E428: Big raises for Lyft & imgur, Mozilla CEO ousted & LAUNCH of the Week

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Namebrand startups are raising huge rounds of financing this week: $250m for Lyft and $40m for photo-hosting site imgur. Jason goes on a full-tilt rant against homophobia in corporations as panelists Liz Gannes of Re/code and author James Altucher discuss the ouster of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. Eich donated $1,000 to the Prop 8 campaign in 2008, angering many employees and fans of the Firefox browser.  Is Mozilla’s community more sensitive to political statements given its unique structure? Or should tech workers be prepared to espouse particular political beliefs?

Plus, in the LAUNCH of the Week, Amazon’s Fire TV hopes to compete with Apple and Roku. Khosla Ventures’ Keith Rabois is preparing an eBay-for-homes, which will likely launch this summer. And Indiegogo campaign iHear wants sophisticated hearing aids to be more affordable.

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Follow on Twitter:

@jason
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@lizgannes
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LAUNCH:
Launch Ticker: http://launch.co 
Launch Festival: http://festival.launch.co

Special thanks to the members of the TWiST Backchannel Program!

Executive Producers
Magnus Ingvarsson
GrowDental
Mary Ann Halford

Producers
Anthony Ortenzi
Jeffrey Hoffer
Marcos Trinidad
Greg Meadows
Lisa Jones
Michael Piggott
Jose Fuentes
Austin Miller
William Paoletto
Louis-Eric Simard
James Shute
Shelley L Gaskin

Highlights:

3:05 – JC: intro Lyft topic
3:54 – LG: the battle is taking money. Uber has been aggressive about lowering prices. Lyft struggling because of that. Now, more money to compete. It’s a capital-intensive business.
4:45 – JA: every city has different regulatory issues, so I imagine legal costs are ~$100k
5:25 – JC: 5 years from now, what will the Lyft and Uber footprint be like?
5:30 – LG: they’ll diversify
6:00 – JC: I tell companies I invest in, don’t tell me anything.
7:03 – LG: I liked Sprig so much, I did it again. 3 part meal. It shows up within 15 minutes, and delivery is $2 for as many as you want to order. I live in an easily accessible SF neighborhood.
8:09 – JC: Sprig has the food in the car already
8:24 – JA: It’s a catering service, a logistics operation: 6 to 15 minute delivery.
8:50 – JC: It’s obviously not made to order. Maybe they microwave it in the car?
9:55 – JC: what does this mean for Postmates?
10:25 – JA: Reminds me of 1999 when NYC woke up to what was happening on the internet. That Dan Loeb is investing feels like that to me.
10:50 – LG: He invested in Yahoo!, etc.
11:40 – LG: Coatue is also investing in internet companies as well…they’re trying to be the new late stage tech investor.
12:55 – JC: this is why the stock market doesn’t get the same as we used to have
13:09 – JA: fewer retail investors. Until you get retail back in the stock market

14:00 – Wistia ad read

17:45 – JC: Imgur intro
18:34 – JA: I think Reddit only participated in a small way. They need Reddit not to compete with them. I’d like to see something compete with Vine.
19:10 – JC: I think Reddit is the new way to launch your service.
20:05 – LG: I don’t see why Reddit doesn’t evolve to be more like them. It’s interesting that they’ve agreed to go their separate ways. They know each other well. They play Settlers of Catan together.
21:05 – JC: Why wouldn’t Reddit just host images?
21:28 – JA: Reddit has prided itself on the fact that they don’t really have to do any work. How much, aside from servers, does it take to maintain it?
21:50 – JC: It reminds me of Tumblr. Why would Yahoo! buy this? To say they have more uniques?
22:22 – LG: There are generations of people who are solidly good at hosting image and don’t know what else to do. There’s someone who does it cheaply but doesn’t turn it into their own business.
22:45 – JC: Mozilla intro
23:48 – LG: I think it’s crazy how fast this all moved. Example of internet witch hunt. They’re different but they’re about their values and volunteers. If you lose trust, it’s not going to work. Didn’t handle situation well. The real problem: he lands on the wrong side of history.
24:45 – JC: If he’d said “…I regret this…”
25:10 – LG: others have had success doing this. He said “I changed my mind.”
25:25 – JA: I have a question. I feel like the 1st amendment should protect him from losing his job. It had nothing to do with his job.
25:50 – LG: Mozilla is specifically a coalition of people.
26:00 – JA: His coworkers didn’t know about his opinion for years
26:35: – LG: I think it’s crazy he lost his job in 2 weeks, but things are moving more quickly. He used to be in the majority opinion in CA, and now he’s not. This isn’t solved by any means.
27:10 – JC: Do we find everyone who’s donated to Prop 8
27: 18 – LG: Nate Silver just mentioned something. 96% of donations were anti-Prop8…this is an issue that tech, in some sense, have chosen sides on.
28:08 – JA: no one ever knew. Maybe these are religious beliefs.
28:20 – JC: I think people use religious beliefs to keep women and black people down as well
28:39 – JA: are we going to start firing the 4% at Google?
29:45 – JC: I think religious nutcases on the right say it’s the devil; that’s what puts in young people’s minds that there’s something wrong with them…………
30:40 – JA: I just get nervous when outrage porn gets carried away on the internet
30:50 – JC: My solution: there is a 10-day cooling off period.
31:20 – LG: obviously tech leaders that are republicans. Meg Whitman, etc.

32:58 – Desk.com ad read

34:50 – JC: closing in on “outrage porn” issue. The issues get processed very quickly
36:13 – JC: Bing Launch of the Week
36:20 – Amazon Fire
37:32 – Homerun intro
38:30 – hearing aid intro
40:00 – LG: Amazon: I like voice search for TV; I don’t see Amazon being the only ones to do that for very long. Apple and Google should bring them to TV as well. Homerun isn’t launched yet, so a bit early to say. $40B in transactions in 4 years. Bringing that kind of disruption could be interesting. The official announcement was through a Secret post – let’s not call it a launch yet. Amazon is the number one. Recode actually launched a product that you should include
42:55 – JA: iHear. The hearing aid sounds great because it’s cheap and small. This is a death spiral into the ground. Keith’s project – in a few clicks, you can buy a house? What about due diligence. Amazon Fire is my favorite product
44:00 – JC: iHear is so clever. I wonder why a company who’s been doing it for 20 years is choosing Indiegogo. But it’s interesting that you can diagnose yourself at home. Homerun, I’m selling my house in LA. I think they’re going to have a role in inspecting homes. I would do a double-blind accredited homerun house inspection. Homerun. Not a proper luanch, but he explained enough and has huge potential.
47:45 – Re/code video
49:45 – JC: Yahoo! intro. Getting traffic and CPMs is a great way to lure away the big stars. But Yahoo! has a homepage of content they’re willing send to you.
51:20 – JA: I think Tumblr needs their YouTube, but NDN gets picked up for a cheap price and becomes Yahoo!’s YouTube. If Marissa buys this company, she can use the uniques to say they’re number 1.
52:38 – JC Graphene intro: is this important?
53:05 – JA: if you could fold your phone, that would be interesting. But it’s expensive to make it non-rustable.
53:30 – LG: Interesting and promising.
53:45 – JC: we have Google releasing iWatch. Anyone have predictions for where that’s going this year?
54:05 – JA: I haven’t been impressed by wearables yet. Google Glass has been a favor. Watches, I thought, were DOA
54:25 – LG: Motorola is interesting. Round face. doesn’t look terrible.
54:40 – JC: There was a story that two fo the three people who buy wearables don’t use it months later. I think it’s going to take Apple to get it right
55:20 – LG By the time Apple does face computing, maybe Google will be doing brain implants.
57:57 – JC: what’s the tension in SF like?
58:00 – LG: It’s ratcheting up. What this all comes back to is the Social Network, the movie. That made it seem cool to be an entrepreneur. That brought a lot of people to SF who sucked. Turned tech underdog into tech overlord.
59:00 – JC: close
1:00:00 – LG: buy re/watch
1:00:20 – JA: Choose Yourself; The Power of No

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  • PhilBangayan

    Sorry to hear you’ll be leaving LA. Glad to have you in our ecosystem.