News & Analysis

  1. strictly-business

    Funding Circle raises $150M at $1B valuation

    Here comes another unicorn. Peer-to-peer lending service Funding Circle has raised a $150 million funding round — bringing its total funding to $300 million — at a $1 billion valuation. Maybe it’s time we stopped calling them “unicorns” and started calling them “horses.” [Source: The New York Times]
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  3. facebook-newsfeed-changes

    Facebook says its latest News Feed change is for users. But as always, it’s to make Facebook more money

    I’m not precisely sure when, but at some point Facebook stopped being a mere social network and became the most important media company in the world. Moreso than every editor at the world’s biggest news conglomerates combined, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm holds enormous sway over what content digital audiences see. This is particularly true among millennials, 88 percent of whom say they get their news “regularly” from Facebook, according to a survey published last month by the American Press Institute. For that reason, publishers have become…
  4. adblock-plus

    Court rules it okay to use AdBlock Plus, despite ramifications for the media

    A Hamburg court has decided consumers have a right to install the ad-blocking tool AdBlock Plus, even though it makes it much more difficult for the publishers to monetize their pageviews. The service responded to the news with a self-congratulatory blog post in which it says it wants to “reach out to other publishers and advertisers and content creators and encourage them to work with Adblock Plus rather than against us” by creating advertisements which are “actually useful and…
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    Facebook uses Hello to sneakily accomplish what Home never could (An analogy involving a frog)

    Facebook’s attempt to use the Android platform for its own purposes by releasing the Home launcher was an unmitigated failure. It changed the experience of using Android too much and offered users too few benefits. Now the company wants to use a dialer app called Hello to realize that same goal without alienating users or changing everything about their smartphone. Hello works like most other Android dialer apps. You download it, install it, allow it to take…
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    Google announces Project Fi

    Google has announced its long-rumored wireless service. Some key details: it only charges consumers for the amount of data they use; it works over WiFi as well as Sprint and T-Mobile’s wireless networks; it costs $20 for the basics and $10 per gigabyte; and it’s exclusive to Nexus 6 smartphones. [Source: Google]
  8. MILA-ROLLS-A-J

    Startups Anonymous: What Selling Drugs Taught Me About Business — Part II

    [This is a weekly series that brings you raw, first-hand experiences from founders and investors in the trenches. Their story submissions are anonymous, allowing them to share openly without fear of retribution. Every Wednesday, we’ll run one new story chosen by Dana Severson, who operates StartupsAnonymous, a place for startups to share, ask questions, and  answer them in story-length posts, all anonymously. You can share your own story here.] So it was late, I had…
  9. elsewhere

    Comcast draws scrutiny for Hulu ties

    The Justice Department is looking into Comcast’s relationship with Hulu, in which it acquired a stake when it bought NBCUniversal, and reports that the company told “its partners it would help make Hulu the nationwide streaming video platform for the cable TV industry.” [Source: The Wall Street Journal]
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    Amazon wants to put all kinds of junk in your trunk

    Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car — as long as you live in Germany, drive an Audi, and sign up for its experimental new service, that is. It works like this: A consumer orders something from Amazon, tells the company where their car will be parked during a certain time, and waits for an Amazon delivery person to deposit the item into their vehicle. Audi will offer one-time keyless access to the car’s trunk when…
  12. Path big in Inodnesia

    Will Path sell off its social network to focus on Path Talk?

    Path might sell off its social networking application to KakaoTalk, a mobile chat service popular in Asia, “multiple sources familiar with the deal” tell Recode. The deal is said to be motivated by the popularity of Path’s social service in Indonesia, where the majority of its 30 million active users live. This would give KakaoTalk more influence in its most important market while also allowing Path to ditch a service that never gained much traction in Western markets. Path’s…
  13. Overheard

    “I would say the best part of the Obama administration has been his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced. Even though he never defends it, even though he never admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation of our national government is to keep us safe.”

    — Presidential candidate Jeb Bush

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  15. elsewhere

    A man shot his Dell

    Here’s a unique way of trashing a computer: A Colorado Springs resident shot his Dell computer eight times after it showed the Blue Screen of Death multiple times. After he was told to go to court — the law isn’t fond of people unloading guns in populated areas — he said it was “glorious” and that he has no regrets. [Source: Ars Technica]
  16. strictly-business

    Zenefits reportedly raising at $3B valuation

    Zenefits is reportedly raising a new funding round at a valuation between $3 billion and $4 billion. It’s looking to raise “somewhere between $300 million and $500 million” from “the usual suspects” of late-stage financing. The company makes on-boarding and human resources software that is offered to businesses for free; it makes money from insurers. [Source: TechCrunch]
  17. Overheard

    “We believe that Comcast-TWC’s unmatched power in the telecommunications industry would lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services for Americans—inhibiting US consumers’ ability to fully benefit from modern technologies and American businesses’ capacity to innovate and compete on a global scale.”

    — Senators Ron Wyden, Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, and others

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  19. strictly-business

    Facebook shifts News Feed algorithms

    Facebook has changed the algorithms that determine what shows up in its users’ News Feeds to emphasize posts from friends and demote items their friends have “liked.” The company warns that, because of this change, “post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.” [Source: Facebook]
  20. jeh

    Homeland security chief to RSA conference attendees: “Consider a tour of service for your country”

    The 24th annual RSA Conference is underway at San Francisco’s Moscone Center and, depending on your personal level of background paranoia, it’s either a dream or a nightmare. I’m posting this from the Press Working Room on the open WiFi network, so there’s every chance the security experts in attendance will have read these words before my editor does. Still, the conference is a far cry from DefCon or the Black Hat Conference — more collared shirts for one thing, and fewer…
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    Listen again to this week’s PandoLIVE

    In this week’s episode of PandoLIVE, Sarah and I were joined by Dan Raile to talk about Airbnb’s fight to the death with the City of San Francisco. We also discussed episode two of Silicon Valley and the upcoming RSA conference. And Indian food. And Destiny’s Child. Listen to the whole thing below…
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The Week in Review