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Uber is Enron Deja Vu: Culture Trumps Strategy

For over a  year now I have blogged here about the red flags flying about Travis Kalanick and Uber. Many investigative articles have been published over this time, in the New York Times and other publications, which have raised disturbing questions about Uber, Kalanick and some members of his team. The Board of Directors has finally taken action but it feels like its a day late and a dollar short.  Why did it take so long?  I have bluntly used the epithet that “Uber is Trump,” but now on reflection, it is more apt to describe Uber as Enron the sequel, and “deja vu all over again.” Remember the audio of two Enron electricity traders laughing about “screwing grandma?” That is Uber. 

Silicon Valley Culture

What's Up With LinkedIn?

LinkedIn shares yesterday plummeted precipitously after the company announced poorer than expected results, and downgraded prospects for the remainder of the year. Looking beyond the downgraded forecast and the costs associated with the $1.5 Billion acquisition of lynda.com, some analysts scrutinizing the press release, noted that there was no growth reported in the user base of “over 350 million users”, despite moves into China and other markets. Premium user revenue grew significantly but that did not come near to offsetting the total revenue number. Revenue and number of users are the two numbers followed most closely by investment analysts.
LinkedIn’s recent acquisitions have been noted as a LinkedIn strategy for compensating for flat overall user growth, and for diversifying into new markets to augment growth.

Wifi

Google's "Loon Balloon" Internet Feels Like A Kiwi #8 Wire Project

At an absolute minimum, Google has scored a PR coup with their blog announcement of “Project Loon,” a trial of Internet Wifi via balloons floating in the stratosphere over New Zealand. You may have already seen, heard or read about this, as the story has appeared in much of the mainstream media, albeit without much journalistic scrutiny. The Loon project has also been covered extensively in the tech “blogosphere” (pun intended). From my reading, only very few journalists have delved into the devil of the details, and asked serious questions, which remain largely unanswered. It is probably not in Google’s best interest to say too much more, as they have already favorably established the Loon Project in the media. The Kiwi’s have a term for this kind of project. They are known in New Zealand as “#8 Wire” projects. Read on and I will explain.

UBC

Red Herring "Awards": An Ironic Double Entendre

This morning TechCrunch posted an interesting article on the strange odyssey of Red Herring (the brand), and its current owner, Frenchman Alex Vieux (pictured above), since RH was sold to Vieux by Tony Perkins, back in 2003. Tony Perkins and Red Herring were Silicon Valley phenoms back in the 1990’s, so the blog post caught my eye. This story has a local angle. A startup here that was recently “parked,” also apparently won a Red Herring award a few years back. I was intrigued at that time, because I was intimately familiar with Red Herring from its founder, Tony Perkins, and its heyday in Silicon Valley in the 1990’s.

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