News & Analysis

  1. Bellhops

    On-demand mover Bellhops snags $6.5M in Series A fuel to keep the good times rolling

    We live in an on-demand world. Technology is putting ever more functionality and real-world services into the palms of our hands, thanks to the proliferation of always connected, location aware, mobile devices. Another major trend shaking up the way we access services is the peer-to-peer (or sharing) economy, in which consumers offer their time, labor, and goods directly to one another, often with the only intermediary being a digital booking platform. Sitting right at the intersection of these two trends is
  3. vintage tow truck

    Forget AAA. Honk is a nationwide on-demand towing platform fueled by technology

    There’s nothing enjoyable about needing a tow truck. From the frustration of waiting forever for it to arrive to the unshakable knowledge that you’re about to be gouged for a simple service, it’s a situation most drivers would gladly avoid. And like most industries, the experience of ordering a tow truck hasn’t changed in decades. Honk is a Santa Monica startup working to modernize roadside assistance via an on-demand mobile platform that puts tow trucks at the touch of…
  4. isis-gaza

    Fear-mongers invoke the Islamic State to block NSA reform

    Senate Republicans have successfully used the specter of the so-called Islamic State to block the USA Freedom Act, which would have curtailed government surveillance and allowed companies to be more honest with consumers about data requests, nixing any hope of reform this session. The USA Freedom Act was a last-ditch effort to push surveillance reform through before Republicans, who are widely expected to side with intelligence agencies instead of with American citizens and private businesses, take control of Congress with the…
  5. uber

    Toronto moves to suspend Uber operations

    Toronto has asked the courts to stop Uber from operating within the city because of “concerns about Uber’s operations including a lack of driver training and vehicle inspections, inadequate insurance and increased traffic from the additional cars on the road,” Bloomberg reports. Uber has been operating in Toronto without a license since 2012. [Source: Bloomberg]
  7. Overheard

    “I wasted — you’re the first to know this — 10,000 fucking pounds [about $15,600] in the last two years on apps on my iPad. I got into Game of Thrones, Game of War, Real Racing, and I just wanted to up the ante. And like an idiot I didn’t check myself. I’ve been checked now. But there’s a kid in me, see? A bit of my childhood was taken from me and I’m determined to bring it back.”

    — Sex Pistols singer John Lydon proving punk rock is dead

  8. elsewhere

    Jolla crowdfunds its first tablet

    Jolla, the Finland-based tech company created by ex-Nokia staffers, has raised $473,000 (and counting) from Indiegogo users to create its first tablet. The device will feature Jolla’s Sailfish OS, a mobile platform that competes with Android, Windows Phone, and iOS. [Source: Jolla]
  9. uber

    Uber investigating its top NYC exec for using company data to track a reporter

    The run of bad behavior by top Uber executives continues with reports tonight via BuzzFeed News that the company is investigating its New York GM Josh Mohrer for violating the company’s data policies in tracking a BuzzFeed News reporter. This is not the first time Uber has been accused of misusing so-called “God Mode,” including one incident involving Venture capitalist Peter Sims. [Source: BuzzFeed]
  11. food-snowball

    Chefler is shut down, but its cofounder keeps the faith with a new food startup, Stackd

    As a New Yorker I’m probably biased, but I never really “got” food startups. To me, they seemed like little more than venture-funded restaurants with the gall to try and master technology alongside cuisine. But when Seamless/Grubhub already offer powerful delivery engines that allow restaurants to focus on cooking food not writing code, why cross the streams? Of course, $200 million in investor money in just three months says I’m wrong. In the first quarter of 2014, funding for “meal, grocery, and…
  12. Crazy Uber

    Amid escalating scandal, Uber publishes new data privacy statement

    The scandal over Uber’s threats to target the personal lives of journalists continues to grow. Following Buzzfeed’s initial report that a senior Uber exec had described a $1m campaign to smear and discredit Pando’s Sarah Lacy, more journalists have spoken out about threats by the company. San Francisco Magazine Senior Editor Ellen Cushing revealed earlier today that sources had warned her that Uber execs might try to use her rider account data to attack her. That thread is…
  13. uber

    Listen to Sarah Lacy on KQED’s forum

    “An executive of ride-sharing company Uber has suggested that the company consider hiring investigators to dig up dirt on journalists who are critical of the company. According to BuzzFeed News, Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael singled out journalist Sarah Lacy, who runs the website PandoDaily. Michael has since said the remarks don’t reflect the views of Uber and that he regrets them. Sarah Lacy joins us to share her response.” – KQED
  15. ubernyctweet

    UberNYC head makes light of exec’s proposed smear campaign, labels critics as “haters”

    Last night, Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith revealed a plan proposed by Uber executive Emil Michael to dig up dirt on journalists — specifically, our editor-in-chief Sarah Lacy — who have been critical of the company. The statements, in which Michael suggested that Uber could “prove a particular and very specific claim about [Lacy's] personal life,” were as appalling as they were stupid. And appropriately, Michael apologized for the remarks, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick condemned them in a…
  16. uber

    Uber Employees Warned a San Francisco Magazine Writer That Executives Might Snoop on Her

    “While I was reporting my recent cover story on Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick, several current and former Uber employees warned me that company higher-ups might access my rider logs.” – SF Mag
  17. uber

    Uber CEO calls journalism comments “terrible,” but isn’t firing the guy responsible

    “List night, Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith caused a stir when he reported on comments by Uber executive Emil Michael suggesting the company might hire opposition researchers to dig into the personal lives of journalists who criticize the company. Now Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has taken to Twitter to distance himself and his company from the comments. Yet significantly, his comments don’t include any indication that Michael will be fired — or face any sort of disciplinary action.” – Vox
  19. IMG_0302

    I am not 100% satisfied with the box of shit I received in the mail

    On-demand fecal delivery (or “shit-tech”) is one of the hottest sectors around. And leading the way is Shit Express, whose super-simple elevator pitch is that for $16.95, or 0.05 bitcoin, it will anonymously send a piece of shit to someone on your behalf. Because we always aim to stay on the bleeding edge of emergent technology, Pando had to try out the service for itself. So one week ago, my colleague Michael Carney purchased a box of shit and had it…
  20. facewhatsappbook

    WhatsApp turns to Open Whisper Systems for end-to-end encryption that actually works

    Securing digital communications isn’t easy. But that’s not stopping WhatsApp from trying to make it harder to snoop on messages sent via its platform. The company has released an update to its Android application that enables end-to-end encryption by default, and it plans to encrypt messages sent via iOS in the future, making it the world’s largest secure communication service. WhatsApp doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to securing its users’ messages. As Pando detailed when the…
  21. nsa-transparency

    Who needs the USA Freedom Act when government transparency is just a lawsuit away?

    Twitter received fewer than 249 national security requests in the latter half of 2013, according to the Justice Department. The figure as part of the DOJ’s response to Twitter’s lawsuit that asks for the ability to share more specific data about government requests with its 240 million users. The lawsuit is part of the technology industry’s wider efforts to be allowed to share more data with consumers after they were implicated in National Security Agency surveillance programs detailed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden in…

The Week in Review