Recode Daily: The YouTube HQ shooter was apparently upset about YouTube’s new rules

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

After the shooting, YouTube employees were walked out of the building with their hands up.

Plus, Spotify’s unusual IPO led to a $ 27 billion valuation, Apple hires Google’s AI head, and “2001: A Space Odyssey” turns 50.

A woman opened fire Tuesday afternoon at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, Calif., injuring three before taking her own life. The suspected shooter has been identified as 39-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam. Numerous reports and supposed posts by Aghdam indicate that she was disgruntled about recent policy changes made by YouTube, which made it harder for tens of thousands of small video makers — apparently including Aghdam — to make money using YouTube’s ad revenue-sharing program. [Kara Swisher / Recode]

Spotify’s first day of trading as a public company ended up being surprisingly normal — and that’s a win for its “direct listing” strategy. About 30 million shares of Spotify’s 178 million outstanding shares traded hands yesterday, and after a drop of about 11 percent from the opening price of $ 165.90, the stock was trading at around $ 149 by afternoon; at the end of the day, Spotify was considered by Wall Street to be a $ 27 billion company. [Theodore Schleifer and Rani Molla / Recode]

Apple has hired Google’s chief of search and artificial intelligence. John Giannandrea, who helped lead the push to integrate AI throughout Google’s products, will run Apple’s machine learning and AI strategy, and will be one of 16 executives who report directly to CEO Tim Cook. The hire is a major coup for Apple, which many Silicon Valley executives and analysts view as lagging its peers in artificial intelligence. [Jack Nicas and Cade Metz / The New York Times]

Make time for this wide-ranging conversation with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is on a seemingly endless pilgrimage to the nodes of American power — he visited Silicon Valley and Hollywood this week. The prince’s current U.S. visit is mainly a hunting trip for investment, and an opportunity for him to sell his so-called Vision 2030, an elaborate, still mainly unexecuted plan to modernize the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and end its dependence on oil. [Jeffrey Goldberg / The Atlantic]

Here’s an in-depth examination of how Twitter was hijacked by the dark side: The company’s early zeal for free speech ultimately blinded it to safety concerns that continue to plague the platform. And here are some ways Twitter can make itself safer right now.[Austin Carr and Harry McCracken / Fast Company]


Recode Presents …

Fire up your DVR: Recode’s Kara Swisher and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook for the special, “Revolution: Apple Changing the World” — it’s scheduled to premiere this Friday, April 6 at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT on MSNBC.


Top stories from Recode

Facebook is banning hundreds more accounts run by Russian trolls.

This time, Facebook found and booted 270 IRA accounts.

500 Startups, still recovering from scandal, is giving some control to an Abu Dhabi investment firm.

It’s the VC firm’s most meaningful governance change since its CEO resigned from the role last year.

One of Pinterest’s top product execs, Jon Alferness, has left the company after less than a year.

Alferness, who reported directly to CEO Ben Silbermann, just joined Pinterest in August.

Snapchat is rolling out group video chats like Messenger and Houseparty.

It’s you and your 15 closest friends.

Trump keeps bashing Amazon for its Postal Service pact — but he’s overlooking a different controversial deal that gives Chinese merchants an advantage in the U.S.

The reason might rhyme with “Beff Jezos.”

At $ 27 billion, Spotify is the seventh-most-valuable internet company to go public in the U.S.

It’s up there with Google, if you don’t adjust for inflation.

As women in tech gain experience, their pay gap with men gets worse.

On average, women are offered 4 percent less than man for the same job at the same company.

This is cool

50 years later, the world is still catching up with “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The Stanley Kubrick sci-fi classic returns to theaters in May with an “unrestored” 70mm print.

Recode – All

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Full transcript: Lauren Goode on her final Too Embarrassed to Ask

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

We say Goode riddance to our colleague with a countdown of her favorite #TooEmbarrassed moments.

On this episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, co-host Lauren Goode counts down her favorite episodes from the past two years as she bids farewell to her listeners. Goode is leaving to take a job at Wired, but #tooembarrassed will continue with co-host Kara Swisher.

You can read a write-up of the interview here or listen to the whole thing in the audio player above. Below, we’ve posted a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.

If you like this, be sure to subscribe to Too Embarrassed to Ask on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Kara Swisher: Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode.

Lauren Goode: And I’m Lauren Goode, senior tech editor at The Verge.

And you’re listening to Too Embarrassed to Ask, coming to you from the Vox Media podcast network. This is a show where we answer all of your embarrassing questions about consumer tech.

It could be anything at all. Like, “What will Kara Swisher do without me?” No really, what will she do?

So many things. I’ll be just fine. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. We’ll talk about what she means in a second. Send us your questions, find us on Twitter, or tweet them to @Recode, or to myself or to Lauren, with the hashtag #tooembarrassed. We also have an email address, tooembarrassed@Recode.net. Reminder, there are two Rs and two Ss in embarrassed.

And I won’t be checking it.

Well, all right, Lauren.

Good luck, Kara.

Normally I’d scoop everybody on any sort of news, but Lauren keeps … vomiting up information here. But I’ll let you break your own news. So go ahead, since you already started off on such a note.

I’m leaving you.

Yeah, I know.

But really everybody, I am leaving, after more than two years and nearly 120 episodes of this podcast. Is that possible?

Yeah.

I’m leaving Too Embarrassed to Ask.

Where are you going? You’re just leaving? How can I miss you if you won’t go away?

I’m actually just going down the hall. But I’m leaving this podcast. So good-bye. I am, I’m leaving Vox Media. I’m going to Wired.

Uh-huh. And doing what there? That’s a competitor.

It is. I’ll just see myself out now. I’m going to be …

We have security coming right after this. You have to be able to collect your things. We’re having people put things in boxes right now. Then you’ll be gone.

It’s a lot of gadgets.

Yeah, it’s a lot of gadgets. No, you’re not allowed to keep them. Casey Newton’s clearing your desk.

Oh, okay.

We’ll be moving on very quickly. Yeah, security, don’t worry, I can handle her for now. You’re going away. What are you going to write about there? You’re leaving the Vox Media podcast network.

I am. I am.

Who’s going to say ka-ching?

You’ll find somebody.

You have been … let’s just go over it. You’ve been with Recode for forever, right?

I’ve been with …

AllThingsD, too.

AllThingsD.

When did you come? When did you show up?

My first day was December 1st, 2011.

Where did you come from? The Wall Street Journal.

I had been at the Wall Street Journal and I was video producer and a video reporter there.

Remember that show?

I got to know Walt Mossberg. By the way, everybody, I was really early to livestreaming video.

Nobody watched it.

It wasn’t a thing then. We found out everybody was watching everything on demand anyway. The Netflix-ification of society had begun at that point. So everything was … Anyway, I got to know Walt Mossberg through that project, essentially, and Walt used to come on our live show every Thursday to talk about his column. It was really fun. And we used to have these phone conversations. Got to know him really well. Then I think I went to, I was assigned to cover the D Conference at one point.

Yes, you were.

And you were, I mean, I was like, “There’s Kara Swisher.”

You still do that, too.

I think you were like somewhat dismissive. Like, who is this person?

I was nice to you.

And I think it was Walt and Peter who told you at some point.

We should hire you. But we did, we hired you at AllThingsD. What year was that?

That was 2011.

Wow. That’s a longtime relationship we’ve had.

I know. And then we became Recode.

And then we became Recode.

And that was the new year.

And then we sold.

2014. 2013 or 2014?

2013? I don’t remember.

You should remember that was your, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” uber-moment.

I know, but you know what, I don’t care. My career is made already. Don’t worry about anything anymore. I don’t have to remember anything.

Yeah, and then we sold to Vox.

Yeah, then we sold to Vox and you went over to The Verge, because all our consumer reviewers went over there, including Walt too.

That’s correct.

And now you’re going to do Wired. And you’re gonna do similar things there?

Yeah, I’m gonna be senior writer of the Gear section, which is Wired’s long-standing consumer tech section.

So you’re top gadget lady, right?

Yeah, I mean, I think … yes, gadgets for sure, but I think …

It’s not a dismissive word, in my opinion.

It’s not a dismissive word.

Maybe Walt liked the word gadget, I don’t know why.

Well, I think that it can make consumer tech sometimes seem a little bit trivial by using the word.

Sometimes it is.

But sometimes it’s actually the apps and services and things that we use, it’s really this whole idea to be connected.

Would you prefer doodads? How about doodads?

No!

You’re senior doodad editor.

I’m trying to say something that’s really deep and insightful and Kara’s just not gonna let me have that moment. So you know what, follow me on Wired and we’ll talk about it.

Go ahead. Go ahead, go ahead, I’ll let you. You’re gonna do big topics and small. Big and small. Big issues and small. And reviewing? You’re gonna continue to review? Because that was your great strength.

I hope so, continuing video. I’ve had a couple of really fun video series here at Vox Media and I hope to continue making videos and figuring out where video is going and, by the way, if anyone else figures that out first, let me know.

You did great ones at Recode. You did some very fun ones.

We had really fun ones here. Remember we did the Apple Watch one? The rules of etiquette with Apple Watch.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Where I started to show you my vacation photos on Apple Watch and you were like, “You’re never going on vacation again.”

Oh, that was funny! I remember. Oh, that was a good video. We’ve done some choice … what else did we do?

I was gonna say, we did the … you did Uber for Onesies.

Yeah, Uber for Onesies.

We had you appearing on CNBC in a onesie poking fun at the on-demand economy.

I was. I looked good in a onesie, I have to say. Didn’t Mark Bergen do the onesie?

You were still just as intimidating in a onesie.

It was Bergen. We put Kurt Wagner in a onesie.

Casey Newton.

Casey Newton. Were you in a onesie?

And then Shervin who made a cameo.

Oh, my God, in a onesie. Shervin.

In a onesie.

Oh my God.

Yeah, we made that happen.

The things we’ve done, it’s crazy. So you’re gonna be doing that, but you’re still gonna be, like, on the scene.

On the tech scene. Yeah, absolutely.

Right. What do those people at Wired like? Are they nice? I heard they’re not nice.

Oh, really?

Yeah. I’ve heard terrible things about them there.

You’re just saying that. Oh.

They’re awful people. Conde Nast. That means you get to hang out with Anna Wintour? No, they’re very nice, very nice.

Let the shit-talking begin. And let me hang out with Anna Wintour. Anna’s already asked me if I’d like to have lunch.

Not all of them are nice. Yeah, so, that’s my key part. I write for Vanity Fair from time to time, although I haven’t done it in a while. Although I’m still just …

You did. You did, actually.

I go, I appear at their conferences. I have Conde Nast connections.

I will say that Nick Thompson, who’s the relatively new editor in chief at Wired. He’s been there a year.

I’m very pleased they made that appointment.

Yeah, he’s really smart. It’s a really smart group of people and I’m very excited to go work for them.

Tough guy. Yeah. Wired, of course for those who don’t know, is the iconic tech publication that was, you know, it really started off the idea of the tech consumer. Writing about tech as a consumer thing, as a social thing. It was beautiful design and all kinds of things. It’s a Conde Nast publication. So you’ll be online and in the magazine, correct?

That’s the goal.

Okay, good.

Yeah.

Good. Will you have your own column?

I don’t think it’s being defined in that way.

Okay. But, you’re just gonna be writing? But long features too, right?

The senior writer person in this section at Wired has generally done that. It’s not necessarily just about, here’s this thing and here’s what this thing does, but sort of the backstory behind it. Or interesting people or interesting trends.

So events. Like we’ve trained you well. You’ve been onstage.

Oh, I will still be going to events. You know, events are, if you go in with the right mindset and sense of humor, events are a really fun part of the tech industry.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but are you gonna …

It’s kinda wild.

But not go to events. You gonna put on events?

Oh, in events. I’m sorry, I thought you meant coverage of events. I was like, I will still be there. Yeah, I hope to be part of the events team as well. Wired does have events.

I’m gonna have to kill you then. What about podcasts?

Yeah, Kara. I’m gonna be doing it all, Kara.

Oh my God. I’m gonna have to kill you now.

That’s okay. I don’t mind. Everybody, you heard it here. If I suddenly disappear in the next seven days, look for my body in the San Francisco Bay.

I’m excited that you’re doing this.

So, what we’re gonna do here is we’re gonna recap some of Lauren’s favorite episodes and I’m going to be emotional here. You’ve been a wonderful host. I really do enjoy sparring with you and I do, it’s all in love when I say that I hate you. Know that I just miss you.

I’m gonna miss that so much.

I know, but you know what I mean. Like, I like that you … you’re a good foil.

I can’t wait to read the comments after this on our iTunes page. They’ll be like, “Kara drove her away.”

“Lauren’s so nice.” We know, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like, story of my life. Even my mother, like, you know, like … she always takes my friend’s side in a fight. People I’m dating, she’s always like, “Well, mm-hmm.”

See, that’s the worst. You know, it’s so the worst.

It’s fine, it’s fine. So we thought we’d recap some of Lauren’s favorite episodes.

You know what, Kara? Nice doesn’t get scoops.

I know, it’s true. It’s true. Keep down. Stay down. I’m gonna get it tattooed on my ass.

Lauren’s favorite episodes at Too Embarrassed to Ask. Lauren, what was your favorite episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask? Let’s start with you.

There were too many. There were way too many to list, and a lot of times it really did depend on guests, but mostly I enjoyed the episode where you finally admitted that you were obsessed with AirPods after initially calling them ugly and making fun of them.

Three pairs and counting.

Well, how do you have three pairs already?

Because they run out of juice. I have them on all the time. The juice issue is a problem.

I already made Eric Johnson, our producer, find some clip awhile ago of you hating and then professing your love for AirPods, so I’m going to skip that. One of my favorite podcast moments … let’s just play the clip.

All right.

******

Doug Evans: There’s 400 custom parts in here. There’s two motors, there’s 10 printed circuit boards, there’s a scanner, there’s a microprocessor, there’s a wireless chip, wireless antenna, there’s 775 aircraft-grade aluminum, there’s a gear box, there’s latches that support 16,000 pounds of force. So this is a monster of a machine kind of inside this veil of this nice aesthetic.

And then you have to put these packs in and these are packs of products, not juice. My friend is like, “Oh, juice packs.” You don’t just squeeze juice into a glass.

Doug Evans: No, this is fresh-cut produce.

I like it. It’s good.

Lauren Goode: What’s your short 30-second review of it?

I have to say I’m surprised. I thought it was just juice in a bag and you just squeezed it into a glass. For some reason, I just felt that.

Doug Evans: Yeah, you would need a $ 699 device to do that.

Oh, right, so it’s the pressure that you’re paying for.

******

Okay, so that is Kara talking about Juicero and astutely noting, by the way, that it seemed like something you would just squeeze in a glass.

I’ll tell you, in advance knowledge, I saw a Kevin Rose video where he did that. So I should have done that and done a story on it.

Kara, tell us how that story ends.

Oh, Juicero. Well, it’s no longer, you know? Nobody’s buying a $ 699 device that squeezes juice when you can do it just as well with your hand.

Who was it that discovered you could squeeze it?

It was Ellen Huet. Great job. I was aware of it. You know, some of the things you see and you’re like, “Of course,” but she got them good. She got them good. Good for Ellen.

Poor Juicero. You know Doug Evans, who we just heard from, I was gonna say he has resurfaced again. Vice had a report recently about raw water.

Not Vice. That was Nellie Bowles’s report. Nellie wrote the first one.

She wrote about raw water, but then Vice added …

He was in the story. He was in the story and then they went around with him, further making him seem ridiculous. Like a ridiculous figure. But, yeah, it was … he went to raw water, so … who says you can’t get crazier, right? You’d think Juicero would be the top of the crazy parade, but no, he’s marching on the raw water. I don’t know what’s next. Fake skin. I don’t know what. I don’t know.

That was one of my favorite podcasts, hands down. Another favorite episode of mine was at South By Southwest last year, when we were both there live. We were in the Nat Geo space. It was this really cool live podcast and we interviewed Mary Lou Jepsen about her brain-reading app. No, seriously, she’s working on brain-reading technology. Here’s what she had to say about that.

******

You talk about that idea of communicating through thought. How does that happen? Explain what you’re doing with Openwater.

Mary Lou Jepsen: So, Openwater is using LCDs to … it seems like a two-fold approach — make a wearable MRI system and work on telepathy — but it’s the same technology. If I throw you in an MRI machine right now, you as well, I can tell you what words you’re about to say. I can tell you what images are in your head. I can tell you what music you’re thinking of. I can tell if you’re listening to me or not and really get the implications of what I’m saying, because this notion of privacy that we have changes when we can …

See people’s thoughts.

Mary Lou Jepsen: Yes.

Right now you’re saying that you can do that.

Mary Lou Jepsen: And that’s possible with MRI now.

******

Yeah, I liked that. That was a great episode. Mary Lou Jepsen’s a character. She’s worked for Facebook, she works for Google. She actually happened to be a very good friend of Megan’s at MIT. They went to school together. She’s doing all this stuff around screen technology. That was her first thing. At one point, I remember, she told me she wanted to put a screen across the moon and do moon TV. Which would freak everyone out across the planet.

She talked about that during that podcast. And we were all like, “How would you regulate that?”

Yeah, you wouldn’t. Like, I don’t think there’s any implications of a Coca-Cola commercial on the moon. It’s really interesting. She’s a big thinker.

Yeah, she’s a big thinker. It was a really fun podcast, not just because it was with Mary Lou Jepsen, but because of the live audience and the fact that we were in South By Southwest together.

They’re drinking all the time.

Yeah, and it was at noon or something. It was the middle of the day and it was at a bar, so things were getting a little rowdy. We also shared a room together at South By.

Did we?

Yeah, remember?

We shared several rooms together. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because …

We shared a room together and I, at one point, it was like a Sunday afternoon and there was a lull and I went to go take a nap. I’ll never forget this, you came over to my side of the room, you handed me a sleep mask, which I thought was the nicest thing. You were like, “Here, you’re trying to take a nap. Use the sleep mask.” And I said, “Oh, okay, thanks.” And then you promptly got on the phone with your insurance company and made seven phone calls back to back to insurance agents. As though you had given me earplugs, only you hadn’t. And then I was like, “Well, I guess I’m not napping.”

Yeah, there’s no napping at South By Southwest, but I did give you a nice … do you have that … nice little lovely thoughtful moment of mine. Sorry about that. Anyway, next one. I’m a kind person. I didn’t notice how kind I was.

Let’s see, what should we … okay, so it’s hard to say that this is a favorite, because of the weight of the subject matter. I think it was more of our more impactful podcasts was with Niniane Wang and Joelle Emerson who came on the show to talk about sexual harassment.

We wanted to talk about techniques and solutions and things like that.

It was very solutions focused. Niniane had already, at that point, come out in the media with her story about repeated harassment from a VC, so that was out there already. She hadn’t, I think, done a lot of long-form interviews with people, and she came on to tell her story. Joelle is a founder of a firm called Paradigm and they work with a lot of companies. Sort of, address unconscious bias from the ground up. She’s very solutions focused. They’re both very … very interesting conversation. Here’s a quick clip from them.

******

Niniane Wang: The Gloria Steinem Foundation tells me that when there’s a hyper-masculine environment, harassment begins to occur. Whether it’s the military, police force, prison, if something is overwhelmingly male, then this type of harassment will occur. And we can do medium-term work to get rid of the bad actors and put processes in place to remove them, but the truly long-term fix is to create more diversity and that, that will create systematic change that helps men understand women more if they are working with them every day. And that will naturally help them make better decisions to change the system to remove harassment.

Okay, hyper-masculine. I agree with that. Silicon Valley, is that like hyper-masculine, because the men here are not as … they’re not like … she was talking about police and things like that. It’s definitely a hyper-male environment here in Silicon Valley. That was really important.

It’s hyper-male and I think it’s worth noting too, whether it’s beta or alpha, there can be a toxicity that arises from any type of insular culture.

Absolutely. It’s hyper-juvenile male, is what it is.

******

Mm-hmm. It can be.

That’s to me what it is. It’s not quite as menacing as she was talking about, but it’s the same thing. It’s the same result. Whenever it’s the same result, and that was what was critically important with that one in talking about solutions and what to do about it.

Right. Incidentally, this was also where I admitted that maybe sometimes I look up to Kara a little bit.

Look down, because I’m so short.

If you enter an organization as a young person and you don’t see a woman who’s moved up the ranks, who’s maintained a successful career with someone … I can look up to Kara, she’s right here next to me, right? She’s more experienced than me. But for people that enter a work organization that are facing challenges that don’t have that, it can be incredibly discouraging.

I was trying to get you to look down at me.

I did say “look down on me.” Look at me. I’m so funny I already know my jokes.

Now, we did a lot of podcasts about Uber. Johana Bhuiyan came on a couple of times and Mike Isaac from the New York Times that used to be working at AllThingsD and Recode.

Yeah, but Uber’s not my favorite, so they’re not making the list.

Oh, they aren’t?

No, I mean, you know what? Uber was a really important topic that we covered multiple times throughout this year and I’m really glad that we had the people on that we did, but I can’t say any one of those podcasts stood out to me as “this is my favorite” because …

They were the toxic gift that keeps on giving. Do you know what I mean? The desiccated, rotting gift that keeps on giving.

Is it still a gift at that point?

Yes, it is. Today I wrote a story about what was going on there and they’ve had some trouble this week. Although I do like the new CEO. He’s coming to Code. He’s trying. But, honestly, at one point we were at a party and he said, “Thanks for getting me my job, but I hate you.” You know what I mean?

How did you get him his job?

He’s was talking over at Reuters. We did a bunch of stories. You know, we did the one about the India rape thing. Mike did a great issue about regulatory issues. The Information; Amir Efrati did great stories about the escort thing. It all ended up where it ended up, I think the media played a great role in the removal of Travis Kalanick.

Speaking of fellow journalists, we’ve had a lot of journalists on the Too Embarrassed podcasts over the past couple of years. They’re too many to name them all, but Johanna Curr and Jason from Recode came on. Peter Kafka came on once. He and I talked about streaming media services for a full hour, it was quite fun. Dan Seifert from the Verge, Ina Fried from Axios, Joanna Stern from the Wall Street Journal, Casey Newton and Dieter Bohn from The Verge.

Many others, but a few of my favorite episodes hands down were when I spoke with Ray Maker of DC Rainmaker fame about werewolves. Brian Stelter came on from CNN to talk about the fake news phenomena. Jackie Chang from Wirecutter, she came on to talk about tech products to buy when you’re on a budget and it was fantastic. She’s come in a couple of times and it was really fantastic, but the story with Ray Maker …

All right, tell me one.

You weren’t there for that one.

No, I wasn’t, so tell me.

Of course it’s on my favorite list.

Everybody knows Ray Maker, what a name.

One of the first things …

“I’m Ray Maker.”

He’s DC Rainmaker.

All right. If you say so.

By the way, Outside magazine just did a great profile of Ray.

All right, I’ll read it.

Yeah, go check it out.

What did you like about it?

What I liked about it, aside from the fact that you weren’t there, was that we just talked about wearables for an hour and a half.

Oh my God, you must have been in heaven.

I said at the start of this, If Kara was here, I would not actually be having this conversation right now.

No, you can’t, because they’re unwearables.

Because she calls them unwearables.

Are you wearing any? You use to have like 90. What’s that one?

Yes, I’m wearing one. It’s the new Fitbit.

Oh, please. Whatever. Okay.

This is not out yet.

Okay, thank you.

By the time of this podcast, it will be.

It’s huge. It’s enormous still.

It’s not that big.

It’s big. C’mon, it’s like a rock on your … It’s like, “Here, I’m wearing this giant …” It looks like you had some problems with the law and they had to keep track of you. That’s what it looks like.

I’ve never heard that before. No one has ever said wearables look like …

I know, but it should be on your ankle. I think it’s a better fit on your ankle. Anyway, you’ve had a lot of them and let me just say you’ve gotten rid of them. I’m 100 percent correct that these wearables are still not where they need to be.

I would agree with you that they are not where they need to be. That said, I had a very fun conversation with Ray about it because he tests all of the latest fitness packs.

You can keep hoping. Hoping and dreaming.

And we talked about …

That’s what keeps our America great.

All right, all right. Brian Stelter on fake news.

Yeah, Brian’s great.

Let’s play a quick clip from that.

******

Brian Stelter: There wasn’t as much awareness of that before election day as there was after election day. I would say certainly thanks to the efforts of Craig Silverman at BuzzFeed and the others in the fall, in the September/October range, there was certainly a heightened awareness of these fake, totally made up sites. And now, of course, as you’ve said, the term has been sort of retired. It’s been exploited, it’s been misused by people to mean anything I don’t like, anything I don’t agree with is fake news.

Yeah, President Trump uses it.

Brian Stelter: The president has now kind of taken over the term. I think Margaret Sullivan at the Washington Post is right, we shouldn’t be using the term “fake news” so much anymore. We should let that one go and use more specific language like, “These fictional sites that are trying to make money are creating hoaxes and trying to fool people.” So I think we can be more descriptive, but the problem is still very real and very there.

******

Kara, what do you think? Do you think people are being more careful about using the term “fake news” or is it just firmly embedded in our vernacular?

No, it’s one of these words that’s just gotten away. Trump has just ruined it. You know what I mean? It’s like, everything’s fake news? It’s not. We gotta have another … just “fake” is fine. It’s what we should focus on, that it’s fake. It’s an interesting issue. I think the word’s been made impossible to use anymore by Trump, by calling everything “fake news.” And everyone says it. My kids say it all the time. My dogs say it. It’s just things that aren’t accurate, inaccurate is the word I’d like to use.

The idea that we shouldn’t use the phrase in general because it devalues the actual news, do you think that’s true?

It does. Yeah, I just think that Brian was really smart on this and the idea is, again, what these platforms have allowed to happen is just irresponsible on every level.

Yeah, even more so, we taped that podcast, it had to have been last year, it was definitely 2017, and since then, you know for a while, we would talk about, “What is the responsibility of the platforms and are they just still platforms?” And just over time it’s become increasingly apparent that they are more than platforms and that they’re adopting the rules of media companies.

100 percent. It was a really smart one.

It was and then Jackie Chang, we talked to her about what phone to buy when you’re on a budget, because last year we saw the announcement of $ 1,000 flagship smartphones, and that doesn’t work for everybody. And then in addition to talking about what phone you should buy on a budget, we talked about everything. We talked about laptops, I think we talked about tablets. We may have even touched on e-readers. It was a very good conversation.

She’s just super smart. The budget one was interesting. Of course, I’m very wealthy, so I can buy the expensive phone.

Oh, are you? We didn’t know that. We didn’t know. You haven’t mentioned it 75 times in the podcast before. Oh, now it’s my turn to be snarky, Kara.

The phone is my life, I’m going to spend money on it. Other people buy fine wines, other people buy nice cars. I have a Ford Fiesta. I’m gonna have a nice phone, right?

Are you going to buy me a fine wine when I leave?

Oh, do you like wine?

I like it a little bit.

No, I’m not buying you wine. I’m not buying you a gift at all. Do I have to? You left. You should buy me a gift. We’ll have a party. We’ll have a Lauren Goode good riddance party.

Good with an E riddance. Lauren Goode riddance.

Good riddance. Lauren Goode riddance party. I want to continue the good riddance tour in a moment. You have the perfect name for that. But we’re going to take a quick break for a word from our sponsors. Lauren, make it a good one.

Hashtag you’ll miss me.

Nope. No.

Hashtag money.

No, that wasn’t a good one. C’mon! Say the hashtag.

Hashtag money!

We’re doing so well financially. I just had a meeting with out podcast money people.

Uh huh. That’s all gonna go down the tubes once I leave.

No, no, because I’m the key man. That’s the situation going on. I’m making all the dough. I need a good hashtag money. C’mon.

Hashtag money.

[ad]

We’re back with Lauren Goode, who’s on her Goode Riddance Tour as she prepares to leave Vox Media and Kara Swisher and head over to Wired.

Sadness.

Really, you’ve been a part of our lives. You’re like a … barnacle, in a lot of ways.

I always wanted to be underwater.

But we’re indulging her by going through some of her favorite moments from this podcast over the past two years, which we’ve been doing this two years. Too Embarrassed to Ask. It was Lauren’s idea and it’s been a lovely thing. What’s the next one?

You gave me credit for an idea. That is what people should do. That’s really nice.

I’m good that way.

Thanks for doing that.

I don’t suck up ideas, I’m not a white guy. C’mon, let’s go. The white lady. Let’s go.

This is one of my favorite podcasts, mostly because Louie Swisher made another guest appearance. Your son. Wait, is he going to take over as co-host when I’m gone?

Yes. Yes, he is, because he does rather well. The ratings go up when Louie Swisher’s around.

He should. He probably should. People clamor for Louie.

I’ve got a second one. I’ve got an heir and a spare. Alex on Fortnite, I’m trying to convince him, he’s much shyer than his brother. But Alex is an obsessive Fortnite user.

Oh, that would be great.

I know, but he talks my friggin’ ear off about it. I’m like, can we just record you talking about stupid Fortnite? So, heir and a spare.

That’s actually nice. That’s great. Bring him on. Well, this one is also my favorite podcast. Not just because Louie Swisher was on the show, but it’s because it’s when Kara finally admitted that she has a phone problem. This was from a recent podcast we did with the author Catherine Price on tech addiction.

******

This is about your phone. I think you might have a problem and you need some help. Now, I’ve thought about what I would say to you at this moment, but I do think you need help and it’s help I can’t give you. Otherwise, I don’t think this podcast relationship can move forward. So, either you need to consciously uncouple from your phone or I’m going to have to leave you on this podcast, and eventually you’re just going to be stuck with some bespectacled guy named Rob or Will or Alex, who speaks in thoughtful tones and is going to want to turn this podcast into a 90-minute discussion about obscure films.

I’m sorry, were you talking? I was looking at my phone. I love my phone, Lauren, and I’ll be honest with you …

This is going to be a long, long road.

I’ve got to tell you, I love my phone more than you. I’m sorry to give you that piece of information, but it’s true.

Kara, that is one of the meanest things. You know what?

Why is it mean?

Friends, family, anybody who’s listening to this podcast …

The phone is fantastic. Why would you be mad at being left by someone who’s …

Leave remarks in the comments section of iTunes if you have any thoughts and feelings on what Kara Swisher just said and I’m just going to leave it at that.

******

So you said you love your phone more than me and I warned you, I warned you that I was leaving you.

Yes. Yeah, that continues to be the case. I still love my phone more than you.

And I am leaving you.

I know. That’s okay, that’s okay. I’m good. I still have my phone, so what’s the problem? There’s no problem.

We both made commitments during that podcast to try different things. This was after your fancy vacation to Mexico.

I didn’t do any of them. What were they?

You said that you were not gonna use your phone in the elevator.

Oh, I don’t do that. I already wasn’t doing that. I find that rude.

And then I said that when I went on a vacation the following week, that I was not going to pick up my phone first thing and look at it.

And did you do that?

Nope. I looked at it.

See? Both of us. We’re a disappointment to each other. Do you think I’m going to give up my phone for you or I like you more?

You know, it wasn’t that I expected you to give it up, it wasn’t about sacrificing something you love. It was just about prioritizing differently.

Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Yeah, whatever. But the thing is, the fact of the matter is I love my phone more than you and I will continue to do so long after you leave.

You know, this really could have worked out if we had gone to podcast therapy.

I’m sure if I put with Esther Perel … I just did the Esther Perel podcast. We were on couples.

You did? Really?

Yeah. Esther Perel and I did a great podcast from, but you weren’t there, from South By Southwest. It’s blowing up on the internet today.

I’m gonna have to listen to it.

Because she took apart the Trump marriage for me and then talked about stroking phones.

Oh, really?

Mm-hmm. She’s my new partner. She has a French accent. I got her to … oh no, she’s from Brussels; she’s Belgian. She was talking about, I said take apart the Trump marriage and she goes, “Oh, I could not do this. I do not know them. Eh, okay!” And then she did it. And she had a really great, I have to say …

What did she say about?

She said Melania is in a story she didn’t want to be in and that Trump is a narcissist. So, no hope there.

You know, I do love Esther, but I don’t think you need any degrees in psychology to point out narcissism in that case.

Yeah, I know. I got it. I got it. She had some very … you just listen to it. It’s very good.

I’m gonna listen to it. Yeah, I’m gonna listen to it on my way home.

All right, No. 3.

While I’m crying in my car on my way home from our final podcast.

No. 3, it’s a little bit of a sleeper hit, but one of my favorite episodes was our podcast about podcasts. Once a year we went really meta and we would ask people to send in their favorite podcasts and we would go through our own list of favorite podcasts and it was surprisingly popular. People just love talking about podcasts when they’re not listening to them. Kara, what’s your favorite right now?

Recode Decode.

You’ve got a lot of great interviews lately.

I have! Recode Decode rocks! Scaramuccci, c’mon. Chris Hughes talking about a very serious subject, universal basic income. I talking about sex with Christiane Amanpour. C’mon, couldn’t get better than that. Who else have I done recently? Esther Perel obviously, who’s fantastic. Just everybody seems to want to talk on that Recode Decode. It’s good. We’ve got a lot more that are coming up that are great.

If you were to say one, aside from Recode Decode or Too Embarrassed to Ask, what would it be?

Peter Kafka’s Recode Media. No, I like a lot of podcasts. I like Vox Explained. I like The Daily, I love Michael Barbaro. We’ve got a whole man-crush going on with each other. I really like him. I think it’s really well done. And Vox Explained is quite good, too. It’s new.

It’s very good, yep.

So I’ve just started listening to it. One’s in the morning, one’s in the afternoon, so it works out rather well. And they’re short so — shorter — and they’re nice, they’re packed full of goodness. I listen to the history one. Don’t know much about history. One of the history ones, I can’t remember. I have one on the history of Rome. I’m obsessed with the history of ancient Rome. I don’t know. I like the Pod Save America guys sometimes. They get a little bro-y for me.

You’ve interviewed them too, haven’t you?

Yes, I have. They’ve been on Recode Decode. They get a little bro-y, but I like the bro-y. They’re good bros.

What’s a podcast bro called? It’s just like a pod-bro?

A po?

A pro?

A pro? I don’t know.

A brocast.

Just the same as they are everywhere else, brocast. Something like that, yeah. All right, we’re gettin’ down to it. No. 2.

No. 2. Honestly, this is really my favorite Too Embarrassed to Ask episode of all time. Walt Mossberg was retiring last year in the summer of 2017, so we planned a little surprise for him. We asked him to come on the podcast one last time. It was down at Code Conference in Southern California and we made it seem like it was just going to be like this standard thing, and then behind the scenes, Kara and I were working to get all of tech’s top executives to send in their Too Embarrassed questions to him. Here’s the clip.

******

Okay, this one is from Bill in Redmond, Washington.

Bill: Hey, Walt, this is Bill. What’s your advice on staying up to date on all the changes once your column is no longer coming out?

Walt Mossberg: Oh, Bill in Redmond. I know how tough it can be when you live so distant from the epicenter of tech. And you’ve never had any experience! Ah, Bill Gates, just … you know what, just scroll through Twitter. And take your chances on what’s fake and what’s not.

All right, fantastic answer!

Walt Mossberg: That’s basically my method.

All right.

Lauren Goode: Walt, if you ever start sharing things that look to be overtly fake, I’ll just DM you and let you know, okay?

Walt Mossberg: No, just message Bill. Say, “Bill, here’s a good one.”

Lauren Goode: I guess we have a lot of listeners in Redmond, Washington, because this one is from a long-time fan named Steve.

Steve: Walt, this is Steven from Redmond. Just a quick question about your review of Outlook ’97. You called it “a great idea poorly executed.” And you said, “The interface was puzzling and that people would be confused by all this dense and daunting interface. It’s cluttered, complicated. Wordy, complex forms and dialogues. But don’t worry, Microsoft’ll get it right by the third version.” Is that all you had to say, or was there anything you wanted to add to that? Oh, and go Yankees!

******

Honestly, there were so many good clips from that. You know, Phil Schuler, Bill Gates, Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg, Steven Sinofsky, Jack Dorsey sent in a question, it was really great. But the best part of it, they had sent in very thoughtful questions, some of them did, but the best part of it was really hearing Walt’s reaction, because he was so surprised. You can’t see that through the podcast, but his face was so great.

That laugh; I can’t do his laugh. That Walt cackle.

Yeah, it was so great. It’s like a Bezos-like laugh.

He’s a cackler, really.

It’s a ha-ha-ha. Let’s do our Walt laughs.

I can’t do it. That’s good, that’s good.

He was so fun.

He’s a great guy. Lauren, he’s been such a great mentor to me and you and he deserves all the kudos.

He really does.

He does. He’s a good man.

I really, really am going to miss you both. Immensely.

Well, he’s gone. He left. Left us far behind.

You know, Walt’s retirement is like the furthest thing from retirement. He’s so busy.

He is busy.

He’s got so many great things going on.

He’s in a cigar store. But he’s left us, Lauren, let’s be honest.

I know, and now I’m leaving you, but honestly I am so immensely grateful to everything I’ve learned. I’ve learned so many reporting tips and tricks from you guys, but also just learned a lot about the industry. You know, it’s funny, a lot of what it comes down to in this crazy news business is who you get to work with in newsrooms.

Yep. It’s true. Oh my God, you’re going all soppy. Enough about me, what do you think of me?

What do I think of you? What about me? What about me?

What do you like about me most?

Let’s talk about me now. Let’s talk about me.

This is true. Building teams. They always say there is no me in team, but there actually is me in team. I hate when people say that, ’cause it’s like, yeah, it’s right there, an E and an M.

I think there’s no I in team. That’s the phrase.

Yeah, whatever. Teams are important.

What are you gonna do without me?

Oh, you know, I’ll find someone else. I always find someone else. Just think, literally, I got my kids, I got my dogs, Lauren. I got Eric! I’ve got Eric. Will you send Eric, please?

There’s no me in team! There’s no me in team! There is me in team. Wait, I was getting there, because we still have to get to my No. 1 favorite podcast of all time.

Okay, No. 1.

It was just all of ’em.

Oh, Lauren. So sentimental.

Yeah, all of my podcasts with Kara Swisher.

Have I not taught you to be snarky and mean? I feel like I’ve failed.

You are such a softy. I’m gonna go back to them and say … You know, people for years to come are gonna ask me, “What was it like working with Kara Swisher when she was not hiding out at events at Yahoo?” And I’m going to say, “She was a softy.”

Oh, God, please don’t do that.

All right, I’m not gonna.

I’ve worked all these years to frighten and scare people.

Oh, I’m gonna have so many good stories.

Yeah. All right. You promise?

I promise.

All right, Lauren, you’re not going far. Wired is located here in San Francisco, so you may continue to come to our events.

Thank you. I would love to.

And also, my parties perhaps from time to time. Every other one.

Every other one? I feel so pleased.

Let me just say, Lauren is an amazing journalist. She does a lot of reviews and she’s known for reviews and some of the questionable video things she’s done.

Questionable.

But I have to say she’s a great reporter. She’s a dogged reporter. We had hoped she would stay at Recode. She’d come back to Recode, we asked her to be an editor, I will reveal that. We wanted her to do it, but she really … her best stuff is writing and reporting on tech and what it means. I think that’s the great part. There’s not a lot of great people doing this, there just aren’t. I think Wired will be much improved with you there.

Thank you very much. That’s like the nicest thing you’ve said sincerely.

You know that’s all you’re getting.

I wanna give a special shout out to Eric Johnson who is the … I was going to say the voice behind the microphone, but actually he doesn’t chime in all that much. He’s a producer but he’s … Yeah, yeah.

Oh he’s coming on when you’re gone. He’s gonna become the guest host.

Eric Johnson: Get out of the way.

Okay, sorry guys, my chair has gone flying across the room here.

Yeah, he’s coming on.

No, Eric Johnson has been a fantastic person, friend. We’ve known each other since, well, we both went to Stanford, but we didn’t go at the same time. We have worked together since the AllThingsD days. We went to E3 together. We were in E3 and we stayed in that bizarre hotel that was like on the total other side of LA. And anyway, Eric has been a fantastic reporter and now a fantastic podcast producer and all around wonderful human being. So thank you so much for everything you’ve done. It’s been a real pleasure working with you.

Well, Lauren, security’s here to take you away.

Okay, here’s my badge.

Here’s your badge.

And I’ll really miss all of you. I just wanna say thank you to everybody who’s listened.

Oh, the audience, right.

Yes, of course! Who’s gonna listen to you reading mattress ads?

I’m just saying, who’s gonna read the comments, ’cause I don’t. I’ve gotta find someone.

Yeah, who’s gonna read all the emails? Guys, if you send an email to TooEmbarrassed@Recode.net, there’s a chance Kara’s not gonna get back to you. It was me responding all those times.

There’s a chance? A 100 percent chance of rain. C’mon.

You’re probably better off tweeting at her. And I know Eric will also be checking the inbox.

Thank God for Eric.

And I really, really thank all of you for being on this Too Embarrassed journey with me.

Oh, it’s a journey. What should we call it? Should we retire Too Embarrassed?

Goode Riddance. Putting my microphone down now.

All right, this has been another great episode with Lauren Goode. Lauren may be leaving us, but the show will go on because why not.

Recode – All

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As women in tech gain experience, their pay gap with men gets worse

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

On average, women are offered 4 percent less than men for the same job at the same company.

The pay disparity between women and men is often framed as a difference in experience. But women actually miss out on pay as they gain experience, according to new data from tech job platform Hired.

Within the first two years of working in a tech job, women in the U.S. ask for and receive 98 percent of what their male counterparts make in the same job at the same company, according to the report.

Over time, that disparity grows.

On average, women with seven to 10 years of experience, for example, ask for about 90 cents on the dollar and are offered slightly more — 93 cents for every dollar a man is offered. Women with 13 to 14 years of experience ask for 94 cents for every dollar and receive just 92 cents.

There are a number of reasons for this gap beyond simply asking for less and in turn receiving less. Entry-level jobs usually have more clear-cut salary data, so men and women alike know what a specific position is worth. As job candidates advance in their careers, data on a position’s salary becomes spottier, and raises and promotions are not dealt out equally between men and women.

Exacerbating this is the fact that salary requests tend to be based on current salary. That means that if, say, a woman doesn’t receive the same promotions and raises as her male counterparts, she will ask for less than men in each subsequent position, compounding the salary disparity over time.

Additionally, as women get older, they’re also more likely to have children, which is also linked to lower salaries.

The situation is worse for women of color or those who identify as LGBTQ.

Black and Latina women in tech make 90 cents for every dollar a white man makes. That’s a marked improvement over last year but the gulf is still substantial.

Overall, the study found that, in the U.S., men are offered higher salaries than women for the same position 63 percent of the time. It also found that companies offer women 4 percent less than men for the same role, on average. This is basically the same as last year’s findings.

Salary data reflects base pay only and is drawn from a sample of 420,000 interview requests and job offers among 10,000 participating companies and about 98,000 job candidates. Demographics data is self-reported. Hired job seekers set a preferred salary, and companies have to include compensation information for every interview request.

Recode – All

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Four people have been shot at YouTube HQ in Silicon Valley

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The San Bruno facility is separate from the Google campus further south.

Four people have suffered gunshot wounds following a shooting at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, Calif., according to authorities. One of those people is believed by police to be the suspect, who has been killed.

San Bruno police chief Ed Barberini said at a news conference that officers encountered three victims who are “being treated for injuries that are treatable.” Two of the victims had fled into a nearby business, the police later said.

The suspected shooter, a female, suffered a fatal wound that Barberini said “may have been self-inflicted.”

Barberini said police arrived to the scene after 911 calls shortly after 12:45 pm PT and then “immediately began a search for a possible shooter or suspect.” He described the scene on arrival as “chaotic” and said that the building was eventually evacuated.

Stanford University Medical Center spokesperson Lisa Kim told Recode that they are expecting four to five patients to arrive shortly but that she did not have any news on their conditions. Update: Kim now says her information was incorrect and that no patients were treated at her hospital.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he was briefed on the shooting.

In a note to staff obtained by Recode, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote: “Pls stay secure as police clear building and pls follow police instructions to safety. We have full team here to get you to safety.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told his employees: “I know you are in shock right now” and called the incident an “unimaginable tragedy.”

Previously:We are responding to an active shooter. Please stay away from Cherry Ave & Bay Hill Drive,” San Bruno police tweeted.

Google, which owns YouTube, tweeted that it is “coordinating with authorities and will provide official information here from Google and YouTube as it becomes available.

But sources close to the situation said that several people had been shot and that the shooter has been shot, too. It is unclear how seriously anyone has been injured.

Employees at the scene are also reporting the shooting and are trying to protect themselves there. Photos posted to Twitter show YouTube employees being led out of the building with their hands up. There are helicopters on the scene, as well as police SWAT teams.

The YouTube building is in a busy area of San Bruno, which is near the San Francisco airport. It is run in a separate location from the campus of Google in Mountain View, which is further south. The huge video platform is a unit of the search giant, which, in turn, is part of Alphabet.

Unlike the more college campus-like setting of Google, YouTube is a building right on the street, and its main lobby is relatively accessible — there is security, of course, but it is not noticeably present — in comparison to other tech firms. The site often gets many fans, who want to visit the popular YouTube.

Recode – All

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At $27 billion, Spotify is the seventh-most-valuable internet company to go public in the U.S.

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

It’s up there with Google, if you don’t adjust for inflation.

Spotify’s public offering is not only notable because of its uncommon choice to list its shares directly on the stock market. The stock, which began trading today, also ranks among the most valuable internet companies to list in the U.S.

Its closing market value today was about $ 27 billion, according to Dealogic, putting it ahead of Twitter and Groupon, but behind Alibaba, Facebook, Snap and Google following their first trading days. That’s despite a stock price decline of about 11 percent today.

Spotify is also the most valuable tech IPO since Snap went public last year, closing its first day at nearly $ 29 billion. Spotify had the 25th-biggest first-day closing market cap out of companies in all sectors, according to Dealogic’s data, which goes back to 1995 and is not adjusted for inflation.


Recode – All

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Trump keeps bashing Amazon for its Postal Service pact — but he’s overlooking a different controversial deal that gives Chinese merchants an advantage in the U.S.

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (r) speaks with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald Trump.

The reason might rhyme with “Beff Jezos.”

Another day, another tweet by President Donald Trump aimed at Amazon and its delivery deal with the United States Postal Service. Amazon’s stock is down 9 percent in the week since a report from Axios about Trump’s obsession with Amazon kicked off a series of tweets by the president.

But while Trump continues to harp on this relationship — with questionable claims that we’ll get to in a bit — he continues to overlook a different delivery partnership that can put U.S. merchants at a disadvantage right here in their own country: It’s called ePacket.

The program, designed to boost cross-border trade in the age of online commerce, allows merchants in countries including China to ship small, lightweight goods to the U.S. at very low rates in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service. These sellers also get other perks like delivery tracking at no extra cost.

The program has been a boon to these Chinese businesses as well as the online shopping marketplaces where they hawk their wares, like Wish, eBay and, to a lesser extent, Amazon.

But it has rankled U.S. merchants who have found themselves sometimes paying higher rates to ship items to customers right here in their own country than Chinese merchants are paying to send goods to shoppers on the other side of the globe.

So why is Trump obsessed about one delivery partnership that he says is bad for the U.S. but not the other? One could reasonably speculate it has something to do with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his ownership of one of Trump’s least-favorite media outlets: The Washington Post.

So about that Amazon deal. By law, the Postal Service is not permitted to lose money on delivery deals like Amazon’s. And the regulator who oversees the USPS has determined each year that it does not.

But a separate 2017 study by Citi analysts suggested that the commission that oversees the USPS may be using an outdated method to account for costs and that fees on each Amazon delivery would need to be $ 1.41 higher in 2018 to make the USPS whole.

That one report has given Trump all he needs to pounce. What it’ll take to get him to turn his attention to the ePacket deal instead is anyone’s guess.

Update: Maybe just a tweet from his 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale?

Recode – All

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500 Startups, still recovering from scandal, is giving some control to an Abu Dhabi investment firm

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500 Startups CEO Christine Tsai

It’s the VC firm’s most meaningful governance change since its CEO resigned from the role last year.

The accelerator program 500 Startups was roiled by drama last year after the ouster of its CEO, Dave McClure, under allegations of sexual harassment.

Now 500 Startups is making its most meaningful governance change since McClure resigned from the role last year. In an unusual deal, the firm said it would sell some equity in its parent company, called Mothership, to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group, which will now help manage 500 Startups operations alongside McClure’s successor, Christine Tsai.

Deal terms weren’t disclosed beyond the investment being “significant.” Another sign that it’s not small: ADFG is taking one of the two seats on the board — this is the first time 500 Startups is accepting outside capital into its parent company, it said.

500 Startups does, of course, have investors — or limited partners — in the individual funds that it runs. Those limited partners essentially “buy” an ownership stake in a fund. This is a rare instance in which a limited partner is “buying” a stake in the fund’s parent company, which in this case includes not just the individual funds but also non-deal programming like strategic partnerships and investor education courses.

500 is not a typical venture capital firm. It has a staff of about 100, far bigger than most VC firms, in part to oversee its expansive network of “micro-funds” that invest in specific regions.

ADFG is the latest big-money foreign investor to try and increase its footprint in Silicon Valley startups. Sovereign wealth funds like Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala and Singapore’s Temasek have recently opened offices in San Francisco to help their countries gain better access to young private companies. ADFG hasn’t done as many U.S. tech deals, but has more than $ 6 billion under management.

ADFG is now expected to serve as a large investor in future 500 Startups funds — which should make the eight-year-old accelerator more durable. The accelerator has long thought about taking on cash from an outside investor into its parent company, Tsai told Recode, in order to more aggressively scale its programming.

Tsai said the decision to take on ADFG’s investment was unrelated to the fallout from McClure’s ouster. She said she had been speaking with strategic investors like ADFG about a deal since before the sexual harassment scandal hit the headlines. And she claimed that limited partners remained excited about 500 Startups, and that the deal was not motivated by a need for replacement cash.

“It’s not something that’s a reaction to Dave per se or anything like that,” Tsai said. “We’ve had a lot of support from our LPs.”

Recode – All

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Tesla’s latest Autopilot crash is just one of many problems it is now dealing with

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A fatal crash, production problems and now a recall.

Tesla is starting the second quarter in a defensive crouch:

  • Last week, the company revealed that Autopilot, its semi autonomous feature, was engaged during a recent fatal crash in California — its second confirmed Autopilot-related fatality in the U.S.
  • Tesla is struggling to meet its production goals for the Model 3, its first-ever mass-market car. Today, CEO Elon Musk reportedly said the company is producing 2,000 Model 3s a week — 500 short of his goal, which has been adjusted twice.
  • Last week, Tesla voluntarily recalled 123,000 of its Model S luxury sedans to fix a power-steering issue. That is a lot of cars — close to half of all the vehicles the company has produced.
  • Tesla stock is down about 36 percent since its September 2017 peak.

By the company’s own admission, this is a critical time for Tesla. The electric vehicle movement the company arguably popularized is seeing momentum from new and existing players, while self-driving competitors like Alphabet’s Waymo strike deals with automakers to develop vehicles that could rival Tesla’s own offerings. As both an automaker and a self-driving tech company, Tesla still has a lot to prove.

The crash

It’s not yet known whether Autopilot was at fault for 38-year-old Tesla driver Walter Huang’s death, but the simple fact that it was involved has put Tesla’s already fraught future — as well as the self-driving industry — at risk.

On March 23, Huang crashed his Model X into a median on a California highway while the SUV was operating in Autopilot mode. Tesla recovered the logs from the vehicle, and upon analyzing them said that the driver had received “several visual and one audible” cue to take back control of the car.

“The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken,” the company wrote in a blog post.

This is the second U.S. crash of a Tesla confirmed to be operating Autopilot that has led to a fatality. The first was in Williston, Fla., in May 2016.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is also investigating the March 23 crash, found that the first Autopilot-related fatality in 2016 was in part a result of the driver overrelying on Tesla’s semiautonomous software, but that Autopilot operated the way it was supposed to.

The NTSB’s investigation into this crash is ongoing, but the agency said that it was “unhappy” that Tesla revealed the details of the investigation to the public. The NTSB is also looking into reports that the driver previously complained about the performance of the Autopilot software.

Relatives of Huang said that he took his Tesla to the dealership because the software caused the car to swerve toward the highway barrier that his vehicle ultimately crashed into.

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on the NTSB’s comments but said they found no record of Huang bringing the vehicle into a dealership to service its Autopilot software.

“We’ve been doing a thorough search of our service records and we cannot find anything suggesting that the customer ever complained to Tesla about the performance of Autopilot,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement. “There was a concern raised once about navigation not working correctly, but Autopilot’s performance is unrelated to navigation.”

The fallout

The tragic death comes as both the industry and Tesla brace for the fallout from a recent fatality that involved an Uber-operated semi-autonomous vehicle in Tempe, Ariz.

The NTSB, along with local police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is also investigating the Uber crash, which resulted in the death of 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg.

Both crashes hit at a larger question many in the industry have: Is semi-autonomous technology safe?

With Uber and Tesla being two of the most prominent brands in the auto and tech industry working on some version of self-driving, consumer trust in the new technology could take a hit.

When it launched Autopilot, Tesla set the benchmark for the most advanced adaptive cruise control available in consumer vehicles. That technology has received multiple updates, and Musk has said he expects the second generation of the software to be capable of a high level of self-driving in about two years.

However, as it exists today, Autopilot is not intended to operate in all circumstances, and in fact is limited to highway driving. In other words, drivers need to be alert and ready to take over at all times — which creates an odd situation that is now clearly prone to failure.

That was also the case in Uber’s crash: The system relies on a trained operator to take over when the technology doesn’t work, though there are some important distinctions that need to be made between the two. For instance, Uber’s technology, which is still in development, is intended to operate on local roads with variables including pedestrians. Tesla’s Autopilot is only supposed to ease the highway-driving task.

Uber’s vehicles, however, are not available to the wider public, and are not being sold direct to consumers. Tesla, which says its technology is also still in beta, is putting its technology in the hands of consumers. Still, if either of the companies’ semiautonomous software is found to be at fault, there could be a resounding impact on consumer trust around self-driving.

“The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe,” Tesla wrote in a blog post. “There are about 1.25 million automotive deaths worldwide. If the current safety level of a Tesla vehicle were to be applied, it would mean about 900,000 lives saved per year.”

Production woes

Tesla’s voluntary recall of 123,000 Model S cars punctuated its ongoing struggles with meeting production goals of its mass-market vehicle, the Model 3.

The Model 3 is a significant barometer by which investors and the industry are measuring Tesla’s capability as an automaker. Can Tesla make the shift away from being just a luxury player to a mass-market carmaker at scale?

By Musk’s own admission, the early years of Tesla — from the Roadster to the Model X — were in service of laying the groundwork for building and selling a mass-market electric vehicle.

But the company has gotten off to a rough start in meeting the many ambitious goals Musk has set for the production of the vehicle.

In July 2017, Musk said that he aimed to produce 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of 2017. The company then shifted that rate goal to 5,000 cars per week by the end of March 2018. But then in January, Musk lowered that goal to 2,500.

Today, Tesla is producing 2,000 Model 3s a week, according to emails obtained by Jalopnik.

“If things go as planned today, we will comfortably exceed that number over a seven-day period!” Musk wrote, referring to the current rate of production.

The company’s head of engineering also tried to rally the troops last week, saying the company needed to prove the “haters” wrong, as Bloomberg first reported.

“The world is watching us very closely, to understand one thing: How many Model 3s can Tesla build in a week?” Doug Field wrote. “This is a critical moment in Tesla’s history, and there are a number of reasons it’s so important. You should pick the one that hits you in the gut and makes you want to win.”

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Instagram is limiting how much data some developers can collect from its API — and cutting off others altogether

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Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

Facebook’s response to Cambridge Analytica continues with Instagram.

Instagram is cutting off API access for some developers and limiting how often others can use its API to collect data on Instagram users. The move appears to be part of Facebook’s efforts to cull back data access in the wake of the company’s Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

On Friday, Instagram suddenly changed the rate limit for its Platform API — essentially decreasing the number of times a developer can use the API to ping Instagram for updated information, according to conversations with multiple developers.

The rate limit for Instagram’s Platform API was 5,000 calls per hour, but was suddenly reduced to 200 calls per hour on Friday, sources say.

In other cases, Instagram cut off access to the API for some developers entirely, sources say. None of the developers we spoke with were alerted to the changes before they happened.

What the rate limit update means, in plain English, is that developers can pull data from Instagram much less often than they were allowed to before. For some industries that rely on near-constant access to Instagram data — industries like customer service or brand marketing — these limits can make it difficult to keep up with customer complaints or posts, developers said.

It can also limit the total volume of information that outsiders have access to. If developers need to be pickier about what data calls they make, they might stop collecting data on topics or users they don’t necessarily need simply because they can, developers said.

We don’t know Instagram’s motives for certain, though. The company declined to comment, or to confirm that any changes were made.

But multiple developers pointed out the change on Twitter, and Recode was also directed to a conversation on Stack Overflow, a Q&A site for developers. TechCrunch first reported on the API changes.

While developers might not be happy with the unexpected change, it makes sense. Facebook — and apparently Instagram — is looking hard at all of the ways the two services share data with outsiders as part of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal that rocked the company last month.

Instagram has already said that it was planning to scale back its Platform API, just not this early. The company originally told developers it would start to sunset features of the API beginning this summer, and to move everyone over to a more limited API by “early 2020.”

It looks like the Cambridge Analytica situation, in which an outside data firm got hold of the personal Facebook data of some 50 million people without their consent, may be speeding up Instagram’s original plan.

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Here’s why Spotify’s direct listing is an inflection point in the Wall Street-Silicon Valley relationship

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You should care what happens on Tuesday — even if you don’t care about Spotify.

Tuesday will be an abnormal day in the history of the IPO.

“Normally, companies ring bells. Normally, companies spend their day doing interviews on the trading floor touting why their stock is a good investment. Normally, companies don’t pursue a direct listing,” Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, said on Monday in a blog post titled, “Tomorrow.”

“While I appreciate that this path makes sense for most, Spotify has never been a normal kind of company.”

On Tuesday, Ek’s Spotify will pioneer a new way for companies to go public, volunteering itself as a guinea pig for the venture-backed economy by eschewing the traditional help of investment bankers. Rather than selling shares to institutional investors in advance of the first day of trading — as is normally done in an IPO — Spotify isn’t selling any new shares, and is instead allowing its existing shareholders to directly offer their holdings to the market.

Here’s why that matters — even if you don’t care about Spotify: If the direct listing is successful, then the push-and-pull power struggle between Silicon Valley and Wall Street would shift more toward the former. More and more highly-valued startups could think that they, too, do not need Wall Street’s usual fare in order to become a public company, and investment bankers could have a tougher time pitching their services to CEOs.

Starry-eyed entrepreneurs and deal-chasing bankers are cut from culturally different cloths, but they’ve needed each other for decades: Founders need the wisdom of bankers to turn their private companies into public behemoths; bankers need the consistent revenue stream. It’s a professional alliance that has worked, and that’s probably why there hasn’t been that much innovation in the IPO process despite the tech sector’s love of disrupting the old business model.

So, what if founders are no longer dependent on bankers’ full suite of services to go public? That’s what Spotify is testing.

It’s not as if bankers are totally cut out of the process. They’ll still make tens of millions of dollars in advisory fees for what is, in some ways, a more challenging task.

Morgan Stanley, for instance, reached out to almost all Spotify shareholders over the last month or so to gauge their interest in selling stock, according to people familiar with the process, and more recently began the same conversations with institutions interested in buying Spotify shares. That work theoretically will help Spotify know what will happen to the company’s stock at various price levels.

The other objective of bankers advising the deal, the people say, is to make sure there is a high enough volume of shares traded to insulate the company against extreme volatility. Because Spotify isn’t being expertly “priced” the day before trading, its shares could move around wildly in the opening hours of trading — which is expected to begin midday on Tuesday.

One reason that banks like Morgan Stanley have their work cut out for them: Spotify investors and employees have had tons of opportunities over the last decade to sell their stock. The company has been tolerant of private stock sales to an unusual degree, meaning that Tuesday is not the release valve for shareholders who long felt shackled — that’s expected to temper the sell-off. The direct listing is another opportunity to do what they’ve always been free to do.

In fact, about $ 500 million in Spotify shares have been traded over the last few weeks in the lead-up to the direct listing, the people familiar with the process say. Those trades happened at share prices that valued the company between about $ 22 billion and $ 25 billion.

That openness to private trades is one of several unique circumstances that allows Spotify to do what other private companies haven’t been able to do. Spotify says it doesn’t need to create and sell new shares to finance the company, which most companies cannot similarly say. It has a huge, popular consumer brand that will appeal to mom-and-pop retail buyers. And the aforementioned stock trades makes it easier to estimate how the company will price.

So that’s why some naysayers posit that even if Spotify’s direct listing succeeds, it will not usher in a sea change in how the standard IPO unfolds. It’s a perfect storm of circumstances that makes it possible — for one particular company at one particular time.

But startups will at least now consider other options — in fact, that’s true even if Spotify’s direct listing isn’t judged by history to be successful. Companies now know that there is room for restructuring in the IPO, and that’s already a setback for the incumbent, the banking industry.

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