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Douche ex machina: “Silicon Valley” –and Pied Piper — find their savior in the show’s very own Sean Parker | PandoDaily

Reposted from http://ift.tt/1dlYOlB on April 27, 2015 at 05:15PM

Both Silicon Valley and its protagonists’ startup Pied Piper may have found their savior — and it arrived in a McLaren the color of a Flintstone Push-Up Pop, blaring Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie.” At the end of last week’s episode, Richard and the rest of the Pied Piper team faced one of two seemingly inevitable fates: Either the company could fight the baseless lawsuit brought against it by the Google-esque company Hooli and […]






Watch on tumbyland.tumblr.com

Henry Blodget and Louis CK may be the same person.

I think it’s perfectly valid for journalists to investigate the financial dealings of corporations and billionaires who fund media outlets, whether it be those who fund or own Pando, First Look, MSNBC, Fox News, The Washington Post or any other. And it’s certainly reasonable to have concerns and objections about the funding of organizations that are devoted to regime change in other countries: I certainly have those myself. But the Omidyar Network doesn’t exactly seem ashamed of these donations, and they definitely don’t seem to be hiding them, given that they trumpeted them in their own press releases and web pages.
—  Glenn Greenwald • Responding to allegations made by PandoDaily that Pierre Omidyar, the publisher and main backer of Greenwald’s First Look Media, helped bankroll the Ukrainian revolution we recently saw. As Greenwald notes, uh, Omidyar didn’t exactly hide it and it’s not as bad as Pando is claiming, but more importantly, it shouldn’t really matter anyway, because he still has journalistic independence. Oh yeah, he reminds us, did you know that owners of most of the major media outlets you read have owners or investors with questionable ties?
Sarah Lacey Wants The Cloud To Work

Somehow I missed this post from Sarah Lacey in December, when Yammer crashed for a day, and Pandodaily’s entire work flow crashed along with it.

Sarah Lacey, Dear Yammer and the entire cloud wave: If you expect companies to use your software, it has to work

Let this be a warning for companies trying to run their business on freemium cloud apps. And as a business owner, here’s my response to cloud companies: If you expect me to run my company on this, it has to work. I don’t give a shit how pretty the UI is. I don’t give a shit about your mobile app. I don’t give a shit how cutesy your name is or if your company has a mascot of some cute animal. I don’t give a shit if I’m paying you or not paying you. It has to work. And should something go wrong, you owe me some sort of communication letting me know when it’ll be back up.

In the early years of Salesforce.com, the users would go apeshit if the service was down at all. This was even before the era of social media when venting was a lot harder, but the outcry was still huge. CEO Marc Benioff used to sigh and point out that the software was up more than 95 percent of the time — something that users should be impressed with.

But the message was loud and clear: If you want us to stop using on premise software and use this instead, it has to work. Back in those days, people used the analogy of electricity with on-demand or SaaS or Cloud software. You just turn on the light switch, and there it is! Like magic! If that’s the pitch, you have to deliver with the reliability of electricity or plumbing or whatever your utility analogy is.

And because Benioff understood selling to customers and marketing, he got this. And Salesforce got rapidly better.

The problem with so many of the new generation of software moguls and the obsessive move to the “consumerization of enterprise” is that they don’t know how to build enterprise-grade software that doesn’t crash. As consumers who just want to Tweet witticisms, we can forgive a Fail Whale. When a Fail Whale can bring your business to its knees, it’s simply not acceptable. It’s when launch first and iterate later will cost you your entire customer base.

Especially enjoyed the description of her team trying out a bunch of alternatives to Yammer, desperately trying to get up and running again.

And this one-liner:

Using Chatter is like watching your dad trying to moonwalk. “Hey, look, kids! We can be cool and social too!”

After Scientology, Alex Gibney takes on Steve Jobs and… HOLY SHIT THERE’S RYAN PHILLIPPE | PandoDaily

Reposted from http://ift.tt/1JmPD1o on April 24, 2015 at 07:00PM

I’m sitting on the corner of fake Obama’s desk trying to focus on a conversation and not be freaked out by fake Mark Zuckerberg, sitting just out of my peripheral vision, cross-legged with his fake famous bare feet with his fake laptop on his fake lap mugging like a real creep. Somehow less freaky is the fake Dalai Lama and the fake Martin Luther King standing on the other side of the room. […]






Why would AHAlife, a luxury commerce site, buy Kaptur, a photo sharing app?

AHALife, a luxury e-commerce site with 45 employees and $19.7 million in venture funding, has acquired Kaptur, a photo-sharing startup. The deal is a bit unusual, or, as those involved have called it, “creative.”

Kaptur launched its group photo sharing app — a precursor to Albumatic — last March amid Instagram-fever. The app quickly amassed a large Facebook following, showing 250 million photos to 60 million users thanks to a viral sharing feature. The company raised $2 million from angel investors Archie Cox, Deb Meijer, John Quigley, Prakash Mishra, and Green Hat. But it did not have a solid monetization strategy. (It had experimented with options like syndicated content, advertising, and selling photo albums, President Tejpaul Bhatia says.)

Meanwhile AHAlife, which curates luxury goods from 2000 independent designers and positions them alongside editorial content, hasn’t released its membership numbers or sale numbers, only stating that the combined entities will have 1.5 million users.

So basically, AHAlife has revenue but not many users. Kaptur has users but no revenue (or very little). The companies are about to find out if combining the two entities can solve each others’ weaknesses.

AHAlife: http://www.ahalife.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AHAlife

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ahalife

Tumblr: http://ahalife.tumblr.com/

via PandoDaily

In defense of Chipotle, or: Why I paid $26 to have Postmates deliver me Chipotle | PandoDaily

Reposted from http://ift.tt/1GdKBhn on April 24, 2015 at 02:09AM

Whenever you’re feeling alone and seeking the most efficient delivery system for two pounds of Mexican food, there is no substitute for the burrito. A true feat of culinary engineering, the burrito is the dietary equivalent of a hobo’s bindle, packing into a tight clump every item essential to living — as long as your idea of “the good life” requires only the simple joy of fleeting sensual pleasures. And indeed after ingesting one (or two?) of these carb-heaps the […]






Uber Exec Outlines Plan to Terrorize a Female Journalist

Buzzfeed released a cringe-worthy story yesterday describing the great lengths that an Uber executive would go to silence his media critics.

In remarks made to a group of NYC elites (including to a BuzzFeed editor in the room), the company’s SVP of Business, Emil Michael, floated the idea of spending a million dollars to hire four journalists and four opposition researchers that would dig into the lives and family of people in the media, to “give the media a taste of its own medicine.”

(Photo of Emil Michael)

Michael believes that the media has portrayed him as “ideologue and as insensitive to driver and rider complaints.”  He was also upset at multiple remarks from female tech journalist, Sarah Lacy.  (More on that in a moment).  And of course, he doesn’t like any of these assertions.

So, great!  We have another egocentric, maniacal tech executive who’s arrogance proceeds him.  What’s makes this situation different?  Well, a few (disturbing) things actually:

  • Michael singled out female tech journalist, Sarah Lacy, for her criticism of a blog post that Uber Lyon ran.  The post touted a new promotion in which a female “babe” would be your driver.  Lacy found the idea misogynistic and called for a boycott of Uber.
  • Michael was upset that Lacy claimed that female customers were less likely to be assaulted by a taxi driver than an Uber driver.  He suggested that Lacy be held personally responsible every time a female passenger was assaulted after deleting the Uber app.
  • Michael described how he would specifically target Lacy in retaliation by proving specific claims regarding her personal life.
  • Michael revisited this same stalking idea later in his remarks, saying it would make sense for Uber to do something like this and that they would be justified in doing so.

Heavy right?  There’s so many things that were wrong with what Michael said.  Let me break it down, explain the dynamic at play, and tell you why this should be the beginning of the end for Uber.

On a personal level, umm…hello?  Doesn’t this sound like the plot to a Hollywood psycho-stalker thriller?  That’s how absurd this sounds.  To threaten the career and safety of a journalist because she criticized your (clearly) sexist promotion or questioned the safety of your service is definitely not how an upstanding corporate citizen behaves.  It’s the sign of a vengeful, immature individual who has no moral ethics. 

I’d take this one step further and call this tantamount to “vengeance stalking.”  If the threat were valid and followed through on, Michael would be looking to terrorize Lacy to force her to shut up or hide.  

And even though Michael had called and e-mailed Lacy to apologize, this is still scary stuff.  Frankly, if I were Lacy, I’d hire some security right now.

(Photo of Sarah Lacy)

On a professional level and coming from a PR/media standpoint, you don’t shoot the messenger.  You control the message.  There’s nothing that would garner negative public perception faster than attacking a woman for calling out their sexist behavior.  It reeks of tone deaf leadership, conjuring up images of a David vs. Goliath battle.

And it leads me to my final point.  No matter how much work a company puts into discrediting a journalist, the truth will eventually come out.  Michael doesn’t need to answer to Sarah Lacy, he needs to answer to the behavior that landed him in this predicament.  He needs to address the “frat house” culture that his company embodies.  It’s not just disrespectful to Lacy, it’s disrespectful to the customers that they’re supposed to hold in high regard.

As you’ve seen me mention many times, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I like to imagine that, if left to their own device, they would be on their best behavior.  Regardless of if this is in a business transaction or in everyday life.  I’m sad to say, I was wrong to even begin to think this way when I first heard about this story.

With his comments, Michael clearly violated professional ethics and ignored basic business fundamentals.  He willfully mixed his business interests with his personal vendetta, in a way that should be very alarming to the any American.  Yet, in all of the stories that I have read about the bad behavior of Silicon Valley power players, I’m not surprised that this happened.

There’s certain truths that remain.  Business is cyclical.  Companies come and go.  VC’s love assholes.  A man like Michael can’t take his money to the afterlife.  When the dust settles, what will he be remembered by?  That’s thought is what I hope will haunt him.

As for us consumers, when will we wake up to the fact that we cannot support individuals, companies, and organizations that embody man’s worst behaviors?  These sharing economy ‘app'holes aren’t out to better society, improve lives, or move the American economy forward.  They’re in the business of taking advantage of individuals (or an industry) and skirting laws in a way that maximizes their own profit potential.  Everything (or everyone) else, be damned.  

Is this the type of business and behavior you want to support?  If not, I hope you join me in heeding Sarah Lacy’s call to boycott Uber.

(Additional reading: NYT’s take on the situation.  It’s link rich for context and backstory.) 

YouTube turns ten today. But will it survive the next ten years without losing its soul? | PandoDaily

Reposted from http://ift.tt/1OMpg3h on April 23, 2015 at 08:45PM

Ten years ago today, a grainy, 18-second video of a young man at the zoo was uploaded to the Internet. The cinematography was suspect at best, placing the man in the center of the frame, obscuring the two elephants behind him — which would seem to defeat the purpose of the clip. After all, there’s nothing remarkable about the man in the windbreaker; elephants are much more interesting. Nor does he have anything profound to say […]