York Post]
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  7. poker_fab

    How once high-flying Fab’s sale for parts is both worse and not as bad as it seem

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just 17 months ago, investors were strapping Fab with a $1 billion valuation and talking about it as the next Amazon. Today, we get news that the company is in talks to sell to PCH International for a whiplash-inducing $15 million, according to TechCrunch – roughly the banking fee on the company’s most recent funding round. Ouch. So what went wrong and is this fall in value as bad as it seems? The…
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    Aereo admits defeat, files for bankruptcy

    Aereo seems to have finally accepted its demise. The company announced today that it has filed for bankruptcy to “maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts.” The absurd tale is over. It’s taken a while for Aereo to admit defeat. The company fought to survive after the Supreme Court ruled in June that its service was violating the Copyright Act of 1976 because it acted…
  9. nsa-eff-greenpeace-airship

    Utah might stop sending water to an NSA data center — in 2021

    Here’s a novel solution to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs: shut off the water that will allow its data centers to store and analyze unimaginable amounts of information without turning into a puddle of melted hard drives. It’s hard to conduct digital surveillance when the estimated one-million gallons of water sent to critical areas each day stops flowing. That’s not quite what Utah legislators discussed on Wednesday — their proposal involves the suspension of the NSA’s water service contract in 2021,…
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    China tries to get World Internet Conference attendees to support its policies

    China attempted to get World Internet Conference attendees to agree to a proposed declaration that called for stricter porn controls, the destruction of “all dissemination channels of information of violent terrorism,” and respect for individual countries’ Internet sovereignty. The declaration, which was literally slipped under attendees’ doors the day before many were scheduled to leave, wasn’t released. [Source: TechCrunch]
  12. Overheard

    “Beyond structural gender disparities, many respondents complained of a ‘macho, misogynist culture’, with bosses organizing events at strip clubs, and frequent commentary on women’s bodies the norm. That culture was reinforced elsewhere, with female staff told to smarten up, wear lipstick, and some required to attend trade shows where ‘booth babes’ – scantily-clad models promoting products – were commonplace.”

    — The Guardian, after polling readers on Valley sexism

  13. ryan-leslie

    With the help of Ben Horowitz, rapper Ryan Leslie wants to reinvent the record label for the new music economy

    I arrived a few minutes early to Open Kitchen, a cafeteria-style hangout in New York’s Financial District, to meet Ryan Leslie. Leslie is a Grammy-nominated R&B/hip-hop producer and performer who’s collaborated with Beyonce, Britney Spears, and Kanye West, to name a few. In fact, West once said that, along with himself, Leslie was among the only celebrities qualified to serve as a creative director for a tech company. (Kanye likening somebody else to Kanye is the highest praise the noted egomaniac could…
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  15. travisferguson

    On stage at Goldman Sachs event, Uber CEO compared his company’s woes to Ferguson

    Last night, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took a break from his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week to speak at a ritzy gathering of bankers and tech tycoons in Las Vegas, hosted by Goldman Sachs. As Buzzfeed’s Claudia Koerner reported, Kalanick opened his remarks by explaining that the company’s recent scandals weren’t the result of a rotten, top-down culture but rather: “that the company’s fast growth is responsible for a series of mistakes that have left it reeling in…
  16. uber

    Uber Sought To Hire Opposition Researcher To “Weaponize Facts”

    “Uber has in recent weeks sought to hire opposition researchers to “weaponize facts” to use against its taxi industry competition, according to a confidential recruiting document obtained by BuzzFeed News and confirmed by the company.” – Buzzfeed
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    Seth Meyers: Travis Kalanick is Axe body spray in a suit, turned sentient

    “What exactly is going on with the corporate culture at Uber? … Are you a man [Travis Kalanick], or did they just spray Axe Body Spray into a suit until it became sentient?” Seth Meyers responds to Uber’s threats against Pando’s Sarah Lacy. There’s very little funny about his whole situation, but this comes pretty damn close…
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    With Bitcoin Foundation to focus solely on core development, crypto-bulls look to wipe the slate clean in 2015

    A major shift is underway for the Bitcoin Foundation, which yesterday announced that it will cease all education, outreach, and public policy efforts in favor of focusing exclusively on core development of the Bitcoin protocol – its original purpose. In a blog post euphemistically titled “Everybody Pivots,” a reference to the popular HBO show “Silicon Valley,” the organization outlines its new mandate, writing: In the beginning, the foundation did it all — public policy, education and outreach, core development…
  20. war-nerd-sherman

    The War Nerd: Why Sherman was right to burn Atlanta

    KUWAIT CITY — There are times when the sheer ignorance and ingratitude of the American public makes you sick. This week marks the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March from Atlanta to the Sea, which set off on November 16, 1864—the most remarkable military campaign on the 19th century, the campaign which got Lincoln reelected, broke the back of the Confederacy, and slapped most of Dixie’s insane diehards into the realization they were defeated. You’d think our newspaper of record, the…
  21. Trust Fall

    ZenPayroll CEO: Fundraising is a lot like recruiting. We care about shared values and vision

    For ZenPayroll founder Joshua Reeves, fundraising is a lot like hiring. It’s an opportunity to build a team of people with shared values, complementary skills, and a parallel vision for how a product and industry should evolve. And fortunately for Reeves, his cloud-based payroll startup is among the hottest tickets in Silicon Valley today, meaning he has his choice of “recruits” to work with. Nine months after closing its $20 million Series A financing, ZenPayroll today revealed…
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The Week in Review

Saturday