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On this Friday News Roundtable the panel discusses the impact of social media on the Boston bombing investigation, Google Fiber, the long awaited release of the Space Monkey hardware and more!
0:30 Welcome everybody! Today we have Rafe Needleman, Platform Advocate, Evernote & Michael Robertson, CEO of UberTalk
3:00 Thank you to MailChimp! Powerful email marketing!
7:30 News Story #1 Boston bombings and terrorism
10:11 Rafe, does real time news concern you?
11:00 Discussion of instant information applied to investigations
15:55 Rafe, what do you think about the online vigilante culture?
17:15 Michael, what are your thoughts on hacktivists?
20:25 Rafe, what do you think about Tech media covering national security issues?
22:00 Discussion on speculation
22:20 Michael what are your thoughts on speculation?
24:00 Discussion on social media affecting news media
26:00 Discussion on terrorism affect, military response appropriate?
31:30 Segway into tech news
32:25 Thank you to The Resumator! Looking for a new Production Manager for the show
35:33 Michael, what do you think about people who attach a political point of view to a tragedy while it’s occurring?
39:15 News Story #2 Google Fiber in Provo, Utah
40:20 Michael do you think this is Google’s takeover move?
41:30 What do you think they’re trying to figure out in those tests?
43:15 Rafe what is your take? Is Google getting too powerful?
45:35 Michael, who is most in danger here, Apple or Verizon?
46:21 Rafe what would you pick Google Fiber, Google Glass or self driving car? In order?
47:00 Michael, what’s your order?
48:00 Discussion about self driving cars and civil liberties
50:00 Control of citizens through data discussion
55:25 Discussion on Gun Control
57:45 News Story #3 Space Monkey reaches goal on Kickstarter
58:15 Rafe what do you think about Space Monkey?
1:01:40 Michael, have you been following it?
1:03:05 News Story #4 Evernote accelerator & hardware!
1:06:01 Rafe what’s going on?
1:08:29 Michael, what do you have going on?
1:11:45 Thanks everybody!
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Jason: Hey, everybody. Hey, everybody. It’s friday. So it’s ThisWeekIn Startups’ News Round Table. There’s a lot of news going on. Obviously the Boston bombing and subsequent social media explosion and Reddit is a major story this week. We’re going to dive very deep into it. Rafe Needleman from Evernote, formerly of CNET and Michael Robertson, a serial entrepreneur. Stick with us. Kirin is going to read the news of course. Stick with us. It’s going to be an amazing program.
TWiST title sequence.
Jason: Hey, everybody. Hey, everybody. I am Jason Calacanis. I am a serial entrepreneur. I have been building companies for 20 years, investing in them for 3 or 4 and hosting conferences and writing about them. Hosting podcasts about them for over 20 years. I’ve learned a couple things about startups and technology. This program is where I share it and geek out about it with my friends and a larger audience. We’ve been doing it for 3 or 4 years. Now you’re caught up. On Fridays we do something called the News Round Table where we have a bunch of smart people come on the program and discuss what happened this week in technology. It was a packed, packed week. Sadly the Boston Marathon was bombed and then subsequently an incredible manhunt went on. That’s still going on. It’s Friday today. It’s still going on at this point with one suspect who has killed by the police and one who I believe… Who knows because this is changing at the moment… is still on the lamb. The interesting part about that of course is this is all playing out in real time. We’re going to discuss real time news and how that all is manifesting stuff. Cause it’s very different then it’s ever been in history. We’re also going to talk about Facebook’s chat heads and that whole launch. We’re going to talk a little bit about…
Kirin: Google Glass.
Jason: … Google Glass yes. That’s Kirin.
Kirin: Google Fiber.
Jason: Google Fiber right, that was a big story this week.
Kirin: Twitter’s music app.
Jason: And Twitter’s music app. Of course the spacemonkey launch. The voice you’re hearing there is Kirin Kalia who is the editor… What are you managing editor?
Kirin: You ask me this all the time.
Jason: What is your job title?
Kirin: Editorial director. Come on.
Jason: Editorial director yes. I don’t make the titles up here.
Kirin: You told me I could use that.
Jason: You can use whatever you’d like. Editorial director, there you go, of the Launch Festival and of course ThisWeekIn Startups and the Launch Ticker. Let me just stop for a moment and pause for the cause to thank one of our partners on the program, that’s MailChimp. Eeee ee ee ee. There you go. That’s the commercial. No. Literally somebody told me the other day, like they emailed me, “I’m using these four products that are on the show.” So you know the show is sold out six months in advance for advertising. Now we’ve got these amazing, new, big, large advertisers coming in. You know the show was built off of people like MailChimp. These emerging software as a service companies that provide massive value to small businesses. MailChimp is one of those. I’ve been using it, literally, for over 5 years now. They’ve been a partner on the program for probably three. What do we use it for? The Launch mailing list, for my Jason Nation email list. You can start building a mailing list. Over the last, what, ten years they keep telling you you have to focus on your MySpace page, you’ve got to focus on your Friendster presence, you’ve got to focus on your Twitter, your Facebook, your Google+, you gotta focus on your website, you gotta focus on your Tumblr, you gotta focus on your Blogger. It’s all nonsense. The one thing that has not changed in the last 10 years is our email address. We have a gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail, God forbid, or an AOL. Oh my God. But anyway the point is we change services, we move around socially on the web. We don’t change our emails cause that would be annoying to the people around us, right? So I’m going to be Jason@Calacanis.com for the rest of my life and JasonCalacanis@gmail.com for the rest of my life. I’m not going to change those. That’s where building a business… If you had had MailChimp on your website for the last 2 or 3 years and you collected just 3 emails a day for 3 years you’d have 3K people who are interested in your product and you’d have their email addresses. Guess what? I’ve got over 30K people on the Launch email. So when I post an event or do anything I just email it to those people, “Hey. Here’s what I’m doing. Are you interested?” I don’t need to have everybody interested. I can just get a small portion of them then all of a sudden there’s 6K people at an event. That’s what happened at the Launch Festival. I really think the success of the events we do is directly related to our mastery of the MailChimp product. Boy does it have a lot of features and it’s super affordable. You can do incredible new features like mobile-friendly email templates and with version 8 you have multi-user access. So that means that if you have a marketing person or your receptionist or your office person and your general manager sends the emails. But you don’t want that person to have access to the email list cause you think they might download it. Or otherwise for privacy reasons they shouldn’t have access to it. Now you can do that granular user permissions. Anyway. We use it. We do things like send the Launch Ticker. I could see how many opens it has and what’s the rate of open, how many were unopened on any given day and how the list is growing. Just great stuff like that. It’s easy to use. Go ahead and thank @MailChimp. If you don’t have a MailChimp sign-up form just promise me in the next 48 hours you’re going to put it on your site. If you’re not doing that you are an… Should I say something?
Kirin: You’re an idiot.
Jason: You’re an idiot.
Kirin: It’s OK.
Jason: I’m from Brooklyn. I’m going to be honest with you. If you were my friend I would tell you, “What are you an F’ing idiot? Collect those emails. Own those emails. Own those relationships. If you don’t do it your competitors are doing it. You spend all this money on your stupid Facebook page and then they pull the rug out from under you. Remember they did that? Facebook, you can’t even trust those guys. But email, you’re not having to go through a gatekeeper. No gatekeeper. That’s what MailChimp lets you do, build deep, deep relationships with your customers, your constituents. By the way, if you’re a journalist or somebody who’s just starting out their career, you’re an entrepreneur you need to build a mailing list as well. People come to your domain name, they come to your Facebook, your Twitter, collect those emails and then communicate with them once in a while. That’s what I did. I built a career off of it. Thank you @MailChimp. Alright. On the program today Rafe Needleman is with us. He’s now at Evernote running their new accelerator, a very exciting new project we’re going to hear about in the news program because it’s news in and of itself. But formerly of CNET and of course he did Rafe’s Radar for a number of years. Which was for me the bible of the internet for a good 3 or 4 years and technology. Welcome back to the program @rafe.
Rafe: Good to see you guys. It’s good to be back.
Jason: Yeah. We got you. You sound great. Great microphone. Everybody can follow Rafe @rafe. Also Michael Robertson is here. Entrepreneur, who did MP3.com and a bunch of other projects. Michael Robertson, welcome back to the program. You can follow Michael @mp3michael. Michael just need you to test your microphone one more time. Yeah. We don’t hear you. But we’ll work that out in a moment while the tech folks work that out with you. Maybe you have to just change your settings there. OK. Let’s get to the first story. Kirin.
Kirin: Well we all know that the sad news of the week is the Boston Marathon bombing.
Kirin: This is relevant to us because of how it exploded on social media as you pointed out. All sorts of folks on Reddit and all over the place frankly speculating on which person it might be, just based on all the photos and videos that were shared. Thousands of people watched Vine videos, shared photos on Twitter. Dennis Crowley of FourSquare, CEO was running the marathon and was stopped short of the finish line because of the bombing. He and all of his family were safe however. You know, over the course of a week speculation continued. You wrote a piece about smart people should speculate. There’s maybe some disadvantages that come with crowd sourcing this sort of stuff. But this is the future. We live in it. As we saw this morning, one of the suspects has been killed. The other one they’re still tracking down. Boston’s pretty much come to a standstill. The Cambridge police department, interestingly, stopped tweeting because they thought the suspect himself might be following them. You know monitoring social media to see what’s happening. It turns out that the suspect who was killed had a YouTube channel that included playlists he created called terrorists. The suspect who’s still missing, he has a Twitter account that people have discovered. They’re pretty sure it’s him. @J_tsar. He said some interesting things in there. So clearly part of the story. So where do we go from here?
Jason: It’s a very interesting question. I think we are in an era where we can debate if real time news is a good idea or not. I think it’s a healthy debate. It’s not going away. My position is we’re not going to be able to stop this. Right?
Jason: Once people get CNN, when the first Iraq war happened, once they had realized, “Wow.” The Iraq war occurring in real time, that was so addicting for people that they can’t go backwards. That’s when you saw a proliferation of live news, right? MSNBC came out and Fox News and all these other channels to compete with it. The same thing is happening now. Blogs and news sources and then of course social media. The really interesting thing is this is the first terrorist attack we’ve had, if you don’t count school shootings as terrorist attacks, actually this is a terrorist attack, that’s a religious debate. Not religious in the religious sense but it’s a polarizing debate. This is really the first one we’ve had in the Twitter, Vine, Instagram era. So the thing that was absolutely certain was that we would figure out who had done this and we would capture them on multiple videos. That’s exactly what, this is what I predicted, and that’s exactly what transpired. Rafe you’ve been in the journalism business for a long time. Does real time news concern you? Should it concern the general populace and I guess as Kirin said, where does this go from here? I mean we’re obviously going to learn a lot and we’re going to do a lot of Monday morningquarterbacking. What are your general thoughts on this live coverage?
Rafe: Well it’s both good for the public and very bad at the same time. I mean I was watching, as I think a lot of people were, I was watching social media, Twitter and Facebook as events unfolded because there was more information there. Now a lot of it was wrong but the great things about social media was if you’re an astute viewer you could easily tell what was right, which bubbled up to the top and got reflected or retweeted or whatever. What was wrong got quickly debunked. So it was an extremely efficient way to get information even though it required a little bit of intelligence on the part of the viewer. Which was cool. The bad part of course is that for terrorist attacks media coverage is what it’s about. Terrorism thrives on media. The more you have people tweeting or Instagramming or Vining photos of carnage the more effective the terrorism is. That’s only going to get worse as social media becomes more pervasive and as more and more people walk around with broadcasting stations, which are soon going to be their point of view. The Google Glass or other glass products. So we’re soon going to see terrorism as it happens to people. That’s literally a terrifying proposition.
Jason: Yeah. That was one of my observations in my email newsletter. We haven’t even brought Google Glass into this. We’re going to have the first person perspective of somebody murdered by a terrorist. Or just murdered in general. Which really gets to Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days. Which people were recording their experiences then playing it back for other people. But Michael you were watching this and you were commenting on it in real time as well. What are your thoughts about the world we live in today where we’re all participants in the investigation? I mean Reddit, 4Chan they were doing good detective work. You had a lot of hands trying to figure this out. Is it a positive that people on Reddit are so engaged in sorting through these images or is it creating a lynch mob?
Michael: Well I think it’s net good. It’s unquestionably good. I don’t think it’s that bad. Let me explain why. There’s a tendency to think that government is really good and accurate. I’ll point people back to the Atlanta bombing where they mis-targeted Richard Jewell as the suspect for, literally, years. So that was when the officials had control. They were misidentifying suspects. So I know that some of the criticism is well there’s some people on the internet who misidentified a guy with the backpack or whatever and then turned out not to be involved. But it’s not like the authorities got it right for, literally, a year. They ruined a guy’s life because he didn’t have the mass of social media to say, “Hey. It’s not me.” I think it was phenomenal. I think what you had was, literally, the next generation wanted photos that have video clips and links to still photos and three different angles. The next generation will be live video, I mean 3-dimensional video. Like you’re talking about where the victim you can actually look at it from there perspective. Or even right now there’s one guy still out. They have his license number. How amazing would it be if that was popped into Waze.
Michael: And every Waze user, you know, instantly became an investigator. For me, the crowd sourcing is amazing. It’s all good.
Jason: Yeah. This is what I think you’ll hear out of the people in the technology business is because we already understand how all this technology works we can see very clearly the upside to it. The people who are concerned about this are people with something to lose. Which are the authorities in some cases. Although I think they’re split as well. Some of them are like, “Hey. Let us do our job. Stay out of it. You’re the public.” But I think there is another group of them who are like, “Hey. We’re not going to catch these people without tips and the public can really help.”
Kirin: Well the public has always played a role in it that way.
Rafe: There have always been tip lines. Twitter is the ultimate tip line.
Jason: This is slightly different. This is people in a forum theorizing. The photos with like the line of sight and the bag was it drooping or not. Then finding out the pressure cooker model and finding out the bag model possibly. Like this is a level of investigation that goes beyond somebody on the subway, right? This is I’m actually actively trying to figure this out. Now there is a next step. I will predict where this is going. Which is hacktivism. Which is starting to happen. We’ve had a number of high profile assaults on young women which resulted in suicides and other madness. The hacktivists as they’re referred to. Some people refer to them as anonymous. But anonymous is a collective of unknown quantities and also affiliations. But just hacktivism in general they’re going out and they’re hacking into the accounts. Because these accounts have now come out, these social media accounts, you can be absolutely certain that a hacker, I’m sorry hundreds of hackers, right now are trying to get into that Twitter account and get into the direct messages. They will release those direct messages and they will find out who that person was in communication with. They’re going to go hack their gmail accounts and hack their Facebook accounts and there going to get all of this. There might be seven other people who are communicating with these two pieces of trash, these two absolutely horrible individuals, who are considering doing plots. You know what? The hacktivists don’t need warrants. These guys are true vigilantes. Rafe what do you think about the vigilante culture, the A-Team culture as I like to call it, this hacktivist A-Team culture where they’re going to go not only solve the crime but they’re going to start committing you know…
Jason: … like crimes.
Rafe: You call it the A-Team culture. I call it an online lynch mob.
Rafe: It can go either way. Look, you can find things that the police would never find because you’ve got crowd sourced information, cause you’ve got incredibly smart hackers who are able to piece information together in a way right now that professionals cannot.
Jason: With no warrants. With no warrants. With no recourse.
Rafe: With no warrants. The only thing we can hope is that the collective wisdom of the cloud stamps down the mistakes, the mis-identifications, the errors or getting someone’s name wrong and hacking into their account because their name happens to be the same as some other person who looks similar. This kind of thing can go pear shaped really, really fast and can ruin lives. I’m not saying this is not what needs to happen because the wisdom of the online crowds is immense. The skills that we can tap are immense. The way we can draw connections are incredible but there is a downside to it. I just hope that collectively we are all able to steer this in the right direction. But there’s going to be casualties.
Jason: Michael what are your thoughts on the lynch mob/A-Team/hacktivists?
Michael: Well I think if we move from investigative to punitive where people take the next step and say, “I’m going to meter out punishment.” Then I think there’s some reason to be concerned. There’s another dimension, another way to look at this. That is we have now told every future terrorist, “You will be caught. Guaranteed.” Before the only challenge was how can I surreptitiously slip in, plant my bomb and get out. Well in today’s world they know you will get caught. You will have photos. You will have videos. The society will hunt you down. There’s no question now. I think that’s great because it tells all of these terrorists, “You’re going to be a suicide bomber if you are a bomber.” So I think there’s another dimension here. Future guys are going to have to not only try to get away with their terrorists but they’re also going to have to focus on getting away. Which these clowns didn’t even think about. Right? They’re still just walking around Boston as if they weren’t going to get detected. Which is astonishing.
Jason: That’s the amazing part. They did not…
Kirin: They didn’t leave.
Jason: They didn’t leave.
Kirin: It blew me away.
Jason: Yeah. They don’t seem to be all that smart. This is… Getting back to speculation, right? So now there’s this other… By the way, I think Michael makes a great point. The government gets it wrong probably more often than they get it right. I mean the government is incredibly inefficient. That’s not a dig to cops or anything like that. The government is the government. We know that they’re not super efficient. The Richard Jewel case is a perfect example of it. I mean it’s just perfectly analogous. Now getting to the media side of this. The New York Post put pictures of two people saying these people are wanted by the FBI. Then a little subhead that was like, “For questioning.” It was like wait a second. You’re talking about Reddit being a lynch mob or 4Chan or whatever and the New York Post… LIsten. I’m not going to sit here and tell you my expectations of the New York Post is going to set some kind of gold standard but boy did they “F” it up. Now it’s like another segue that happens which is… M.G. Siegler was like the tech blogs shouldn’t be covering this because they’re page view whoring, they’re page view mongering. I understand his point. There are people tweeting, “Hey. Check out this person with their legs blown off photo. Get me page views.” Right? But one other thing I noticed was BuzzFeed, Gawker, Atlantic Wire, the Twitter discovery feed, the Twitter list that Dick Costolo put out last night at midnight. He put out two Twitter lists that were put together by Danny Sullivan. These folks were on it as much or more than mainstream news. So they actually were really good at sorting through online information and putting it together into a narrative. I don’t think the mainstream media has learned how to craft a story out of disparate pieces of social media. Rafe what did you think of that issue that M.G. Siegler brought up of tech blogs shouldn’t cover this. The Verges and Mashable and TechCrunch are page mongering. What did you think of it Rafe?
Rafe: I was agreeing with him until a friend of mine, who’s watching this right now, said, “Well you know , I spend all my day on one of these sites and when they started covering it that’s where I get my news. So it was OK.” You know news is news. The tech blogs, certainly tech bloggers are on the cutting edge of how we report and disseminate news. So if there going to take the lead in saying, “Look. We’re going to put a live blog up or present this information in a new way and it’s going to get thousands or tens of thousand of viewers that CNN.com isn’t getting because nobody trusts them because they’re doing a terrible job.” Who’s to argue?
Rafe: That’s what journalism is actually supposed to do.
Jason: Yeah. I like the idea of tech blogs maybe going… I don’t like the idea of them being like, “Here’s another gore photo.” But I do like the idea of them saying, “Hey. We are monitoring this in a more deft fashion than other people. We’re going to do our job crafting it.” DomainNoob in the chat room says, “That these folks do not care. They just want to be famous.” This is what I always thought was kind of interesting as well was speculation. The common knowledge has always been, “We should not speculate. We should not speculate.” I just thought to myself, “Is that the government telling us to be brain dead and not think or question?” That seems wrong to me. I think intelligent people should speculate constantly. The first thing I thought was are these Al-Quaeda members? Are they Oklahoma City bombing members? Are they Tea Party radicals. Some new radical piece of the Tea Party movement? Are they anti tax people cause it’s the tax day? Speculate, speculate, speculate. That is a good thing to do. I think we should be speculating even to this moment as to what their motives are and something subsequently. Michael is speculation a good thing or a bad thing? Should we sit back and let everybody do their job and not speculate on social media? Or should we engage in discussions about what’s going on in our world?
Michael: Well I think speculation is great. But to me this last incident there was a fascinating trend. That was all the lines between media were blurred for the first time. Now I’ve watched political debates with Twitter open and so you know you get a little taste of the tech world. But this time it was different. This time people were jumping from Reddit to online to the TV. I saw people saying, “Hey. Do you know you can listen to police scanners on the internet?” and posting links and those links went down. People would say, “Go to UStream for a relay of the police scanner.” So to me it was fascinating because the old distinct lines of broadcast media and the internet, in this time completely vanished and everyone was cross pollinating and cross referencing. It was astonishing. I think it was a defining moment for internet media blurring the lines and infiltrating mass media.
Jason: It did feel that way where the people at CNN are in this bubble where they feel that they can’t recognize other sources of information. They have to process it to us then give it to us on a plate.
Rafe: CNN gets pantsed on this thing too.
Rafe: Man they just blew it. If anything this was yet another shining moment for citizen journalism, for social media and equally a defining moment as to what can go spectacularly wrong with professional media. Social media is forcing professional journalist to raise their game. There is still a big role. There is still a lot to be said for this is the cornerstone coverage. This is the person who’s going to have access to the mayor or the police chief because they have that relationship. That’s a big responsibility. This shows that the people who have that responsibility now have got to take it even more seriously than they ever have. Cause otherwise who needs them.
Jason: Yeah. What I realized was I didn’t turn CNN on once during this.
Rafe: Me neither.
Kirin: Any cable TV?
Jason: No. No. It was like this is too… CNN is too slow. I’m watching the hashtag on Twitter last night for the town. What was the name of the town?
Jason: So I just had #Watertown in and I’m just refreshing that. Oh, my God. That was being told in real time. You know there are CNN people watching that and they’re putting a 15 minute delay because they’re doing research on it. But I want to see what is actually occurring. I was witnessing it in real time. Much more interesting.
Kirin: What about the attack on Reddit? Who’s doing this denial of service attack if Reddit is maybe one of the good guys here?
Jason: Yeah. Who knows? When you see this kind of malicious stuff going on you have to realize that they’re are a huge contingent of people who are just trolling. You know? They’re doing it for fun. “Oh. Wouldn’t this be a great day to troll? Wouldn’t this be a great day to take it down because people would notice and they would think…” You know. So people do this kind of stuff all the time.
Kirin: You don’t want to speculate?
Jason: Well I speculate that it’s people who are just…
Jason: … trolling. Yeah. That’s my speculation. The speculation about these individuals… Remember what I told you, which was, “These are my prediction…” Before I even saw the photos. “These are lone wolf inspired by Al-Quaeda.” How did I get to that? Only two people died, three people died, which is tragic but when I looked at the math and the execution of the London bombings on 7/7 there were 4 terrorists there who killed 52 people. They saying there’s 2 or 3 of these terrorists and they killed 3 people? That the bombs were pipe bombs basically. That the bombs over there were those ammonium ones that just absolutely shrapnel the entire bus. Those were suicide bombers and these were obviously coward bombers. Right? I’m not saying that the suicide bombers aren’t cowards but there’s a level of even more cowardliness to dropping it and running.
Kirin: So they weren’t sophisticated enough?
Jason: Way not sophisticated enough. I mean…
Kirin: Even though they rehearsed?
Jason: Finally what is the… With these terrorists they could have killed more people with guns. They could have killed more people with cars. They could have killed… I don’t understand. I think this is one of the ways I disagree with Rafe is the more we see these photos of people being damaged and hurt and stuff like that I think we’re actually going to start to… because it’s unfiltered now… understand the costs of these things and be able to put them in context. More people die texting and driving in the next week, sadly, than will have died in the Boston massacre.
Jason: All life is sacred. I believe that. But the fact is that we do have to contextualize this. This is something we can get through. Even the September bombings, as tragic as they were, and three thousand people dying. We got through that too. More people have died from drunk driving than that, right, in that period of time.
Jason: Rafe do you think we are actually getting more terrorized or do you think we’re getting desensitized? I think we’re getting desensitized and we’re being able to contextualize the loss of life. Which I think we were softies as americans in this generation. We never experienced any death.
Rafe: Boy, there is several years of graduate psychology work in everything you just said right there. It’s a question of control. It’s a question of violence. It’s a question of media. I don’t know how this thing works out. I’m not in Boston right now. I don’t know what it’s like to be in Boston. I can only imagine that it’s awful to be locked in your house while the entire military it seems searches for a skinny kid who happened to make a couple of bombs. That’s a total mismatch. By that estimation, by the way, the terrorism in Boston is incredibly effective. The entire city is shut down. The entire country, the entire world is looking at this one guy. It is the most visible inefficient act of violence I’ve ever seen considering the amount of damage done and the number of people it has terrorized. Drunk drivers don’t terrorize people en masse. They kill people and we’re desensitized to that. This is in our backyard and it’s out of our control. That’s what terrorizes people. I don’t think that will change.
Jason: What do you think?
Michael: Rafe don’t you think this is overreaction? Putting the entire city of Boston in lockdown is just ridiculous overreaction. It’s a chance for them to roll out all of the super duper heavy duty homeland security weaponry that they’ve been buying for the last decade. Totally overreaching. People should go on with their lives. Shutting down the whole city that’s just overreaction. The government is flexing their muscle.
Rafe: It’s a completely understandable human overreaction to a loss of control. We have the equipment so now’s the time to use it. We’ve got all this SWAT gear. When else are we going to use it when there’s a guy running around who stills has a backpack full of bombs? This is the time to use it. It’s an overreaction but it’s human nature.
Jason: Also, I don’t know if you could fly in and out of Boston right now. They shut down Logan?
Kirin: They shut down Amtrak.
Jason: They shut down Amtrak. Shouldn’t they be letting Amtrak go and just putting every off-duty policer from outside of Boston onto the trains looking for this piece of garbage? I mean obviously he’s going to try to hop a train. Good. Let the trains run. I agree.
Rafe: If one more person is killed because of this terrorist and it’s because he was on… If he bombs a train for example. The criticism will be because the trains are running.
Jason: The cost is so great that people are covering their…
Rafe: I hate speculating on what’s happening here but CYA that’s going on here is understandable.
Jason: I guess so. Listen. I have a lot of cops in my family. My brother Josh was a cop for a long time now. So I understand. They also want to get the guy who got their guy, right? There’s a lot of pride with the cops. My other hope is they don’t kill this kid. As much as I would like to whack the kid I think the kid needs to get caught and we need to really get inside his head and figure out what was going on here?
Kirin: Exactly. But he might kill himself before they can do that.
Jason: They usually do. Alright, listen. This whole thing is horrific. This is always a tough part of the show where you have to segue. We’re going to segue into some stories about Google Glass and some other things. Our hearts go out to the people of Boston. It’s a very tough city. It’s a great city. It’s great people there. Obviously they already worked through it. They’ve already carried on. The resiliency and spirit of that city is very strong and the people are very strong. I’m looking forward to the Boston/Nicks game tomorrow and I am rooting against Boston vs.The Nick’s. But I will tell you that I do love Kevin Garnett and that team. I have a lot of respect for that city. I think that’s why New York and Boston, just a side tangent, like New York and Boston have a big rivalry. But it’s because we’re so similar, you know, and we have such common DNA. I really like guys from Boston. I really like the town. I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years. Hearts go out to all the people there. To the Boston PD: you have my tremendous respect going out there and risking your lives everyday doing this kind of stuff. Then you know what the other thing is? Now everybody… the speculation… When we get back from commercial I want to ask Michael about taking this and politicizing it. Cause Michael and I have a lot of discussions about gun control on the show. Not on the show on Twitter. Listen. Let me stop for a second and thank my friends from The Resumator. We’re hiring here looking for a new executive producer for the show, correct?
Jason: We want somebody with like 5 years experience doing like… I don’t know… CNN or something. Well maybe not CNN given their performance. Maybe somebody who did something like… What’s a great radio show?
Kirin: Other than Howard Stern?
Jason: Howard Stern’s got a good producer, Ba Ba Booey. You know somebody who’s worked on some talk radio show who can really like up my game a little bit and give me advice on how to be a better host. Somebody like that.
Kirin: OK. Somebody’s who’s on local TV news?
Jason: Maybe local TV news. I kinda think talk is better. But somebody who just loves entrepreneurship and thinks they could level the show up. The way we get those resumés in is by using this wonderful product called The Resumator. The Resumator is a great story. The founder of The Resumator was on…
Kirin: Don Charlton.
Jason: Don Charlton was on an Ask Jason in the first 20 episodes of the program.
Jason: Then he was a guest, he raised a bunch of money, now he’s a sponsor on the show. I’ve been using the product since the day he told me about it. The day he told me about it I said, “That’s a great idea.” I don’t have to get all these resumés through email and make an Excel spreadsheet to track them. I can just have them all go into The Resumator and you’ll normalizes all the PDFs.
Kirin: It’s so much better.
Jason: We’ll be able to do the sorting of them and say who’s a good candidate and who’s not, who’s been hired and who hasn’t been hired and track all that stuff. We get hundreds of resumés in a week from companies that I’m involved in. We sort through them really easily. It works awesomely. The thing that you did particularly well was you asked people 4 or 5 questions. So they can’t just submit their resumé. They have to answer 4 questions.
Jason: So they see the job posting on Indeed or…
Kirin: Or wherever.
Jason: … LinkedIn or…
Jason: … Craigslist. But they get a link that sends them to The Resumator. Then what were the questions we asked people for the executive producer position?
Kirin: We asked them, “Who should be a guest on the show that hasn’t already been on the show?”
Jason: Who should be on the show that hasn’t already been on the show? That’s a great one.
Kirin: And we ask them to take a tech news story and put it into bullet point form just to make sure they know how to write.
Jason: Got it.
Kirin: That requires a little bit of work.
Jason: Right. So now you’re about 20 minutes of work to apply for the job.
Kirin: Then asking them what it takes to be a success in life and why do they want to work for a startup?
Jason: Got it. That’s awesome.
Kirin: Actually I had one person who I sent those questions to who wrote me back and said, “Thanks but no thanks.” Like knew right then didn’t want to go any further in the process.
Jason: Could they answer them?
Kirin: Didn’t want to deal with answering questions.
Jason: Love it. Market your openings on free job boards, your website and social media. Screen resumés based on job criteria. Track applicants through the hiring process. Hire employees efficiently. Stay competitive by reducing time and cost per hire. You may know some of the customers. Instagram, Pinterest, HooteSuite. Everybody uses this product. It’s like MailChimp. Just everybody uses it. It works out great. When you start using it it’s so affordable you’re going to be like, “Jason. I started using The Resumator.” That’s what happens. Like I’m in the bathroom. “I’m using The Resumator.” I’m trying to take a leak. I’m glad you use MailChimp but you don’t have to EEEe ee eeee when I’m like taking a leak. It happened. Literally I was in an airport, a guy is like, “I love the show. MailChimp. Eee eel ee.”
Kirin: Guys have a much more awkward situation than women do.
Jason: Yeah. We’re not in a stall. But anyway TheResumator.com/TWiST for your free trial.TheResumator.com/TWiST. Thank @theresumator. Michael you and I have a lot of interesting debates. What do you think about people who are starting to look at this and then attach… I don’t know if you’ve done this or not. I can’t remember… attach a political point of view to a tragedy while it was occurring. Inappropriate, not appropriate, who cares?
Michael: Well. I mean part of it is wholly partisan. I saw some reports saying, “Well. Obama cut spending on bomb detection in one of his budgets.” I mean that’s just preposterous to assume that people have that kind of foresight to predict when crazy people are going to act crazy. So I think a lot of it is partisan driven. However, you can’t deny… if anyone was looking at this… If this was an islamic jihadist guys, you know, they were definitely influenced by that. So to the extent that that’s political I think it’s undeniable.
Jason: Yeah. So I think, handicapping that, what I was sort of referring to was more of your first example. Where people are like, “Obama…” Whatever it happened to be. Somebody… Cenk from The Young Turks was like… the moment it happened, like an hour after it happened, in his stream he’s like, “Everybody’s going to make a million complaints about… This is going to be like headline news forever. But if you shoot somebody it’s not. So gun control…” Somehow equating weak gun controls with bombings and you know… I just wrote back to him like, “You know what? I don’t think that’s the right timing. You have to be a little bit sensitive.” Then there’s these other people who include… try to do marketing around this stuff. This is a message to people who if this is your first time being an entrepreneur. If you make any kind of product or software then a tragedy occurs then you try to attach your service or product to that tragedy you are a huge douche.
Kirin: Unless you’re trying to help.
Rafe: Did you really see that?
Jason: Not this time but I see it every time.
Kirin: It would be like Airbnb saying…
Rafe: Sit it out absolutely.
Jason: Exactly. Like Airbnb saying…
Kirin: People in Boston opening their homes.
Jason: Yeah. Google did it very deftly. We have a missing person tracker…
Kirin: A people finder. Yeah.
Jason: But when other people do stuff like… Even Airbnb if you need a place to stay use Airbnb. No. Airbnb community self organizes to offer rooms for free or Airbnb pays for the rooms for people to stay. Fine. But you have to be very careful. Like Rafe says, just sit that out. I’ve seen like… Actually when was the last time? Yeah. Somebody was doing something about the hurricane. You know. People died in the hurricane.
Jason: People lost their homes. I was like… It was a startup I was involved in. I was like I know that you’re…
Kirin: It was Uber. They were changing the prices of taxis in New York City.
Jason: No. That wasn’t the one. This was somebody who was doing a promotion. That was just like they should have turned of surge pricing because it was a tragedy. But that was one of those things where like we have surge pricing built into the system. It’s not like somebody said, “Oh. There’s a tragedy. Turn surge pricing on.”
Jason: Surge pricing is part of how the market place works on Uber. So they didn’t turn it off. That’s like a first time rookie mistake of dealing with… It’s not a rookie mistake it’s a unique situation. It’s an edge case. What you would call in the business. But for somebody who was doing the ecommerce thing where like, “Hey. For every purchase you make you we’re going to donate to victims.” I was like, “I don’t feel comfortable.” We had a big debate back and forth. Anyway. Sit that out. Don’t do that. Just make a quiet donation and keep it to yourself. So let’s do the story… what’s next? What’s the biggest story of the week?
Kirin: So I think we can go with Google Fiber is you like.
Jason: Yeah. Let’s do Google Fiber. It’s a big deal.
Kirin: Cause we know you’re a fan of the fiber.
Jason: Who’s not a fan of fiber?
Kirin: Who’s not a fan of fiber?
Jason: Give me a fricking break. We did this last week.
Kirin: We did this last week because we talked about Austin. Now it’s Provo, Utah. But differently here they’ve gone in and they’ve bought an existing network and they’re promising to upgrade it to one gigabit.
Jason: Just to be clear. They launched the first was…
Kirin: Kansas City.
Jason: … Kansas City a year ago. They did a year of people lobbying them for which city would be first. They did Kansas City. Then they announced Austin.
Kirin: Last week.
Jason: Yeah. 10 days ago or something right? Then a couple days later they announce that they had purchased a company in Utah.
Kirin: Provo, Utah.
Jason: Provo, Utah. That company does fiber.
Kirin: It was sort of a government backed thing. They did a bond and so the citizens of the town are still going to be responsible for paying off the bond. But Google bought it for $1 with the promise that they were going to upgrade the network.
Kirin: So there’s still some city council vote that has to happen next week before everything is official and goes through.
Jason: But that puts them at 3 cities?
Jason: So Michael do you think we’re going to see Google take this to 100 cities? Do you think this is their like takeover plan as I was speculating or do you think this is still a hobby or slightly more than a hobby? What does it mean if Google is the pipeline, the search engine, the content and the ad network and the device?
Michael: Well it’s wonderful speculation. I did read your piece on it. I though it was insightful. However at this point to me it’s simply a prototype. This is just a little lab thing for Google. I don’t think they have lots of foresight about, “Hey. We’re going to put fiber in the top 50 metros,” or anything like that. I think they’re just seeing, hey, what happens if we can control the whole stack all the way to the end point in your home. So I don’t think there’s much more thought. I know people always want to assign, “Oh Google has this brilliant 20 year plan.” Nonsense. They’re just doing lots of little experiments. They wisely shoot some of them when they go sideways. Which is rather refreshing. But I think they’re just playing it out and seeing how it will come together. Also putting pressure on the incumbents as well.
Jason: What do you think they’re trying to figure out in these tests? What will they see in Austin or Provo, Utah or Kansas City? What do you think they’ll see on the network activity or something that would make them say, “Yeah. We can do more of this?”
Michael: I personally think they’re looking for what’s the killer app on fiber. I still don’t know what it is. You know. If I can push HD Netflix to my house what do I need fiber for? So I think Google is experimenting to see what will people do. Is there a killer app? What is the killer app? Do we need some new steps in hardware or 3D conferencing or whatever to make gigabit fiber interesting. I think it’s just an experiment.
Jason: Yeah. I’m very interested… This is what I think. If they see an uptick in usage on YouTube and on searching and clicking on ads those two things could be greatly impacted. LIke perhaps you’ll watch 3, 4, 5 times as much video on your laptop or computer from YouTube. Which means they will get 3, 4, 5 times the amount of revenue. Maybe they see you do 2 or 3 times as much searches. Maybe they have an ad unit for search that’s video or something that they have hidden. So there’s got to be something that they’re looking at when the people use it. Or like Michael’s saying they could be just putting pressure on the net neutrality issue and continuing to raise. So when you’re playing poker you can bet pre flop, you can bet on the flop, the turn and the river. You get 4 betting sessions. They’re going to keep pounding some chips in there and say, “Hey. We can do this all day. We’re rich. We print money.”
Kirin: It worked last week in Austin. I think it was AT&T that came out and said a day later, “We’re going to do fiber in Austin.”
Jason: Yeah. They’re really holding people’s feet to the fire. Rafe what is your take on this? Is Google getting too powerful now that they control the whole first act? Does it worry you in any way.
Rafe: Not yet. They only control it in 3 cities. They couldn’t get the free wifi in San Francisco where every resident wanted it. But I think you wrote about one of the twists on this is if you get the free Google Fiber in your house you also get, essentially, a mesh wifi node. So what they’re really doing in these cities is installing pervasive wifi with unbelievable coverage because it’s in all the houses.
Jason: Yeah. I don’t think that they’ve announced that yet. That was my speculation based on the phone investment, FON, and the other 4 or 5 free wifi tests they did with Boingo, with Virgin America.
Rafe: That’s where the real opportunity with Google is. Cause everybody has already got internet in their house and everybody’s already got a varying quality of mobile broadband. What they don’t have is a reliable high speed mobile wifi. If they do that… That’s the real opportunity. That will drive usage. That will drive, hopefully, ad revenues and it’s give them more information than they have right now on how people use wireless.
Jason: Ah. This is what I think is the other piece. Rafe, very subtly in the end there, you probably didn’t catch it. You can rewind about 30 seconds on your Stitcher Radio or TuneIn. Whatever app you use. They will now know everything you do on your computer. They will know everything you do. Right now they know what you search for, where you went on the search. They know Chrome but Chrome has some limitations on it. Now they’re going to know the entire data level. So if you’re using a video game, you’re playing Starcraft and it’s sending data, they now know you’re a Starcraft player.
Kirin: And how many hours you play.
Jason: And how many hours you play. Very good punch up there Kirin. So they’re going to start knowing a lot things about you. Which is incredible. They could potentially run the cost of this down to… They already offer… What is it? 5G for free is the idea. You can get fiber to your home for 5G?
Jason: I’m sorry. 5mb for free and hundreds of megs, a gig for…
Kirin: $70 a month.
Jason: It’s ridiculous. I think they could keep lowering the price of this and they never need to make any money off of it. Then obviously they did the same thing with devices. The devices are getting close to free. This is… Well let me ask my panel. Michael who is most in danger here. Is it Apple or is it Verizon?
Michael: That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer. But I love Rafe’s point about the impactful thing here would be pervasive wifi. That would put huge pressure on the Verizon’s of this world. You’ve got 2 or 3 operators who control mobile internet access. So if Google were to create pervasive wifi clouds to me that puts huge pressure on the Verizon and AT&Ts of the world.
Jason: Yeah. This is a big project. Let me ask the question I asked last month. If you could have a Google self driving car Rafe, Google Fiber or Google Glass this afternoon when you get home or tonight when you get home, which one would you want to have waiting for you at home? In order.
Rafe: Well I know… I saw your story on this. I already have a nice, fast connection.
Jason: You have fiber? What do you have?
Rafe: I got ComCast the 12mb. It’s fine. It’s awesome actually. It’s faster than I need.
Jason: OK. A gigabyte for the same price. The comparison would be gigabit…
Rafe: I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably the self driving car because that’s the cool living in the future thing. The glass I’m going to wait for the next generation. I already got the fiber and it’s cheap enough.
Jason: OK. So Michael what’s your order?
Michael: Well it sure as hell ain’t a Google self driving car. That’s because I don’t want to lose control over where, how, when I drive. That is absolutely where that goes. As soon as your in a car that’s connected to a central authority they’re going to make sure you don’t go past the speed limit. They’re going to make sure you don’t go here. They’re going to track every bit of your movement. So I don’t want no damned self driving car.
Jason: So that’s not even on your list?
Michael: As intellectual as it is… I took cognitive science at UCSD and one of our projects was building an AI engine that would keep a car on the road. So from an intellectual standpoint I agree with Rafe it’s very cool. But from a civil libertarian I think it would be horrible for the government to ultimately be able to track you and control how you move about.
Jason: I mean he actually make a good point. You know sometimes Michael seems like a fringe nutcase when he talks about this stuff. It is a core freedom.
Jason: Freedom of movement is a core freedom. Right? Now what if you get in that car… You can’t go over the speed limit, right? Or it says we’re not allowing people on that road right now. We’re going to divert you. You can’t go down that road. Right? Or whatever it is.
Rafe: The self driving car are not going to be what takes our driving liberty away. It’s the insurance companies. The monitoring systems they put into cars to raise your rates if you drive too fast or too aggressively too often.
Rafe: That’s where the civil liberties begin to erode. Self driving cars are further on down the line.
Jason: Go ahead Michael.
Michael: Rafe I’m gong to challenge you on that and say, Listen. You have an option to take that with an insurance company.
Rafe: Not for long.
Michael: I’m going to put a monitor on my car and pay more or less or whatever. That’s not the fear. The fear is when the government does it. Companies can’t throw you in jail. Companies can’t charge you more on taxes and confiscate some of your money. Let me tell you what’s going on in San Diego. I’m involved in a challenge here in San Diego over the use of LPRs. LPRs are license plate readers. What they’re doing in San Diego… when I say they I’m talking the government. Every police department car, every sheriff car in the entire county… Those little signs that say how fast you’re driving, they have LPRs, license plate readers, that scan your license plate when you drive by. Now the theory is it’s all about safety. We’re looking for pedophiles or stolen cars. Fine. But that’s not the concern. The concern is… You know what they do with that data here in San Diego? They’re actually doing it in lots of other metropolitan areas. They aggregate all that data into one master database and compile it. So now the government can track wherever you go. That’s happening right now in San Diego. If you don’t think that the driverless car is going to be connected into that you’re crazy.
Jason: That’s really disturbing. Go Rafe.
Rafe: I’m completely with you. That is terrifying and disturbing. I don’t want the government or Google for that matter knowing where I am at all times. But what if that technology could help us catch the Boston marathon bomber because he was driving around in that CRV and it looks like a thousand other CRVs within a 10 block radius? What then? Who runs this? Who does the oversight to make sure that the right data goes to the right hands and it’a not used for the wrong purposes? Where is the line between civil liberty and actually protecting us?
Michael: Well you can always make that case about safety. If we do this we can track those pedophiles, make sure they don’t get close to schools or whatever argument you make. We live in a society where you don’t assume people are guilty. You don’t track every person. Let me tell you what I did. I put in a California Public Act request to the government entity that is aggregating all this data. I said, “Hey. I want data on my car. Show me where has been.” They refused. You know what they said? “We’re not going to give it to you because it’s part of an investigation.” An investigation. Really? So you’re investigating all 4M people in San Diego? That’s happening today. That’s not a theory. This is not a book about what could happen. So they will always attack civil liberties under the guise of, “We’re making it safe. We’re looking out for you guys.” We have to reject that and say, “No. When there’s a crime then you go and investigate.” When society has a choice of being more free and letting bad guys walk that’s what we always should choose. Is innocent until proven guilty.
Rafe: I’m actually not going to dispute that. I think he put it very well. I do not like the idea of anybody tracking where I go. I think as more technology becomes available to collect this information that these arguments have to happen. The Bay Area Toll Taking authority records every time you go over a bridge. That’s the baseline of this kind of thing. They say in their records that erase their data after 30 days of what bridges you’ve been over. Then 60 days after that you get a print out showing which brides you’ve been over in the last 10 days or in the last 2 years or whatever it is. They don’t know how to erase this data. So as this data is collected, it is going to be collected, if not by speed cameras then by smart phones or by Google Glasses that individuals are uploading the data to there own personal clouds. The data is going to be collected and aggregated. The question is who is responsible or who’s going to take responsibility for making sure that it goes to the right places.
Jason: This is the issue, Rafe.
Rafe: Yeah. It’s impossible to solve.
Jason: If the information is collected it’s going to compromised, it’s going to be abused. If I know anything in my 25 years in the internet and technology is I knew IT guys who were reading their bosses email exchanges about them when I was at Sony. When they were negotiating their salaries they were reading both sides of the discussion on the mail server, right? They were laughing about it. If information is out there it’s going to be compromised. It’s happening everyday. I think what you’re hearing here on the program is there is going to be another battle that is going to occur and it’s going to be between control of citizens through data and our personal freedoms. Then this very religious battle. It gets back to guns as an example. Everybody wants to know why we can’t make any progress on guns, right? No background checks, no limitations on anything. I’ll tell you why. Because the government is doing such sinister things like how they’re treating Michael right now in terms of the recording of the license plates and their filibustering and they’re flexing their muscle and they’ve got this little ounce of power that they have this data and they’re being jerks about it. That’s the kind of thing and those government behaviors build to this level of mistrust of the government, that the government is out of control. We elected them and they still don’t obey us. Like they’re on their own mission to do what they want to do. The citizens who are paying their salaries and paying their taxes have no influence over it, right? It makes people crazy. Which is what’s making Michael crazy about… That’s my data. That’s my license plate. Why do you have it. We have a Freedom Of Information Act. You have to tell me. You’re the government. You have to tell me what information you have on me. So I actually understand where the second amendment gun people are coming from. Which is do not give an inch. I don’t necessarily agree with it but I understand it very clearly. They are absolutely 100% correct that background checks is the first step, clips and the amount of bullets in the clips is the second step, the number of guns you own is a second step, where are those guns right now? $1K in insurance for the gun is the next step. Then it’s going to be to the point where it becomes so onerous to own a gun that you’re not going to be able to. Then they’ve started to disarm the populace. Now it seems crazy that we don’t have the ability to do a background check on somebody buying a gun or say, “You can’t buy 500 but you can buy 50.” Or that you have to have insurance. Or that you have to have them in a lock box. This is the level of polarization. I blame the heavy handed government people for putting in the minds of the people who are of the second amendment that there is no reasonable compromise to be made. Michael.
Michael: I largely agree with what you say but the background checks… We do background checks in California that’s the law. There is no gun show loop hole as the president talked about. It’s the same in Connecticut, any buyer gets a background check. So the notion that this would solve anything or reduce or stop Newtown is just factually incorrect. So I guess my big issue is trying to make new laws over outliers invariably leads to bad law.
Jason: Unintended consequences.
Michael: Exactly. So when you look at Newtown, yes, it’s a travesty. When you look at the Boston bombing absolutely a travesty. But to make new law around these obscure random, crazy people that doesn’t make sense. If you want to stop gun deaths legalize drugs. Because gangs shooting and killing each other that’s the huge driver of the majority of gunshot deaths are from gangs fighting over drug turf. So if you really care about that go after that. Don’t go after using the outliers of Newtown to come up with some new crazy laws.
Jason: It feels like our society is really headed to either a great reconciliation on these issues. Like we could actually have a grand debate over these issues. Cause they are inter-related. Obviously the drug cartels are the ones who are buying a lot of these guns and a lot of stray bullets. Then the disparity in wealth and income and just these other issues in society, employment, the cost of taxes. We really have to figure this stuff out with a reasonable dialog. People from other countries… We had Mattias on…
Kirin: From Sweden.
Jason: From Sweden. It’s like I think a lot of people look at The United States and go, “Why can’t you guys agree on anything, get anything accomplished.” Technology just exacerbates this stuff to a level that people can’t even figure out. Let’s do another story. Let’s do Spacemonkey. Play the Spacemonkey clip. Here’s Spacemonkey demoing at the Launch Festival. Go.
video: How many people think they would try Spacemonkey and get 10 times as much storage for half the price? How many people would try it? Wow.
video: Thank you.
video: That’s a big statement. That’s almost everybody.
Jason: There’s Rafe in the bottom right.
Rafe: I love that company.
Jason: That was a great moment. Thank you for playing a video clip during the show. See how that made the show better?
Kirin: It did.
Jason: One of our discussions is how do we make our show better. We thought during the news program if we played a clip if could be exciting. That was. That’s the moment, a year and a month ago, they launched on stage. Rafe was right there in the front of the audience as one of the members of the grand jury. Rafe when you saw that product, Spacemonkey, did you think it was too good to be true? What do you think of it and there success today?
Rafe: Well I’m glad they finally shipped their t-shirt. I think it’s been two years. Kirin it’s good to see you wearing it. It’s too late. I love Spacemonkey. I think what they do is technologically amazing. I think the price point is dead on, $10 a month for a terabyte and you still own it more or less. But the whole need for local storage… We still need it but we’re not going to forever. I don’t know where Spacemonkey goes. Right now the only thing we need to store locally is video. Everything else can be stored fine in the cloud. Yes. Spacemonkey is right. It is too expensive. Spacemonkey is a lot less expensive like an order of magnitude less expensive. But the whole idea of a business based on local storage in a less expensive infrastructure gives me the willies.
Jason: Yeah. I’ve had one for the last two months upstairs and I’ve been playing with it. The software is getting better and better. It works. It works as advertised. You have a terabyte in the cloud. I’m an investor in the company, full disclosure.
Kirin: What are you putting on there?
Jason: Right now it’s been experimenting mode so I’ve just been dumping movies and stuff like that on there. So I’m not actually putting my own data on there yet. I use multiple drives. I have a Drobo unit at home then I do backup to hard drive and I do another Time Machine backup because I have videos and I have 100K photos. So you can’t really put it in the cloud. I have a DropBox but it would never be able to hold everything unless I paid $1500 a year or something crazy like that. $2000 a year. So it works. The real exciting part is the KickStarter project for the first run of the units… I have one of the undesigned units. So these are the units that are beautifully designed. I have one of the ones that look like… You’ve seen it on my desk but I’lll show everyone else. They don’t have it here on the site. It just looks like a basic hard drive with a little stand. So, you know, they have prototypes that weren’t gorgeous. It looks like they might have sold out.
Kirin: They sold out pretty quickly.
Jason: $200K in pre orders. Which as an investor feels good. So 1,000 people bought the $99 version. 500 people bought the $109 version. 134 people bought the 1T, which I bought. Yeah. So I think they’re almost out of all this stuff. It’s great.
Kirin: I think the really high level ones are still available.
Jason: Yeah. The $1K and $5K one. I don’t know why you would by the $5K one. They should just have a little bit more granularity. Who knows? But it’s a great company, it’s a great device. I think it’s still going to be needed obviously.
Kirin: So should DropBox be worried?
Jason: Well here’s the thing. I think 2 out of 3 users are not going to need more storage. I think for some people DropBox is kind of ingrained so I’m going to keep both for a year. That’s the plan. Then I’ll make a decision. But I’m also buying 5 more of these to give to people at the office because we have video here.
Jason: So it really depends on how much of a power user you are so you’re going to have this Moore’s Law going on as to which one can be cheaper. DropBox or this. How big their network can get. But this can also be, with peer to peer a way… There’s this whole other business of caching stuff locally, you know, being like a content delivery network. So if you have 100K of these out there and Netflix has the top 100 movie list and they put the top 100 movies out on the cloud then they could be streaming those movies for free to people very close to them. It would be a very interesting concept, right? So anyway there’s a lot of potential upside down the road. Have you been following it Michael?
Michael: Just from a distance. It’s a fascinating company. But I have to agree with Rafe. That ultimately I think the macro trends are working against them. I mean people don’t have their own power generators. Because ultimately the economies that scale are so overwhelming that you just pay the utility company to do that. I think that’s the way that storage goes. So do they have an opportunity? Yes. For how long? I think is the question. If there’s even more massive economies that scale I think it’s a very short window but maybe it’ll be slower.
Jason: Yeah. The other interesting thing that can happen is let’s say you and I put two terabyte drives in our homes… but then there might be five other people who don’t put them in their homes. By the way I’m speculating. I don’t have inside information. Let’s say there’s 5 other people who want to start a DropBox-like service but they don’t want to have the hard drive they could actually be using our drives at our places.
Jason: So they could seem really interesting. What if they did it where you didn’t have to have a physical device you could just turn your desk top hard drive and say, “This piece of it, this 500G, I’m going to put in the Spacemonkey cloud.”
Kirin: Well how tying it to Instabridge?
Jason: What’s Instabridge?
Kirin: It was at our festival last month.
Jason: Oh. Right, right, right.
Kirin: So the guys from Sweden said that you don’t have to get somebody’s password to use their wifi. You could just walk around town. Whoever is friends of your friends and have given you wifi permission you’re on their network. Or something like that.
Jason: Yeah. A lot of opportunities there. Let’s do another story then we’ll get out of here.
Kirin: OK. I think we should talk about Evernote since we have Rafe on.
Jason: Oh yeah. This is pretty interesting. We got Rafe here.
Kirin: So Rafe knows this part of the story very well about the accelerator. That they’re going to be doing a one month long residency at the headquarters in Redwood City.
Jason: One month. Got it.
Kirin: The folks who are eligible for that have to first do the Dev Cup. So they had 2,000 developers participate in Dev Cup last year. These are people who are just building things that work on Evernote.
Jason: Got it.
Kirin: Now the partners they’ve involved, Docomo Innovation Ventures, Honda’s Silicon Valley lab. They’re going to do this this fall for a month. Then there’s going to be a gala which they’re also basically calling it Demo Day.
Kirin: So that’s part of it. Then of course Phil Libin did come out this week and talk about Evernote wanting to build hardware.
Kirin: So there’s some interesting things going on at Evernote. Perhaps Rafe could elaborate.
Jason: Well I have two things to say about Evernote first.
Jason: I will interject. Number one, I got LiveScribe. I used LiveScribe a couple of years ago. It’s like a fancy pen you write in a book with a grid. Then it will record it to a like PDF basically. So I had it a couple of years ago. It was a pain in the ass. You had to like plug it in to your computer and sync it. I always forget then the battery would die. But now they have a wifi model where I’m just up in the office taking notes now. I’ve started taking notes because my short term memory… I’ve got so much on my mind it’s just hard for me to remember stuff. I find if I write stuff down, even if I never look at it again, my retention goes up or my thinking about it goes up. So I just like writing stuff when I’m in a meeting. You’ve probably noticed I’ve been writing more in meetings. So I’ve been writing in meetings and it automatically syncs it up to my Evernote. Now I actually stumble upon it. You know, every month or so I look at notes I’ve made and say, “Oh yeah. I should call that person I had a meeting with.” Or, “Oh yeah. I forgot about that.” So if I wrote the note I should review the notes. It works very well. Then number two, I found an incredible use case for Evernote today.
Kirin: That is?
Jason: I went to my daughter’s first parent/teacher conference.
Kirin: Oh. Lucky you.
Jason: I just thought to myself on the way in, “I wish I had a recording of my first parent/teacher meeting. Like my parents meeting with them about me.
Jason: So I said, “Let me turn my off.” I snuck into Evernote, hit the record key and laid my phone on the desk recording in Evernote.
Kirin: You didn’t tell the teacher?
Jason: Did not tell the teacher.
Jason: Did not tell the teacher. Cause I didn’t want it to screw up their performance. So I taped a 30 minute thing. I’ll never play it publicly. My plan is 30 years from now I’ll play it for my daughter when she’s 33 years old and say, “Hey. By the way, here’s your first teacher conference.” Blow her mind. I also started London@Calacanis.com so she has her own email. Every once in a while I’ll email her a little note about…
Kirin: Someday she’ll be able to see what you said to her.
Jason: That’s pretty cute, right?
Kirin: But you’re not tweeting as her as some folks do?
Jason: No. Sean Percival tweets as his kids or something like that? I think Percival was doing that.
Kirin: Well Sarah Lacey has Twitter accounts for her kids.
Jason: She’s tweeting as them?
Kirin: Elly Cuda and Evey Cuda.
Jason: My goodness. Alright. So Rafe what’s going on? Explain it to us.
Rafe: Well the accelerator. This is what I star at Evernote to do. I’ve been covering startups for 15 years. I finally decided that I want to do more for them than just do these little therapy sessions. Where I’d interview them then write a column then move on to the next one the next day. So we’re doing this accelerator. Evernote is not just a product it’s a platform. One example of that platform in use is the Live Scribe pen that you mentioned. So that pen is awesome and the back end for that product is Evernote. All the notes go into Evernote. That’s one product of the potential of thousands or millions of products that can be built to interact with people’s Evernote data. So we love it when people build applications on the top of the Evernote platform. We have a competition called Devcup where people will build apps and they win prizes. This year the grand prize for six winners is a trip to our accelerator here at Evernote. Where the participants will live nearby. We’re going to put them up, we’re going to give the office space here at Evernote, literally alongside our developers and designers, a startup curriculum and speakers. Maybe you. And help them build products into businesses and then help them on to their next phase. One of the cool things about this accelerator compared to most of the other accelerators that I know and you know is that we’re not taking equity in these guys. When these accelerator projects, when these businesses succeed and get people to use Evernote more and make Evernote users happier that’s the best possible outcome we could have. That’s the program I’m putting together and I’m terrified to do it.
Jason: Do you give them money? Do they get money or just a desk?
Rafe: They get a stipend and expenses. So we’ll fly them out, we’ll literally house them for a month nearby. Maybe in San Francisco maybe down here in Redwood City. We don’t know yet. We’ll give them a desk. We’ll feed them. So we’ll make it so it doesn’t cost them anything to be in the accelerator.
Jason: So it’s probably like $10K or $20K, I’m guessing, in expenses for the company.
Rafe: I budgeted it. It’s a bit more than that budget wise. Then we’ll introduce them to all of our friends down here.
Jason: That’s a very cool idea. I just have to say like Phil is really… Some people they make a lot of money and they don’t do interesting stuff. Then there are those people like Mark Cuban or Phil. They have great success then they… Larry Page… they do really interesting things. Or Michael Robertson. So Michael what are you working on? Any plugs? dar.fm? What? What’s good in your world?
Michael: Well I’m still working on my DVR for radio, dar.fm. We just launched Uber Station. So you guys can check that out. It’s a list of nearby radio stations that you can listen to. But I’m also spending a chunk of my time, if you can’t tell from this conversation, as a part time government agitator. trying to keep those buggers honest. That’s been a lot of fun. Things like the LPR. Things like… I don’t know if you know this but if you’re in California you’re paying to put HD programming in all of our prisons. So talking to our California Department of Corrections. Tell me, how much are we spending to put HD televisions and HD capacity into prisons? Maybe that’s something that we shouldn’t be spending money on. Things like that I’m spending a little time on.
Jason: You are very provocative on Twitter. I have to say if you’re not following @mp3michael, follow him. Did you get into an exchange with Dennis Rodman the other day and he replied to you? Then I jumped in the conversation too.
Michael: Yeah. I did.
Jason: What happened there?
Michael: Well he goes over and he gives a hug to the Kim Jong-On crazy nut, you know. Who runs prison camps and is an evil dictator. So I bonked him a little bit. I said, “You know what? Maybe that’s not the best thing to do.” He told me to pound sand. He’s a basketball player.
Jason: A big mean one too, apparently.
Michael: Yeah. That was quite humorous that he even bothered to respond to me.
Jason: Well I like the fact that people will respond. I do think that Dennis Rodman… I mean I know he got put up to it by… I don’t know if it was Vice.
Kirin: It was vice.
Jason: Vice put him up to it or something? I like, you know, I get what you’re doing. It’s kind of funny. You know, Team America. The guy also has a million or two million people in prison camps that are… According to the reports on 60 Minutes, very similar to the ones Hitler ran. I mean they may not be killing all of those people but they are torturing them on a daily basis. So to go there and give a hug to that guy and be like he’s your friend and all that kind of stuff is kind of like saying I’m friends with Pol Pot or Hitler. It’s a very bizarre… You know what? Dennis Rodman is too dopey to even… He’s totally checked out.
Kirin: He doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Jason: He has no idea what he’s doing. Somebody gave him $25K and said, “Do you want to go there?” And he went. So he took a speaking fee and went there. You know what? He’s going to feel… I don’t know. Maybe he’s not smart enough to feel stupid about it. If Kim Jong-On does something crazy like launch a missile into Seoul or Japan and kills 100 people or 1,000 people or 10K people or 100K people or starts a major war, you’re going to be the guy who went and was like, “Yeah. He’s my dude. He’s a cool dude.”
Kirin: Also Kim Jong-On must be a little peeved at the Boston Marathon bombers because they stole some of his thunder. It was there special day. April 15 was the birthday of his grandfather.
Jason: Oh. Was it really supposed to be like the big day?
Kirin: It was supposed to be like their big day and America got distracted. They weren’t paying attention to North Korea anymore. I wonder how he feels about that.
Jason: It is interesting. The international situation. Anyways listen. This has been an amazing program. Thanks to Rafe for being on the program. Everybody follow @Rafe. Thanks to Michael Robertson for being on the program. Everybody follow @mp3michael. See you next time guys.
Rafe: Take care.
Jason: Take care Rafe. Take care Michael. Great job on the program. Thanks of course to MailChimp and our friends over at The Resumator. Great to have you guys on board as a partner. MailChimp, God, you guys have been so great to me over the years. Both by making a great product and also just supporting the different events and stuff like that. It really means a lot to me. I really do appreciate it. Thank you Kirin Kalia. Very good job on the news today. Oh we had another video today. I didn’t play the other video. What was the other video?
Kirin: It was just that I thought it was kind of funny that Clint, when he was on your program last year, said that they were going to start shipping Spacemonkey last summer. But that’s a startup thing, right? Things don’t go the way you planned.
Jason: Yeah. I’ve been on the emails like, “Oh my God. Why are we so far behind. It’s like we’re making hardware.” Like if they just made the software it would be out right now.
Jason: But you know, whatever. They got to pursue the vision. People want a physical device. So they’re getting a physical device. Was there another video from another…
Kirin: No. That was it.
Jason: Oh. OK. Two for the same story. Listen. If you want the job as executive producer you’re… God bless you man. You have no idea what it’s like to work with me.
Kirin: You have to be in LA.
Jason: You have to be in Los Angeles. It’s a Los Angeles position. Go ahead and do a search for that or email Kirin@Launch.co. We’ll see you all next time on ThisWeekIn Startups. Bye bye.
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