News & Analysis

  • With a new experimental space in Boston, Autodesk wants to bring manufacturing back to cities

    Global computer design company Autodesk has unveiled today the location for the East Coast version of its Pier 9 facility, an experimental maker space geared towards the creative class. The new space, located in the Marine Industrial Park in the Drydock area of South Boston, will have a much different focus than its Bay Area predecessor, focusing specifically on construction design as well as innovation in fabrication processes and manufacturing materials. The company is hoping that the new downtown Boston…
  • Federal agents charged with stealing from Silk Road during undercover investigation

    Silk Road was shut down because it facilitated the illegal sale of drugs, firearms, malware, and other black market wares found on the deep Web. Its shuttering was supposed to be a feather in the cap of a government struggling to keep pace with criminals’ increasing reliance on computers over street corners. But two federal agents thought it could serve another purpose: making them rich. The New York Times reports that the two agents — one from the Drug Enforcement…
  • Flipboard launches private magazines

    Flipboard users will now be able to collect articles and share them via private magazines visible only to members of certain groups. The feature is aimed at students working in the same class, companies sharing press coverage, and other groups that might want an easy way to share Web pages with each other without having to use public tools like Facebook or Twitter. [Source: Flipboard]
  • T-Mobile reveals user-generated coverage map

    T-Mobile has tasked its customers with creating a real-world coverage map that makes it easier to tell where its service works and where it doesn’t. Instead of guessing at where its customers will get service — which is what other carriers do, the company claims — it’s asking people to verify its predictions so it can be more honest with consumers. [Source: T-Mobile]
  • Already under scrutiny for worker relations, Amazon courts controversy with Home Services

    Amazon has joined Uber and Lyft in blurring the line between independent contractors and legitimate employees with Home Services, a platform for customers looking for handymen, cleaners, and other on-demand workers. The company is presenting itself as a middleman through which customers can find these workers. Everyone hired through the platform works for a contractor, runs their own business, or finds gigs through another service, like TaskRabbit. But Amazon isn’t only connecting workers and consumers. The company vets workers with…
  • Amazon bypasses FAA drone restrictions

    Amazon isn’t happy that the Federal Aviation Administration wants to restrict how, when, and where it tests the drones it hopes will deliver packages some time in the future. So it’s opened a secret test facility in British Columbia where it can operate without pesky regulators worrying about drones falling out of the sky and hurting bystanders. [Source: The Guardian]
  • GitHub deflects DDoS attack

    GitHub has been the target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack over the last few days, perhaps because the Chinese government wants to prevent anti-censorship tools hosted on the service from spreading. The company now says that it’s able to operate despite the attacks, albeit with intermittent outages. [Source: Reuters]
  • Reports: Two wounded after possible attack on NSA headquarters

    A FOX affiliate in Washington, DC reports that a man in an SUV attempted to ram a gate at the National Security Agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Details are still coming in, but a source told Tim Pratt, a reporter for the Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland that one is dead and another is wounded following the incident, which may or may not have been a targeted attack. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun reports that…
  • The NSA considered ending controversial call records program before Snowden leaks

    Supporters of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs have argued that the ability to collect information about potential threats is needed to protect the United States from attacks. But even the NSA has questioned those claims. According to the Associated Press, the NSA considered abandoning a program that allowed it to collect and store Americans’ call records before it was revealed to the public by contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden in June 2013. Anonymous “current and former intelligence officials” told…
  • Spotify heads to PlayStation

    Sony has given up on Music Unlimited, the streaming service it included with many of its products, and will now allow PlayStation owners to listen to music via Spotify. The two companies have formed an exclusive partnership that will prevent the music-streaming app from supporting the PlayStation’s competitors, the Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U, any time soon. [Source: The Verge]
  • Tim Cook criticizes Indiana discrimination law

    “The days of segregation and discrimination marked by ‘Whites Only’ signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past. We must never return to any semblance of that time. America must be a land of opportunity for everyone.”
  • Tor reportedly hires Verizon’s PR firm to fight back against Pando’s reporting

    Over the past six months, I’ve published a series of stories on the longstanding and deeply conflicted financial relationship between the Tor Project and various arms of the US National Security State. Those arms include the Pentagon, the State Department and a CIA spinoff called the BBG that’s dedicated to waging propaganda warfare against countries hostile to US interests. The articles traced the history of Tor “onion routing” technology and the US military-intelligence apparatus that built it, and explored the role that Tor plays as a 
  • The Harvard developer who Jeff Hammerbacher says was better than Mark Zuckerberg

    One little nugget that almost got lost in our longer interview with Facebook’s former “data god” and Cloudera co-founder Jeff Hammerbacher was about his early days coding at Harvard with Mark Zuckerberg. Back in those days he says he knew Zuckerberg’s code better than he actually knew him as a person. Spoiler: Hammerbacher wasn’t too impressed with it, but in fairness Zuckerberg was distracted building Facebook at the time. They were in a five-person survey and, says Hammerbacher, it wasn’t Zuckerberg…
  • Spotify the subject of acquisition rumors, price to be “north of $14B”

    Digital Music News sites multiple sources who claim Spotify is preparing to be acquired by a mystery buyer in a deal rumored to be priced “north of $14 billion.” The report claims that the Wall Street Journal is prepping an exclusive cover story on the news for this Wednesday, which it will symbolically restrict to subscribers. At that price, if accurate, the list of potential acquirers is short, including possibly: Apple Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, and Tencent, as well as…
  • The War Nerd: A Brief History Of The Yemen Clusterf*ck

    DILI, EAST TIMOR — I ought to be familiar with the Houthi, the Shia militia that’s now conquering most of what’s worth taking in Yemen. After all, the Houthis started in Saada Province, just a few miles due south of Najran, Saudi Arabia, where I was living a few years ago. But the truth is Yemen was totally closed off to everyone in Najran, and no one except a few networks of smugglers and spies who, from what I heard,…
  • Former Homeland Security head tells Pando why he doesn’t trust his fitness data to the cloud

    Michael Chertoff is one of the millions of Americans who use fitness trackers to accompany them when they exercise. In his case, when he runs. Where the former Homeland Security secretary under George W. Bush differs from most people in that scenario, though, is in the fact that he leaves all his data on the device itself and doesn’t let any of it get saved to the cloud. Sure, he concedes in an interview with Pando, there might be some…
  • Instagram grudgingly agrees that photos of menstrual blood shouldn’t be banned

    From its removal of a page promoting a nude charity calendar to its ban on art critic Jerry Saltz for posting artistic representations of genitalia, Facebook’s policies on sexually suggestive material are among the most Puritanical of all major tech companies. That’s no small feat considering Google’s recent removal of adult blogs and Snapchat’s policy against porn stars making a living wage. But Facebook’s subsidiary, Instagram, went over the line when it removed a photo (shown above) taken by poet Rupi Kaur of a…
  • Kleiner partners respond to judgement in Pao trial with two line, gloaty statement

    This press statement just landed in my inbox from Kleiner, moments after the jury delivered their final verdict exonerating the firm from any discrimination against Ellen Pao. The email says the statement should be “attributed to the partners of KPCB.” “Today’s verdict reaffirms that Ellen Pao’s claims have no legal merit. We are grateful to the jury for its careful examination of the facts. There is no question gender diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women…
  • LIVE: Pao/Kleiner jurors explain how they reached their verdict

    Right now, Judge Kahn is asking jurors in the Kleiner vs Pao case to explain why they reached their verdict. Dan Raile is in court for Pando and is documenting those explanations. Here they are, updated as they come in live from the courtroom. Dan’s full report of the day’s events will be filed later. Kahn: “Clearly the burning question is why you did you reach the verdict you did. If you are comfortable I invite you to answer with moderation…
  • Let’s try that again: Despite flip-flopping jury, Pao loses Kleiner suit on all counts (definitely this time)

    Earlier this afternoon, in a final twist, the judge in the Pao vs Kleiner trial ordered the jury to go back and try again to reach a majority verdict after confusion over juror votes. A jury aiming to understand what really drives one of the world’s most powerful venture first apparently foiled by basic math. But no matter! A few moments ago, that same jury returned, this time promising that they definitely — absolutely — no doubt about it — have reached…
  • DripDrop is a rare startup that actually saves lives

    Plenty of startups claim to be changing the world. But how many can truly deliver on that promise by saving lives? DripDrop, which offers a truly disruptive, medical-grade oral rehydration system can claim just that. After less than two years in the market, the product is now used by professional and elite amateur athletes, military and first responders, and in disaster relief and mainstream hospital settings. But despite these high-intensity use cases, DripDrop is a simple powdered beverage mix…
  • After a crazy day, Meerkat founder says “I want to be in India, I want to be on Jimmy Fallon… I want to be everywhere”

    Yesterday was quite a day for Meerkat founder Ben Rubin. First, his company announced that it had raised money from Greylock Ventures and a bunch of other venture funds, many with connections to the entertainment industry: Lorne Michaels-connected Broadway Video Ventures, Universal Music Group,  and Comcast Ventures. Then, later yesterday morning, Twitter, which served as a conduit through which Meerkat quickly gained widespread popularity, unveiled Periscope, its own live-feed application, described by some as a Meerkat killer. When you…
  • Cloudera’s Jeff Hammerbacher on the ugly underbelly of Silicon Valley’s startup culture

    Jeff Hammerbacher actually had to fly to San Francisco for his PandoMonthly last month. The former Facebook mafia “data god” and Cloudera co-founder made his name and fortune in the Valley, but he’s since moved to New York. Part of that was for an opportunity at Mount Sinai Hospital. But part of it was also that he was just done with the Valley’s hypergrowth startup game– as much as he’d profited off of it. In this clip of our fireside chat,…
  • Oh boy. Jury sent back out in Pao trial, court in recess

        “At this point I am going to ask you to resume your deliberations. I am unable to record the verdict, i will speak to the lawyers outside of your presence and very possibly ask you to come back in, but in the meantime you must talk amonst yourself about Ms. Pao’s fourth claim.” A final — or maybe not final — twist in the Ellen Pao vs Kleiner trial. The judge in the case has just sent the…
  • Here’s the verdict form from Pao v. Kleiner Perkins

    Recode has published the verdict form jurors were tasked with filling out as they sought to determine the end to Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins. It’s available at the source. [Source: Recode]
  • BREAKING: Jury finds in favor of Kleiner in Pao vs Kleiner trial

    BREAKING… (Previously.) After two days of deliberation, the jury in the Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers trial has emerged to deliver its verdict. Even though many reporters, including myself, expected Kleiner to win, the verdict, when it came, still caused audible shock in the courtroom. Over the course of the four-week trial, the jury was persuaded by attorney/s for Kleiner that Pao was not discriminated against by her former employer, and that her termination and lack of promotion were…
  • Why digital media conferences are a waste of time for everybody involved

    In 2011, I attended my first-ever “new media conference” — and with any luck, it will also be my last. As a student who knew even less about the industry than I do today, I dutifully sat through panel after panel of thought leaders and thinkfluencers, idea merchants and innovationists, who all fancied themselves prophets of the digital revolution. At the time, I was impressed by this army of business-casual Shingys, who newsjacked my mindshare with such immersive jargonizing. But four years later, were these future-of-media prognosticators right about anything?…
  • Slack reveals February data breach

    Slack has announced that its customers’ usernames, passwords, and email addresses were compromised by hackers who broke into the company’s internal servers. In response, Slack has added two-factor authentication along with a feature that allows team leaders to force employees to reset their passwords and log back into the service. The company said it detected suspicious activity on “a very small number of Slack accounts” and it “notified the individual users and team owners who we believe were impacted and are…
  • Ten red flags on the GoDaddy IPO

    Barring any eleventh-hour surprises, GoDaddy will launch an IPO sometime next week. Ten months after it filed its first prospectus, the domain-registration and web-hosting company hopes to price its shares between $17 and $19 each. The midrange figure of $18 a share would raise $396 million and value the company at $2.7 billion. Even if GoDaddy isn’t expected to be the hottest tech IPO this year, it’s still notable because of the high number of red flags that…
  • Meet the apps hoping to be the Fitbit for your financial fitness

    Everyone wants something different from the quantified self movement. Some delight in learning more about themselves; others want to use all that data to improve their lives. Members of the latter group are often disappointed. But that doesn’t mean the quantified self movement can’t lead to self improvement. Just ask the people behind Level, a finance app, and Digit, a text message-based service that aims to help consumers build their savings. Level makes it easier for people to…
  • EU to consolidate rules, open antitrust probe into e-commerce sector

    The European Union plans to “dump the patchwork of 28 different rules that currently govern the continent’s technology sector” and replace them with a single, unified market, according to the Courthouse News Service. It will also open an antitrust probe into Europe’s e-commerce sector. [Source: Courthouse News Service]
  • Why aren’t law firms required to disclose when they’ve been hacked?

    Citigroup has warned against trusting sensitive information to law firms, which aren’t required to reveal data breaches and often cover them up. The New York Times viewed a copy of the report published by Citigroup’s cyber-intelligence center, which works to identify threats before they can affect financial institutions and their customers. Key among its findings was: Due to the reluctance of most law firms to publicly discuss cyberintrusions and the lack of data breach reporting requirements in general…
  • YouTube tests high-resolution, high-framerate videos

    YouTube is currently allowing some of its users to upload videos in 4K, the ultra high-resolution successor to plain-jane “1080p,” that plays at 60 frames per second. The result? Incredibly detailed, smooth-looking videos that most people won’t be able to watch because of their Internet connections or the relative weakness of their computers and Web browsers. [Source: The Verge]
  • China reportedly attacks GitHub

    China is said to have launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against GitHub, the site that allows developers to share code with each other, back up their projects, and do all kinds of other things with their work. The attack is said to have specifically targeted GitHub pages for GreatFire, the anti-censorship group in China, and a page it set up for the New York Times, which along with other outlets is banned from the country. [Source:
  • DoorDash raises $40M

    DoorDash has raised a $40 million funding round led by Kleiner Perkins, whose John Doerr will also be taking a seat on its board. The company offers a food-delivery service in Chicago, Boston, and Washington, DC, in addition to several markets in California. [Source: DoorDash]
  • As Facebook successfully tests its first drone, privacy questions loom

    Facebook has successfully tested one of its solar-powered, Internet-delivering drones in the United Kingdom, according to a blog post from Mark Zuckerberg. The drones are said to have the same wingspan as a commercial airplane, but are only expected to weigh about as much as a small car. This lightweight build should allow the aircraft to remain in the skies for extended periods of time. Facebook plans to use the drones to deliver Internet connectivity to millions of…
  • Life360 takes family peace of mind overseas with Yahoo! Japan partnership

    The desire to remain close to and protect one’s family is as universal as anything, transcending language and culture. Which is why it’s little surprise that adoption of Life360, the family social network, has grown organically around the world despite limited localization efforts by the company to date. Today, the company is taking a more proactive approach to international expansion via a partnership with Yahoo! Japan and a dedicated product for that market. Usage of Life360 spiked in Japan…
  • Leshi TV compares Apple to Nazis

    Chinese video service Leshi TV has compared Apple to the Nazis by publishing a cartoon of Hitler wearing a red armband with the Apple logo in place of the swastika on its official Weibo account. And here we thought Microsoft’s old “Scroogled” attack ads against Google were unsporting. [Source: The Verge]
  • Magic said to be raising $12M

    Magic, the service that allows consumers to text various requests (restaurant reservations, flight tickets, grocery orders) to a single number that coordinates with other companies, is reportedly raising $12 million at a $40 million valuation. Sequoia is said to be leading the round. [Source: TechCrunch]
  • Tim Cook to donate wealth to charity

    Fortune reports that Apple chief executive Tim Cook plans to donate all his wealth, minus the cost of his 10-year-old nephew’s education, to charities. Cook is said to have already made some donations, but he wants to create a more “systematic approach to philanthropy” instead of “simply writing checks,” the report says. Cook’s net work is currently $120 million. [Source: Fortune]
  • Here’s why Accel just committed $305 million to startups in India

    If you Google “startups” and virtually any city or nation in the world, you’ll inevitably find true believers insisting that such-and-such region is the new Silicon Valley. Some writers still even refer to their pet region as “Silicon <insert naturally-occurring geographic phenomenon here>” — though thankfully this practice has fallen out of favor. (No matter how excited you are about software enterprises in Panama, there is no such thing as a “Silicon Isthmus.”) But when it comes to India, Asia’s third largest economy, the…
  • Unfazed by #myNYPD disaster, the NYPD turns to social media to hear public complaints

    No matter how many times the New York Police Department is burned when it tries to reach the public on social media, it still seems to believe the disconnect between officers and the public can be bridged with a hashtag or status update. The New York Times reports that the NYPD wants to provide the public with a platform through which they can air their concerns — so long as those concerns are centered on abandoned bikes, traffic congestion, and other minor issues.…
  • Amazon demands employees sign 18-month non-compete agreement to get a three-month-long job

    Amazon’s warehouse workers have it rough. The positions are often seasonal, pay little more than minimum wage, and require workers to be searched before leaving the warehouse, a sometimes-lengthy process for which they aren’t paid. And that’s forgetting the exhausting labor and long shifts these jobs require. Yet the problems don’t end there. The Verge reports that these workers must sign non-compete agreements, even if they’re only employed for the season, and permanent workers must agree to honor…
  • The one wild possibility missing from most of the equally baseless Germanwings speculation

    French prosecutors have said they believe the Germanwings co-pilot deliberately crashed his Airbus 320 into the mountain after locking the plane’s captain out of the cockpit. If that horrifying theory turns out to be correct, the question millions of air passengers will want answered, and fast, is: Why? Right now, most people seem keen to blame either terrorism, or mental illness. So far we don’t know much about the co-pilot, 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, except that he comes from suburban Germany, loved flying, and that his…
  • Slack to raise up to $160M at $2.76B valuation

    The Wall Street Journal has more details about Slack’s new funding round: the company is set to raise up to $160 million at a $2.76 billion valuation from numerous investors. Horizons Ventures is said to be the largest contributor to the round with a $50 million investment. Here’s a clip from our PandoMonthly interview with Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, who said that valuations are “arbitrary as fuck.” [Source: WSJ]
  • HBO and Vice announce new deal

    HBO has announced a new partnership with Vice which will result in the magazine-turned-media-giant producing a daily news show, more special features, and the creation of a dedicated Vice channel on the upcoming HBO Now streaming service. [Source: HBO]
  • Kleiner lead attorney: “I’ve lost all my feminist street cred in this case”

    “When Ms. Pao called John Doerr and all of them out about the culture….and demanded changes they were unwilling to make, that is when she got fired. Just remember that you are the conscience of this community and let Kleiner Perkins and venture capital know that every employee that works hard and gives what is expected deserves a fair and equitable workplace.” At 11:21am on Wednesday, closing arguments in the Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins trial concluded, with Pao’s attorney…
  • Hong Kong authorities give a giant “meh” to regulating bitcoin

    What the appropriate governmental response when citizens of your country have been scammed out of millions of dollars in wealth in a crypto-currency get rich quick scheme. Well, if you’re Hong Kong, apparently the answer is not much of anything. As Pando an others have reported, supposed bitcoin exchange MyCoin emerged as a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme earlier this year. The Commercial Crime Bureau, which puts losses at (a surprisingly modest given early reports) $180 million HKD (US$23.2 million),…
  • Police raid Uber’s Amsterdam office

    Dutch authorities have raided Uber’s office in Amsterdam to learn more about Uberpop, “a cheap service that was banned by a Dutch court in December because the drivers lack professional licenses required under Dutch law,” according to the Wall Street Journal. [Source: WSJ]
  • Red Canary mixes technology and human intuition to help companies fight cyber threats

    Many cybersecurity companies are racing to create the most innovative technology to track, watch, and hopefully prevent cyber attacks. A recently launched company, however, is taking more of an old school approach to protecting data and ensuring the safety of computer networks. Virginia-based security company Kyrus, which was founded by a group of former employees from intelligence and defense contractor ManTech, and which developed a highly-regarded end point security company Carbon Black, is betting heavily on a newly-unveiled cyber startup called Red Canary…
  • Twitter releases Periscope to put Meerkat back in its hole

    Twitter has released Periscope, the live-streaming iPhone app it acquired before Meerkat captured the attention of a million tech bloggers. There’s a lot to like about Periscope. It has a more attractive design than Meerkat, it allows users to communicate with each other via comments and “hearts,” and videos remain available for later viewing instead of vanishing when the stream ends. Periscope also has access to Twitter’s social graph, which makes it easy to find the people you already follow on…
  • BetterCloud raises $25M

    BetterCloud has raised a $25 million funding round led by Accel Partners to continue developing “insights, management, and security for cloud office platforms” such as Google Drive and Office365. [Source: BetterCloud]
  • Here’s what Facebook announced at F8

    Facebook announced a slew of updates and releases at its F8 developer conference. Those include an application platform for Messenger, which will also facilitate conversations with businesses; Facebook Analytics for Apps, which does what it says on the tin; new share sheets, plugins, and the like; a mobile ad exchange; and updates to both the Graph API and Facebook SDK. Oh, it also made it easier for companies…
  • Meerkat raises Greylock-led funding round

    Meerkat has raised a Series B funding round led by Greylock Partners. Broadway Video Ventures also participated in the round, through which Meerkat is said to have raised $12 million at a $52 million post-money valuation. [Source: TechCrunch]
  • Amazon Prime Now heads to Dallas

    Amazon Prime Now, the delivery service that allows consumers to have goods shipped to their homes within one or two hours, has made it to Dallas. The service was first available in Manhattan and Brooklyn; it later expanded to Baltimore and Miami. [Source: Amazon]
  • Honk raises a stout $12M Series A to free stranded motorists from their auto-club shackles

    Honk, which might be the greatest thing to happen to stranded motorist since run-flat tires, has raise a massive Series A round of funding. The Santa Monica-based on-demand, mobile towing and roadside service startup now has an additional $12 million in its war chest with which to disrupt the legacy towing industry. The round was led by Altpoint Ventures, with participation from existing investors Structure Capital, Karlin Ventures, Expansion VC, and Venture51. The round brings Honk’s total funding
  • Across healthcare, women are still underrepresented in leadership roles

    We all know the statistics. Women make up only 14 percent of management positions at technology firms. Meanwhile, only 10 percent of VC-backed founders are women — which perhaps makes sense considering that only 4 percent of partner-level venture capitalists are women. Of course, sexism skeptics would say, “But that’s because only 18 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women.” (Even if that was the only reason, these statistics would still be too low). What…
  • Joining us at Outside Lands? We ranked all 70 bands by whether you should see them or not

    One of the coolest things about covering technology in 2015 is that, as virtually every industry gets upended by the Internet and software, just about any story you can think of — from politics to culture to science — is also a story about technology. That includes music which, as artists seek out ways to get paid while working with — or against — software companies, is as fertile a source as any for finding fascinating stories about our new digital lives. That notion informs our…
  • The NYPD’s commissioner doesn’t understand why people are upset about his new gunshot-tracking system

    Earlier this month, the New York Police Department started using a tool called ShotSpotter in Brooklyn and the Bronx to determine where gunshots are fired. The system was turned on as part of a pilot program “to make the city safer, to make our neighborhoods safer, to keep our officers safer,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said when he announced that the ShotSpotter system was going to be tested. Critics are worried that ShotSpotter will record more than gunshots. It’s not…
  • Facebook Messenger puts the final nail in Path’s coffin

    Facebook Messenger has been updated to make it easier for people to find new software, share content from inside those apps, and have conversations with businesses. That last feature might be considered the final nail in Path’s coffin. You remember Path. It started as a social network where you stayed in touch with your closest friends, then became a mysterious life-logging service before eventually pivoting with the goal of making it easy for users to communicate (via a Path-run call center) with restaurants,…
  • Microsoft, Apple, others urge surveillance reform

    “It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the United States’ surveillance and bulk collection activities. Now is the time to take on meaningful legislative reforms to the nation’s surveillance programs that maintain national security while preserving privacy, transparency, and accountability.”
  • As Facebook releases On This Day, do millennials prefer ephemerality or nostalgia?

    Facebook has officially launched a new feature that allows its users to view old photos and status updates without scrolling through their profiles. It’s called On This Day, and it sifts through old content, collects the best moments, and sends a notification to make sure Facebook users relive their digital pasts. The feature is an obvious imitation of Timehop, another service that lets people see what they posted online in years past, but it might also…
  • At least we’re not at F8: Dispatches from the Pao vs Kleiner courtroom, Pt 8

    “The waiting is the hardest part,” Kleiner attorney Lynne Hermle tells me. It’s Tuesday morning all of us assembled in the courtroom have just watched Ellen Pao’s attorney, Alan Exelrod deliver his final performance of the trial. On Wednesday his co-counsel, Therese Lawless, will deliver final arguments for the plaintiff. I grab the last seat in the back left corner of the gallery: A lone Y chromosome in a crowd of bylines from Re/code, Forbes, Buzzfeed, USA Today, Ars Technica and…
  • Andreessen: VC-entrepreneur misalignment is a myth

    There has been a chorus of high profile investors beating the fear drum in recent weeks on Twitter, on their personal blogs, and on stage by criticizing overheated valuations and predicting a near-term market correction. It’s a necessary discussion, and the frequency with which we’re having it publicly today suggests that there may be more near-term risk than many are ready to acknowledge. Yesterday evening Andreessen Horowitz partner Marc Andreessen* switched things up slightly, launching one of his infamous tweetstorms…
  • Google might trump security concerns with reported “Pony Express” service

    Google is reportedly working on a new service that would allow consumers to receive their bills through Gmail instead of physical mail. The service, which was first revealed by Recode and bears the “Pony Express” codename, could also allow people to pay their bills without having to visit numerous websites. Pony Express would require consumers to share their “name, address and partial and full Social Security number to a third-party company that vets their identity,” according to Recode’s report. After that’s done,…
  • Fantastical 2 debuts

    Flexibits has released Fantastical 2, an updated version of its Mac calendar app that brings it out of the menu bar and into the desktop. This version boasts an updated design, the ability to set different calendar “sets” that change based on your location, and an improved natural language parser that turns “Meet with Karen at 2 on Friday” into the proper appointment. The app costs $50 in the Mac App Store. For more on Fantastical, check out my piece…
  • Canary heads to retail stores

    Canary, the home security device that was successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo in 2013, is now debuting at Best Buy, Home Depot, Amazon, and Verizon Wireless stores. The device has also shipped to “tens of thousands” of consumers across 79 countries who supported its campaign. [Source: Canary]
  • Apple acquires FoundationDB

    Apple has acquired FoundationDB, a Virginia-based focused on database technologies, perhaps because it “may be seeking ways to run software services like iMessage more efficiently.” Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed; Apple rarely reveals such information when it acquires companies. [Source: WSJ]
  • Facebook accidentally spoils F8 announcements

    Someone’s getting fired over this one. The official application for Facebook’s F8 developer conference sent a notification early this morning which seemed to reveal the Messenger app network, a version of the Parse app platform for the Internet of Things, and the “Teleportation Station.” [Source: TechCrunch]
  • As goes global Uber press sentiment, so goes India

    Another day, another David Plouffe administered bandaid meant to solve Uber PR catastrophes. The company has announced an investment by Times Internet of India. If you need to understand why Uber needs to fix its image in India, CB Insights has a handy chart: It’s about as obvious a move as Uber’s (ultimately doomed) partnership with UN Women. But will this one work? It has to. Uber is a struggling in China and that steep $40 billion valuation is predicated on…
  • You have less than two hours to send Yasha Levine back to Russia, where he belongs

    A few weeks back, Pando’s Yasha Levine launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a book based on his Surveillance Valley reporting. The book will reveal how tech giants have created an unimaginably complex and sinister surveillance network that makes the NSA look like also-rans. With help from Pando readers, the book smashed its funding goal a few days ago and now is just $1500 from beating its stretch goal. If Yasha beats that goal he’ll add a bonus chapter…
  • Facebook and Vox, Foursquare, and Twitter harassment: Listen again to this week’s PandoLIVE

    In this week’s PandoLIVE, Sarah and I were joined by Pando’s David Holmes, Michael Carney and Nathaniel Mott to discuss news organizations publishing on Facebook, the Foursquare founder’s rebuttal to our reporting and Twitter’s new feature to keep verified users safe from bullying. Listen again below:
  • How Twitter can soothe Wall St, save Vine, and quiet power users in one step

    “And don’t say that I have changed / ‘Cause man, of course I have” – Of Montreal, “Cato as a Pun” There’s a cottage industry of Twitter truthers out there — some of whom skulk with dark-eyed hatred in the deepest recesses of trolldom, while others sit bouncing atop the mastheads of national magazines — who believe CEO Dick Costolo is slowly turning their beloved social network into something it’s not; something gross and inauthentic, akin to its bigger, wealthier, and more mainstream rival, Facebook. The product changes…
  • Playing favorites: Facebook to debut Messenger platform with 30 launch partners, 6mo exclusive

    Facebook is about to announce a raft of changes to its Messenger service with the hope of turning it into the most important app on its 1-billion-plus users’ smartphones. The company’s plan: to invite developers to build their own miniature apps for the service. Facebook has tried and failed to replace its users’ home screens in the past, making this familiar, yet difficult, territory. The company is expected to reveal specifics about this program – such as how it will work, with whom it will…
  • Uber reckoning: Ride-sharing drivers attacked by frustrated taxi incumbents in Brussels

    Uber has been a lightning rod for controversy almost since its first day in existence. More often than not, the company has been the one flaunting laws and, arguably, putting its riders and drivers at risk. But, this is not always the case. Occasionally, Uber ends up playing the role of victim. In the latest instance of such a role reversal, Uber drivers across Europe have been the target of attacks by local taxi drivers. These protests took an…
  • Woman Says She Was Raped By UberX Driver in Philadelphia

    “A woman has alleged that an UberX driver raped her after picking her up in Old City on February 6th, according to a report she filed with the Philadelphia Police Department. The 33-year-old told police the UberX driver held her arms down, ripped her pants, and raped her. After the attack, he drove her around for more than two hours before letting her out of the car, according to her report.” — Philadelphia Magazine  
  • After going bankrupt selling gadgets, RadioShack will now sell customer data

    RadioShack couldn’t sell enough gadgets and gizmos to avoid bankruptcy. Now that it’s gone broke, it’s looking to peddle something more valuable: Its customers’ personal data. Bloomberg reports that the company wants to sell 13 million email addresses and 65 million names — in conjunction with their physical addresses — to the highest bidder as its intellectual property, brand, and assets are put to auction. Standard General is said to have won the auction for RadioShack’s properties, and it reportedly hopes to keep…
  • Felix Salmon: People share news stories, not newspapers

    “The era of the self-contained news package — all the news that’s fit to print, delivered neatly in a bundle on your front doorstep in the morning — is coming to an end. News has become disaggregated, and the thing that people share is not the newspaper, but the news story. Which can come from anywhere.”
  • The Pandoland 2015 Startup Competition: Applications open… now!

    For the past couple of months, we’ve been trailing the incredible speaker lineup for Pandoland 2015 in Nashville (June 15th-17th — tickets here, etc!). The real heart and soul of the event, though, is the startup competition with a $100,000 top prize. Applications for this year’s contest open today. As with last year’s event, the $100,000 awarded to the winner isn’t just a check. It’s an investment by a syndicate of high profile investors from Valley firms and…
  • Obama appoints first-ever White House chief digital officer

    President Obama has brought on Jason Goldman, who has worked at Google, Medium, and Twitter, as the White House’s first-over chief digital officer. Goldman will be “taking over the new media and digital outreach” efforts started by Dan Pfeiffer before he left the administration. [Source: Politico]
  • Sirota wins “Izzy” award for coverage of pension abuses, published on Pando

    When David Sirota was at Pando, he focussed on exposing corruption and abuse in the pensions industry. Not only did his coverage force PBS to return $3.5m to one of its donors but it also prompted one of Chris Christie’s allies to threaten a $300m lawsuit against Pando and Sirota. Now Sirota’s work, here and at IBT, has earned him the annual “Izzy” award for his coverage for “outstanding achievement in independent media and journalism.” The award is named after legendary journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone. From the…
  • Institutional grade: Nobel bitcoin exchange to woo Wall St. with Nasdaq trading technology

    The Nasdaq brand travels the world over. I remember spending time in Asia in the mid-aughts as a banker trying to convince local technology companies to pursue small-cap IPOs in America. For these founders, it was Nasdaq or nothing – the NYSE didn’t even register as an option. The glimmer of Nasdaq’s technology-powered platform took a hit within Silicon Valley following the debacle of Facebook’s IPO, but nevertheless, the exchange is known as the most progressive and forward-thinking…
  • Twitter’s VC arm “opens for business”

    Twitter Ventures is one of the firms that invested in Cyanogen (the company that makes an alternative version of Google’s Android platform) for its latest round of venture funding. This, as the Wall Street Journal notes, is Twitter Ventures’ first investment. [Source: WSJ]
  • Former Hulu CEO launches video site

    Vessel, the video site founded by former Hulu chief executive Jason Kilar, has made its public debut. The site is meant to provide access to “the Web’s best short-form creators” — YouTube stars, essentially — and find a way for them to get paid to make videos. [Source: Vessel]
  • Microsoft works to get Office on Android devices

    Microsoft has formed strategic partnerships with numerous manufacturers to have its Office productivity suite pre-installed on Android devices. Peggy Johnson, the company’s executive vice president of business development, called the move “a big step forward for our cross-platform and cross-device services strategy.” I’m sure it had nothing to do with Windows lagging in mobile markets. Nope, nothing at all. [Source: Microsoft]
  • Google hires new CFO

    Google has found a replacement for Patrick Pichette, its current chief financial officer who is leaving the company later this year: Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat. The switch is expected to take place in May. [Source: Bloomberg]
  • Twitch hack puts home addresses, phone numbers, and passwords at risk

    Twitch, the company Amazon acquired for nearly $1 billion last August, has been hacked. The service is used mostly to live-stream content from video games, whether that involves an official tournament or a chaotic game of Pokémon Red, but it recently announced plans to stream other types of content, like live music festivals. The company hasn’t yet revealed how many people were affected by the hack. All of its users will have to create…
  • Twitter makes it easier for verified users to avoid trolls

    Twitter is testing a new feature that allows verified users to prevent abusive tweets that contain “threats, offensive or abusive language, duplicate content, or are sent from suspicious accounts” from cluttering their notifications tab. ThinkUp co-founder Anil Dash first reported the feature. He says that he was prompted to check out the new filtering mechanism when he opened Twitter’s iPhone app. It’s not clear how many other verified users can access the feature; incoming verified Pando staffer Dennis Keohane said…
  • With $35M more in the bank, Localytics has now raised more than any other Techstars alum

    Even while Techstars is often overshadowed by the sheer number of monster seed rounds and quickly successful startups that come out of the 500 Startups and Y Combinator accelerators, it would be hard to argue that the Boulder-based program hasn’t produced its own share of winners, albeit with much less funding. Which may not be such a bad thing. These smaller funding rounds have allowed a few of its companies to grow at a more steady pace, and to raise investment…
  • We’re LIVE with another LIVE episode of PandoLIVE. Listen (LIVE) now

    It’s that time of week again: Time for another LIVE episode of PandoLIVE. Join Sarah, me and our special guests David Holmes and Nathaniel Mott to discuss the week’s news.. and also to announce the launch of applications for the Pandoland startup competition. Listen LIVE right here, right now.
  • Slack, whose CEO believes valuations are “arbitrary as fuck,” reportedly eyes funding at $2B valuation

    Slack, the fast-growing enterprise collaboration software which has found fans across a wide array of technical and creative industries — including here at Pando — is reportedly seeking funding at a valuation that tops $2 billion, according to BloombergBusiness. The startup, which is the third company run by Silicon Valley journeyman Stewart Butterfield, would add to the $180 million in private cash it’s already stuffed in its war chest. When we last spoke to Butterfield, Slack was still a lowly single unicorn among the…
  • Crowley’s rebuttal and more signs of life at Foursquare

    My email inbox and Twitter have been buzzing all morning with alerts from friends and colleagues about Dennis Crowley’s latest blog post on Foursquare, “Six Years In.” (For those of you who sent it through, thanks. For those who haven’t, rest assured, I’ve seen it.) You may have read my recent assessment of what I called the “sad” evolution of Foursquare since it split off the Swarm check-in product in Summer 2014. Some took that post as an early…
  • Vox had big success publishing straight to Facebook. Should you do it too?

    For so-called “media observers” — those self-appointed gurus who sit around all day creating content about other people’s content — the future of publishing is clear: Sites and apps operated by news organizations are dying. Increasingly, content is published directly to giant social networks that have more users and reach than any single news organization’s web and mobile properties will ever have. The “news website” is looking more and more like an outdated holdover from the days when stories, ads, and crossword…
  • Instagram’s Layout helps Facebook take over your phone one app at a time

    Instagram has made a new app. It lets people take several photos, mash them together, and turn them into collages that can then be shared to various sites. (Obviously it would prefer if those sites were named Instagram or Facebook.) It’s called Layout, and early impressions of the app seem to be mostly positive. Many have suggested that Instagram released Layout as a separate app because the company wants to keep its main app simple. Better to launch individual…
  • “Men in Octopus Suits”: Dispatches from the Pao vs Kleiner courtroom, Pt 7

    With days to go before closing arguments in Pao vs Kleiner are heard, a string of similar suits and allegations have popped up in Silicon Valley the way mushrooms once did at this time of year, before the rains disappeared. Taken together, this has the look of a shift in momentum: Gender equality in tech is becoming an imperative with real consequnces, rather than a domain for platitudes and tangential initiatives. It’s an issue you can’t incubate your way out of. In…
  • Google’s fiber-optic service just got a little creepier — but it’s still less invasive than AT&T’s

    Google built its empire by selling consumer data to advertisers. But at least where its fiber-optic Internet service is concerned, it’s less invasive than AT&T. Ars Technica reports that Google will now tailor the advertisements shown through its Google Fiber service based on its customers’ viewing habits. That’s a little creepy, and unless you understand nothing about Google, unsurprising. What is surprising is that the company is telling its customers how to opt-out of the program. It will still…
  • Enter the “Samaccalacanis”: Three early stage VCs dissect the overheated seed market

    Have you had your semi-annual dose of valuation hysteria lately? If not, three of the most highly visible, most active early stage investors in the game have got you covered in the form of a three-way tweetstorm battle royale yesterday.  Loopt founder and Y Combinator President Sam Altman, early Twitter and Uber backer Chris Sacca (Lowercase Capital), and Launch festival creator and Uber investor Jason Calacanis spent Sunday afternoon taking Twitter audiences down the familiar rabbit hole of “startups…
  • Schmidt: Glass ain’t dead

    “It is a big and very fundamental platform for Google. We ended the Explorer program and the press conflated this into us canceling the whole project, which isn’t true. Google is about taking risks and there’s nothing about adjusting Glass that suggests we’re ending it.”
  • Researchers defeat Snowden’s preferred operating system, hack air-gapped devices

    There’s no such thing as total security. You can download all the fancy operating systems you want, or make sure a device is never connected to the Internet, and still run the risk of someone hacking your shit. That’s the takeaway from new reports about how researchers are recreating capabilities previously limited to the National Security Agency and finding their way around tools thought to be the best in class for securing devices. Some researchers have focused on showing that Tails, the operating system used…
  • Amazon Unlocked could help put an end to the ‘app burnout’ fallacy

    Critics have argued for years that people are sick of software. The New York Times claimed in 2013 that people suffer from app burnout. More recently, Fortune used signs that people aren’t downloading many apps to argue that hoping to become a millionaire by releasing a mobile software product is a lot like believing in the Tooth Fairy. Some data supports that argument. Onavo said in 2013 that most applications will never be downloaded by more than…

The Week in Review