Off the Media
When it comes to covering the tech industry, Rap Genius is the startup that keeps on giving. The average human can only take so many boring press releases about how a knockoff of Snapchat is going to change the world, you know?
But whenever the Rap Genius guys appear in public or sit for an interview, something bizarre happens. Today, for example, Business Insider broke the news that the annotation site has nabbed $40 million in funding from Ben Gilbert (as well as Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, who is also an investor in BI) and that they’re changing their name to the catch-all Genius.
Secrets Secrets Are No Fun
It’s a pleasant surprise to see Jonah Peretti make the most salient criticism of the New York Times’ recently controversial (and leaked) innovation report. Why is the Times being so hard on its tech and product teams while ignoring the real elephant in the room?
They spend an estimated $644 million combined on delivery and printing costs, plus untold hundreds of millions to be based in the heart of Manhattan. Aren’t these the real, daily business concerns that the newspaper should be looking at more closely?
No matter how hard we try to ignore them, anonymous gossip apps like Secret and Whisper find new and terrifying ways to alter the media landscape.
And now, finally, a grown-up has come along to scold the immature tech types who use these apps to anonymously talk smack on their fellow human beings.
Off the Media
Carl Icahn has launched an information war against eBay’s Board. Not finding traction in going after Scott Cook, Mr. Icahn has shifted his attention to Marc Andreessen, unleashing an onslaught of half-truths and fictions designed to discredit the venture capitalist. This kind of content-driven investment is what Mr. Icahn does.
Off the Media
A few months ago I wrote an article for a website where the standard agreement for writers is a bonus incentive on social shares for the article. This was both usual, and unusual for a lot of reasons.
First, most websites don’t pay writers anything. A good portion of writing online is done for exposure (which a lot of people laugh at but content marketing can be hugely lucrative and I encourage my clients to do it). So that was slightly unusual. What was more standard was the fact that for a site that did pay, the payment was partially contingent on page views (there was a bonus for how many social shares the article got).
Marc Andreessen has the kind of track record that makes you stop and listen when he talks—whatever the subject happens to be. So at Betabeat, we were very interested when Mr. Andreessen began to do some analysis and hypothesizing on online media. Especially since he pointed out many of the same issues I have been discussing in Off The Media for the last two years.
Rachel Haot, the city’s chief digital officer, doesn’t need to worry about her future employment plans. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has hired her to take a similar in his administration. [New York Times]
Bow down: Unless your name is Beyonce, people are done buying your stupid music online. [AllThingsD]
Tomorrow morning, Vine users will start having the option of creating their own URLs utilizing their usernames. [The Next Web]
Even hackers will do anything to bypass pay walls. This time, they reportedly hacked into the Washington Post‘s servers and had access to employee’s usernames and passwords. [Daily Dot]
Both CEO Mark Zuckerberg and board member Marc Andreessen are selling millions of their Facebook shares. [BI]
Digg Reader, which many bloggers would like to kiss on the mouth, is now available as an iPhone app. [TechCrunch]
Three key figures in the technology world were inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame yesterday: storied venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, the late hacktivist Aaron Swartz and open source deity (and foot thing eater) Richard Stallman. [Business Insider]
A young Icelandic man who served as a long-time Wikileaks volunteer was actually a double agent, passing information about Wikileaks onto the FBI in exchange for $5,000. Cheap date. [Wired]
In case you didn’t already transfer your X-rated material over to Tumblr, Google doesn’t want you to make money off of your porny Blogger account. [The Verge]
PayPal has launched an initiative (read: viral marketing scheme) to help tackle payments in space. Makes sense, given how much its cofounder Elon Musk is invested in making it to Mars. [PayPal blog]
New York-based network TV streaming service Aereo is launching in Chicago in September. [Deadline]
The Singularity Isn't Here
Is Marc Andreessen trying to get someone to write a dystopian novel about our constantly connected near future? Because short of total environmental collapse, it’s hard to imagine a world bleaker than what he described today on CNBC. He thinks that one day soon, people will feel “cut off from the world” without their face computers/digital pacifiers.
He told CNBC:
How many times does Peter Thiel have to tell you that unless your startup disrupts death or advances the singularity, he’s just not that impressed?
CNN Money reports that Mr. Thiel took the conference stage with Twitter investor Marc Andreessen earlier this week. And while he’s pretty sure that Twitter will still be around in 10 years, and he thinks the company’s $10 billion valuation is fair, he just can’t get all that excited about it.
He told the crowd: