E213: News Panel with Rafe Needleman and Peter Horan on This Week in Startups



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On the News Panel live from San Francisco’s CNET studios with Rafe Needleman and Peter Horan, our guests unpacked everything from Amazon’s secret store plans to the difference between blogging and journalism. Also on the table were PayPal’s shady practices, Google’s newest social reader offering and Twitter’s splashy update.

0:00-1:30 Welcome everyone, to TWiST live from the CNET/CBS Interactive studios in San Francisco!
1:30-2:15 Welcome to our guests, CNET editor Rafe Needleman and Halogen Media Group’s Peter Horan.
2:15-3:30 Thank you to GoToMeeting for sponsoring the program–they help make trips like this possible!
3:30-5:15 First story: Amazon is said to be opening big-box style stores selling their own branded merchandise. What will the stores look like? Rafe, what do you think?
5:15-6:00 Is it true that if you use Amazon’s scanner and buy that product that you get 5% off?
6:00-6:45 Peter, have you heard anything about this?
6:45-9:45 Jason demonstrates how he searched for a USB car charger and Amazon’s own product didn’t appear in the search results.
9:45-11:30 Will Amazon have a brick and mortar store in the next three years?
11:30-12:30 Tyler: If they already know that they’re going to ship to a major market, why not go ahead put a store there?
12:30-14:00 Will we see Amazon come out with smartphones, TVs, etc.?
14:00-16:45 Is there a way the consumer will lose in this scenario?
16:45-18:15 Rafe explains a scenario in which a friend tried to get a book published and was told to come back when he had 10k friends on Facebook.
18:15-20:15 Next story: Twitter has gotten a major redesign that compartmentalizes its major elements and gives brands more creative control over their page. Rafe, have you played with this at all yet?
20:15-21:30 Jason: If you look at the #Discovery page, it’s curated, it has a human touch.
21:30-23:30 If you’re a business and you can only build on Facebook or Twitter, which one do you choose?
23:30-25:45 How many people accidentally tweet you, Rafe, thinking you’re someone else?
25:45-26:30 Peter: Think about Google’s miraculous scaling over the past five years.
26:30-28:30 Thank you to Squarespace for sponsoring the show! Everyone please thank @squarespace for providing such an awesome product.
28:30-31:30 Next story: Evernote’s new Hello app is designed to let people to physically swap phones to enter one anothers’ contact info. Is this product too weird to go mainstream?
31:30-34:45 Jason: I think they’re having a little bit of fun, letting their developers run wild and see what new input devices they can come up with.
34:45-38:30 Next story: Zivity’s PayPal account was shut down (and later restored) this week after the payment giant claimed that Zivity violated obscenity laws. Was this an arbitrary decision or was there any merit to it?
38:30-40:30 Jason: All this will serve to do is create PayPal alternatives. (See: Dwolla.)
40:30-40:45 Jason: What if we put a couple of billions of dollars a month to paying people to maintain local farms to provide food to schools?
40:45-44:30 UP maker Jawbone apologized this week for defects with their product and offered customers a full refund. Did they offer a mea culpa quickly enough to regain consumer confidence?
44:30-47:00 Jason: If you don’t treat customers in an exceptional manner, they will exercise their myriad of other options.
47:00-49:45 Rafe: If Amazon does open a retail store, the issue of customer service could be a real challenge. Who do they get to work there?
49:45-50:30 Jason: Would CNET talk to me about what I’ve said on the program today? Would I get kicked off the air?
50:30-52:15 Peter: A lot of startups are founded by incredibly smart people who think that’s enough, and it’s not. (Customer support counts.)
52:15-55:30 Peter: Remember the old AOL unsubscribe number?
55:30-58:00 Is it possible to charge more for a Windows computer and get people to buy it?
58:00-58:45 Rafe: The right model for today is app stores and vertical integration.
58:45-1:00:45 Next story: Google has launched a new social reading platform called Currents. Peter, what do you think of this product? Why is Google doing this?
1:00:45-1:03:00 Peter: I think this makes the most sense for small-to-midsized publishers.
1:03:00-1:05:00 Jason: I think that there’s a model for micro-payments to content publishers.
1:05:00-1:08:00 Peter: Publishers have to focus on value-added content and they have to take content out of the free stream.
1:08:00-01:09:45 Rafe: If the New York Times stops writing content, then Business Insider will have nothing to link to.
1:09:45-1:14:15 Last story: This week Time Inc. brought in former Digitas CEO Laura Lang to run the company. Will bringing in someone from so far outside the publishing world work in this instance, Peter?
1:14:15-1:16:45 Jason: If you give people only dim sum, at some point they want the entree. That’s why I started doing an email newsletter.
1:16:45-1:19:45 Rafe, how much work was doing Catch of the Day? How long did you do that for?
1:19:15-1:21:15 Peter, thank you for joining us. What exactly is the Halogen Media Group?
1:21:15-1:22:00 Thank you to Squarespace and GoToMeeting for sponsoring the program. We’ll see you all next time.

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