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@to21 I commented on this very topic yesterday, but for some reason (I assume moderation) it did not appear. I re-post the text here, since a dialog on this topic that is quite relevant to the post above might be of interest to other readers:
"Interesting read. But your musings did get a bit fanciful right at the end. There has actually been remarkably little progress in interpreting EEG signals in the almost 100 yrs we've been recording them. And with good reason, since without suspending the laws of physics, there is simply no amount of algorithmic wizardry that permits us to interpret noisy amalgamated signals of a handful of crude scalp electrodes to figure out what our brain's 100 billion neurons are up to. Even if we were to implant chronic microelectrode arrays in human brains (something I did routinely with rabbits in graduate school) this data would be of insufficient predictive quality to fuel anything but a few barstool tricks, as in the video you linked."
8 months, 3 weeks ago on Apple’s Next Act
Interesting read. But your musings did get a bit fanciful right at the end. There has actually been remarkably little progress in interpreting EEG signals in the almost 100 yrs we've been recording them. And with good reason, since without suspending the laws of physics, there is simply no amount of algorithmic wizardry that permits us to interpret noisy amalgamated signals of a handful of crude scalp electrodes to figure out what our brain's 100 billion neurons are up to. Even if we were to implant chronic microelectrode arrays in human brains (something I did routinely with rabbits in graduate school) this data would be of insufficient predictive quality to fuel anything but a few barstool tricks, as in the video you linked.
@paulcarr You offer several well-reasoned arguments and they are somewhat persuasive. They would have been even more so without the accompanying insults.
You are quite correct that I know little about the tech industry. This is one of the reasons I read PandoDaily, to learn more. To learn quicker still, I try to think about things, articulate my thoughts, and then learn from others, as one does in a blog comments section, so shoot me.
As someone far more knowledgeable, you seem to be bolstering my own thesis when you point out that TC runs positive stories and invites all CrunchFund companies to speak at TC disrupt. You are right -- I seemed to have underestimated their own bias. So I guess you are agreeing with me that an assertion of potential bias is reasonable based on a blog's investors and positive stories about them.
That Sarah made her statements about "monetizing influence" in public obviously doesn't change my impression that it appears inappropriate. I would have thought she would appreciate this feedback. I guess the repeated insults from you and Sarah explain why so few others dare articulate such opinions in the comments. FYI this adds yet another layer of bias to the blog. If Pando fails in generating an engaged community, please think back on this exchange as one of the possible explanations.
9 months ago on No, Feedgen, I Won’t Publish the Article You Wrote About Yourself Under My Byline
@paulcarr Sarah described the PandoDaily business model in her own words one week ago at PandoMonthly:
(Transcript starting at 24:28) "I mean this is the whole premise basically of our company. I was at TechCrunch before and I always thought TechCrunch made everybody else more money than it ever made itself, because it just never monetized influence. So, was that TechCrunch's fault? Is that the market's fault? Is the market going to change? I mean I think this is one of our biggest challenges as a company, is finding a way to get rewarded for influence, for, ya know, a company being written about on our site and getting funding as a result."
On SarahLacy.com, she says this about business models: "In many cases, blogs haven't yet figured out a way to monetize their influence. TechCrunch had an insane amount of reach and influence compared to any other platform for which I've written. And yet, TechCrunch made the least per ad of any platform for which I've written. There's something wrong with that, and it'll get rectified at some point."
You point out that Pando makes money "from events, some ads and the occasional book project". But the majority of money Pando is burning through is seed money from its investors. If TechCrunch were to repeatedly write glowingly about AOL properties, they would receive criticism. At least Arrington always owned his appearance of bias. The Pando editor-in-chief boasts about monetizing influence while at the same time authoring numerous stories about Pando investors as well as companies in their portfolios. As a regular reader of the blog, I noticed that each of these articles has been glowingly positive. To be clear, all I said was that this comes off sounding inappropriate.
Does this make me an "idiot", a "troll", a "fucking dickhead"? I thought the posts are for the authors and the comments are for the readers. It is insulting to have my sincerity challenged, especially when I have not done this to you. I understand you feel the goals here are noble and quite possibly you are correct. I have supported (with evidence) everything I said in my original post. To arrive at an impression different from yours doesn't make me "a fucking dickhead".
@paulcarr If you are disputing my claim that Sarah Lacy has indicated several times that Pando intends to make money off of "influence" (her word not mine), I would be very glad to post this evidence. It will take some time/effort, so I welcome you to return to this comment section for links to the evidence.
And please don't refer to me as "Idiot" in the future. I promise to extend you the same courtesy.
@Feedgen Where did you get the impression that PandoDaily is in the "business of entertainment". Its founder and editor-in-chief has made clear both in print and in video (a plug for PandoMonthly...yay) that Pando's business model is based not on pageviews but in monetizing "influence". Based on the way she boasts about the wisdom of this approach, I can only assume she has no idea just how seedy and inappropriate that sounds, particularly when half the top figures in the Valley are Pando "investors". This makes it all the more strange for her go on these rants about journalistic standards.
@Joe Mellin Undoubtedly Facebook was already a home run, based on the $$$ made by founders, ground floor employees and early-stage investors. But those $$$ were just funny money, not business profits. Will there be any more "home runs" if even grand slam companies like Facebook and Twitter fail to turn a significant and sustainable profit in the future? If they don't, investment $$$ might dry up and Sacks's comments might seem a little more prescient.
9 months ago on David Sacks’ Argument Is Rational, It’s a Good Thing Silicon Valley Isn’t
@Joe Mellin According to Wikipedia the Duell quote, while amusing, has been debunked as apocryphal.
I join those praising this piece, but only for its elegant articulation of a vision diametrically opposite to Sacks's. But when returning from rhetoric to reality, one notices that even today's winners are potentially mid- or long-term dogs. In just three months, those who were so certain Facebook would score huge $$$ from advertising without perturbing its audience have gone silent. All these doubts are surrounding the Valley's most insanely successful company led by its premier irrational "genius".
Always fun being proved wrong, but like Sacks for the foreseeable future my money is on the smart and rational.
While TC's Intern/Co-Editor sets a very low bar, her banishment to NYC suggests AOL is getting serious. Now Team Pando is stepping up its game as well. Having seen Penenberg in interviews, there is no question this is a very substantial addition.
In just a few short weeks I've found new hope for tech journalism.
9 months ago on NFW: Adam Penenberg Joins PandoDaily as Editor
@andrewfister Trevor seems to have it out for my alma mater, but is showing real signs of improvement. In his post covering the Seattle startup scene, he originally went with "UC Champlain".
9 months ago on Boulder’s Startup Ecosystem: Pros and Cons
Another great PandoMonthly. But the shoutout at 1:47:40 succinctly explains why Pando's comment sections have become a ghost town. Anyone offering a dissenting opinion or criticism is a "dickhead commenter" and should be ignored or told to f*ck-off. That's not how you build engagement. You may learn one of these days that not all of the constructive critique you have worked so hard at discouraging is off the mark. By that time it will be all gone. Hooray.
9 months, 1 week ago on PandoMonthly NYC with Ben Lerer Post-Event Recap
@Alterax My resistance was futile! That's it. I'm joining the party woohoo!!
Soon I may be "tweeting about it for hours" like nosequepongo_.
9 months, 1 week ago on Plug.dj’s Non-Explosive Growth Is Its Biggest Asset
@nosequepongo_ You point out: "as far as I know the people that commented this are real users of plug.dj".
By a huge coincidence, both "Alterax" and "Royal_Soda" also commented on another blog post about plug.dj three weeks ago. Their comments were 5 minutes apart, so they must be big fans. In his comment, "Royal_Soda" first pointed out "I love Plug.DJ Visiting it is part of my daily routine" before adding "Props on the article, although I'd like to point out that Plug.DJ supports 50+ languages, not 8" (see http://techcocktail.com/plug-dj-media-music-vide-2012-07)
@Alterax Your twitter account (@4lt3r4x a.k.a. "Plug.dj Brand Ambassador!") does confirm that you are a big fan of plug.dj. In fact, every one of your 212 tweets is either about plug.dj or a retweet from @plugdj. Here is my favorite tweet of yours: "Don't forget to follow us on twitter at @plugdj so you don't miss the new events and parties coming!" (http://twitter.com/4lt3r4x/status/222745205911203841)
Was browsing on the PandoDaily homepage and was stunned to see a post with an 8-person comment thread, so I clicked it eagerly to see what was driving this "engagement". It seems like the whole marketing team from plug.dj signed up for new Livefyre accounts and left comments like "check out plug.dj, it's great!!". Nice touch how they also liked each others posts. My favorite one is the heartfelt testimonial, "I love Plug.dj!", from a Livefyre account pointing directly to the plug.dj homepage. Maybe instead of leaving phony comments, they could detail for readers the amount of "investment" plug.dj will make in Pando should Pando's "influence" help plug.dj get funding. Now that would be interesting.
Since nobody real is participating anyway, I wonder if it is time to turn off PandoDaily comments altogether.
Since Arrington was fired, is there no one on Team Pando with any sort of legal background or competence? It definitely shows. As with other posts having an IP focus, there are many uninformed statements:
- "There are a few things that Fab needs to prove in order to assert its claim of trade dress infringement".
You failed to mention a critical burden of proof in a trade dress case, which is "likelihood of confusion". When an ordinary buyer visits the "Touch of Modern" site, selects items, and makes a purchase, is he confused that maybe Fab was the source of the goods?
- "The lawsuit attached two screenshots of the sites, and the resemblance is striking. The photograph of the apartment in the background is clearly 'inspired' by Fab".
Maybe you attached the wrong photos because the apartment photos you provide bear no resemblance to each other. This goes also for the photos that TechCrunch published which are the ones from the law suit.
- "It’s a risky case, more so when faced with the fact that both companies are still startups, and will need to devote sizable resources towards legal fees pursuing the case in court".
Legal fees on this sort of case aren't nearly as costly as you seem to think. I think Fab will manage somehow as they have just concluded a $105 million funding round.
- "If the case goes to trial, it will all come down to the assertion that Fab actually does have exclusive rights to its design and its underlying business model".
I guess everyone can save a lot of time and effort, since you have already isolated the central legal issue that will be decisive in this case. Forget meeting burdens of proof. Why bother having attorneys and judges consider the relevant legal statutes and interpret fancy-schmancy case law? It's so unnecessary.
- Whether they prevail or not in their charge of copyright infringement, Fab would not likely be labeled a "copyright troll", since usage of this term has been limited to cases where there has been exact copying and wherein the plaintiff's goal was not to discourage copying per se, but rather to extract damage awards or financial settlements.
- "If the evidence holds up, it will be clear that Fab’s website was copied by Touch of Modern"; "the actual copying shouldn’t be in dispute".
9 months, 1 week ago on Breaking Down Fab’s Copycat Claims Against Touch of Modern: Innovate, Don’t Copy
This video and write-up were interesting and hopefully will succeed in encouraging readers to increase their awareness and understanding of this important topic.
That said, the presentation does have a bit of an anti-patent bias. GMOs are an example of the patent statute elegantly achieving its purpose of promoting innovation. If the "fruits" of their innovations were made free for all to use (pun intended), there would be little incentive for companies to invest in the costly R&D necessary to develop these improved products. Awarding a limited monopoly on the innovations is an appropriate incentive. Certainly the PandoDaily audience doesn't resent the fact that hard working research scientists profit from their efforts? Or should profits only be awarded to internet entrepreneurs?
Unfortunately the video also implies that the positives and negatives are in some sort of balance. The more one looks into this topic, the more they will learn that the pros vastly outweigh the cons. That is why a huge portion of U.S. crops are already GMOs (corn = 86%, soybeans = 93%). Are there negatives? Of course. But with increased development effort, the pro/con disparity only grows. A good analogy is vaccinations. Sure there are possible negative effects, but the positives are part of the reason why life expectancy and general population health have been consistantly on the rise.
9 months, 1 week ago on PandoHouse Rock — The GMO Song: “OMG GMOs!”
@rehbein So true...and Arrington the worst fire. Never mind, hooray for Hallie!
9 months, 1 week ago on What’s Still Holding Back a Small Business Software Revolution
We have seen PandoMonthly grow stronger with each execution, from the first almost disastrous one with Arrington, to the recent fascinating and revelatory ones with the likes of Moskovitz, Thiel, Pincus and Horowitz. And she has hustled to put together an incredible lineup still to come. Sarah is the common denominator in its success. She is nothing short of phenomenal in this role.
But there is a painful truth growing increasingly more obvious to the Pando readership. This role -- not being a tech blog editor-in-chief -- is her natural calling. And not just PandoMonthly interviews. Sarah could quite easily be the face of a tech conference brand that would have all the pizzazz of Disrupt and Launch plus all the class of AllThingsD. If she could get Arrington back on "Team Pando", her team would blow away the band of amateurs at TechCrunch. Sarah connects with people when she is on camera, with a class and sincerity that obliterates Calacanis and his snake oil salesman charm.
That said, the blog is nothing special. There is little engagement in terms of comments, and their best posts (usually Sarah's) always strike me as rushed and unpolished. If someone she trusts is reading this, please do the right thing. Tell her it is time to pivot.
9 months, 2 weeks ago on PandoMonthly with Reid Hoffman Post-Event Recap
@rszrama Learning how much you appreciate these valuable insights has made my day. Thanks!
9 months, 2 weeks ago on ComScore’s Lawsuit Against Three Startups Is Pretty Deplorable