E434: RadiumOne “G” gets off too easily, net neutrality threatened?



about this episode

The CEO of VC-backed ad startup RadiumOne got off too easily on domestic battery charges. Gurbaksh Chahal aka “G” faced 45 felony charges after a video surfaced of him assaulting his girlfriend — 117 times over 30 minutes. But, he pleaded to 2 lesser misdemeanor charges. The company is widely thought to be preparing an IPO later this year. Should investors back away?

In legal news, the FCC’s next attempt at writing net neutrality rules will likely include a “fast lane” to allow ISPs to charge Netflix, Disney, and others extra for better speeds. Recode’s Amy Schatz tells us, while the FCC commissioner was trying not to scare open internet advocates and tech businesses, this move still whipped everyone into a frenzy.

Aereo hits the Supreme Court, Google may add wifi to its rapidly expanding fiber offering, and HBO’s back catalogue will now be available to non-subscribers on Amazon Prime.

Plus, in the Bing Launch of the Week: 3D printing with circuits, a “lamp” listening device that tweets the conversations it overhears, and on Kickstarter, the Ion light pairs with your phone, and changes colors to match the music.

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times, Amy Schatz of Re/code, and long-time TWIST friend Tyler Crowley join us.

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Executive Producers
Magnus Ingvarsson
Mary Ann Halford

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


0:42 – JC: cold open

1:36 – intro

2:40 – JC: RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal intro.
What happens when something like this happens and they’ don’t get removed?
4:40 – FM: It’s a pretty unusual thing. Horrible all around. At some point, there will be enough business pressure, employee pressure. That takes a while – not sure what will happen immediately.
5:35 – JC: activists like Anil Dash, etc. They’ve started a #dropradium movement. Condé Nast is now being lobbied. Tyler?
6:05 – TC: It leaves you speechless. A black eye on tech. We all feel bad whenever something like this happens.
6:20 – JC: He’s putting memes out there about success. It makes it even more loathsome.
6:50 – JC: Amy, thoughts around this?
7:20 – AS: Either that, or you’re getting more attention. Maybe they’ve been there the entire time. If I were an investor or a CEO, I’d be questioning…if he owns the company and can do the IPO and see what happens. Morals clause…
8:00 – JC: Particularly disturbing is the last couple of days, nothing from major tech publications. The tech industry doesn’t want to cover these issues. Even the GitHub thing, people didn’t want to write about. People like Anderson Cooper, TMZ, etc. who could cover this, a lot of times, look to tech press to do first volley of coverage and that’s not happening.
9:00 – TC: What might happen is that companies get to a point where it becomes contractual…you would think that if you’re going to be CEO…”an appearance of impropriety.”
9:47 – FM: You have, in tech companies, one-owner companies that make them untouchable. I think this is the first time i’ve heard of this company. Generally you have more of these that are going public, and you can’t get rid of them if they do something terrible.
10:45 – JC: I think Sean Parker started this trend…. if someone has this videotape; if he’s claiming he’s innocent, put the tape out. Journalistic imperative to put this tape out.

12:00 – Net Neutrality intro
It’s been very confusing for me. Instead of net neutrality
13:10 – AS: The chairman’s statement was definitely an effort to control the spin on this. Opening the door to do, and that’s the real concern. It’s never acted like this. You’ve never had to pay for a fast lane to someone’s house.
14:20 – JC: Will this make it to the consumer?
14:32 – AS: For consumers already, this has been nothing. Hasn’t affected them. The real concern is that if the Netflixes have to start paying for an access lane to your house, then they’ll pass it to the consumers. In general, most people don’t need instantaneous access over internet line. Mostly for gaming, streaming.
15:18 – FM: Anyway they ruled wouldn’t have made anyone happy. Long term solution = faster internet. If we had gigabit lines, the fact that one portion was faster wouldn’t matter.
16:50 – JC: you wouldn’t be able to perceive it. Fiber, like France, Korea,

17:35 – ShareFile ad read

18:50 – JC: HBO Back Catalog intro
19:45 – AS: It seems like they’re offering things you don’t want to see. I don’t care about Sopranos anymore. Doesn’t seem like it’s worth that much.
20:13 – TC: Starting point to see how bad it’s going to piss Hollywood off.
20:30 – FM: It’s not just coffee. They’re getting $300M for their old shows. HBO is making so much money, they’d have been crazy to turn this down. THey’re the savviest people in the business. Different distribution systems.
21:30 – JC: In a hot market, they keep selling it in different ways.
23:48 – JC: Why isn’t HBO available direct yet?
24:08 – AS: That’s part of the problem; they don’t want to lose the monthly fee. THey’re making a huge amount of money that you can’t make up with subscribers who might try to cut the cord.
24:40 – JC: Will a tech company buy AMC or HBO?

25:33 – Mandrill ad read

27:00 – JC: Aereo Intro
27:50 – AS: Over the air TV service for cord-cutters who don’t want to spend $100 / month for cable bill.
28:13 – JC: If I put my server in another house, I don’t see how it’s illegal in any way. Why such a big issue?
28:30 – AS: The major legal issue is that they’re offering public vs. private performance. Private performance is legal under copyright law. What’s not legal is public performance and charging for it. You can’t do it without giving a fee to the broadcasters.
29:30 – JC: Amy, what’s the right legal answer?
29:44 – AS: SCOTUS seems to think that it’s pretty much a cable service, which does not bode well for Aereo. But they did create a service that seems to evade copyright laws that’s been a cool service that people like. Seems to be something that people like.
30:33 – TC: Seems like IP loophole product.
31:14 – FM: Everything about this company seems to have been set up single-mindedly to get around copyright law. They got it all the way to Supreme Court. How is this a useful service? If they do succeed, the network could evade them. Restrict what they air.
32:30 – JC: remember when I pretended I had an iPad? Why haven’t they put the DVR in phones? Watching TV on phones. Why doesn’t that exist?
33:50 – FM: Probably not an attractive thing because streaming offers more benefits. What’s interesting is that it’s one of the first startups that’s using wireless signals. Maybe this could be the start of something.
34:00 – TC: Magine
35:24 – JC: Can SCOTUS give them the right decision?
35:30 – AS: It doesn’t matter whether they get it or not. Some of them get it. Roku, cloud computing. Some are very, very old. Others are middle-aged and get it to a certain extent.
36:10 – FM: They seem to understand.
36:43 – JC: What role does politics and lobbying play in this?
37:15 – AS: In general, it comes down to the political philosophy that they come in with. People don’t lobby SCOTUS like you lobby the White House. Especially really technical language, like copyright. A lot of patent issues

39:15 – Bing Launch of Week Intro
40:53 – FJ: Is the point to point out surveillance?
41:17 – TC: Performance art terrorism
41:28 – AS: I don’t understand the application? Where do you put this thing where it’s ever going to be appropriate? Super creepy.
41:30 – 3D printed circuit board intro
42:31 – FM: That’s pretty cool. More useful than the first. I wonder how complicated the circuits can be, or if it will just be gimmicky, like a science project set.
44:23 – AS: 3rd clip. Reminds me of daisies that listen to the radio and dance around. I could see it at a party or something.
44:40 – JC: Having been at Sahara Tent, I kind of want it.
45:00 – TC: with the Phillips lights – Spotify API to Hue.
45:25 – JC: Which was your favorite?
45:31 – FM: Lamp was my favorite.
45:42 – AS: I agree. 3D printer, IDK what I’d do with it.
45:55 – TC: sensitive lamp.

46:17 – Google Fiber intro
47:52 – FM: they need to come up with a 3rd pipe into home. Imprinted all over it, that they can control. Balloons, Facebook’s planes, all that stuff.
48:29 – AS: The FCC would be really grateful to have another competitor in the wire market. FTC might not be happy – privacy issues. Targeting mobile ads to consumers, etc. That could be a concern in the future
49:40 – JC: Terms of service for Gmail are “we’re looking at everything.”
50:10 – AS: The concern is that the consumers don’t know that this is happening. Eventually, that trickles to Washington and lawmakers look at whether they need to stop this.
50:40 – JC: I never thought I’d do retargeting. When you market to your existing people, it’s supposedly a magnitude more effective. What do you think of this, Farhad?
51:50 – FM: I always find it creepy when I’m retargeted. When a pair of shoes follow you around the internet. The ultimate goal is subconscious
52:00 – JC: possible with beacon technology, that they’d show me more disney ads. How far is this going?
53:30 – AS: I don’t think most consumers do know or understand. They’re not providing a lot of info, and if they do, we don’t see it.
53:50 – JC: I can’t tell sometimes – Buzzfeed, things like that.
54:00 – AS: They are looking at native advertising and behavior advertising stuff.
54:22 – FM: It bothers me. I can’t say too much about it. Every publication I’ve worked for has it. People definitely see it as the new wave of advertising. The way it works is tricking people.
55:00 – JC: Tell me a story where you thought the line was blurred too much.
55:15 – FM: I have heard about that. There have been stories about it….it’s not that explicit. What often happens is that there’s a side of the business that’s the native ad writers. It affects the other side where if you have a terrible story about mercedes, do you run that at that time? … the general sense at most publications is to keep publications. That’s the major thing that’s ruining journalism.
56:40 – JC: Do native ad writers get paid more than regular journos?
57:00 – FM: I don’t hang out with ad people…
57:10 – JC: The real journalists hate the ad people and put them in a different place.
57:45 – AS: It’s a pure advertising product. I don’t know about the Times. I was at WSJ before this, but those are not writers in the newsroom or people anyone ever sees. It’s kind of crappy content to begin with. If it helps pay the bills, the reporters won’t say much. Always a split between ad and newsroom. That’s the way it should be.

1:04:30 – end

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