Category Archives: Startups

I’m sure you’ve seen it on Facebook. I’ve seen it at least 30 times in my feed this morning.

“Oh no! Instagram changed their terms of service and they can now sell my photos!”

First off, I’m actually impressed that people are reading their Terms of Service. (Hey, you guys know Facebook pretty much owns all your stuff anyway, right?)

Here’s the new line in the TOS:

You agree that a business may pay Instagram to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions without any compensation to you.

Here’s the thing – Facebook is already doing this to you. I can’t tell you how many times I look over in my right column and see that one of my friends has Liked a page or Purchased something, and it even shows their photo. The first time it happened it was jarring – did my friend give that company the right to use their profile photo? Well no. But we did give that right to Facebook to use in their sponsored posts.

That folks, is what Instagram can do. You’re not going to be seeing your cool photo on the side of a bus or denigrated at a bus stop beside a weeks-old movie poster. Instagram can’t change your photo, modify your photos, or drop their logo on it. In fact, as the Verge puts it:

Well, an advertiser can pay Instagram to display your photos in a way that doesn’t create anything new — so Budweiser can put up a box in the timeline that says “our favorite Instagram photos of this bar!” and put user photos in there.

Again, Facebook has already been doing this to you for months. Yet, we tend to eventually accept all that Facebook does to us because our worlds are often on Facebook.

Thanks to The Verge for clearing that up. Guess their news feed was overrun as well.

UPDATE: Instagram says “Thank you and we’re listening.” They’ll be re-wording their policy soon, so that the legalese is less confusing.

 

I was wondering why it took them so long, but San Francisco’s cabbies are now shouting out against Uber, the upstart private taxi service, by claiming it’s engaging in “unfair competition”. TNW is reporting on a class-action complaint filed by SF cabbies claiming Uber is practicing “unfair business competition and for violating California Statutory and city regulatory mandates.” Uber, which is facing similar lawsuits wherever it rolls out service (esp. in New York and Chicago), responded with this statement, “Uber complies with all laws and regulations applicable to its business. Any claim to the contrary is baseless and motivated by those who seek to deprive the public of this safe and convenient transportation option. Uber would rather compete for business on the streets of San Francisco than in the courtroom, but Uber will defend these claims in court and is confident of the outcome.”

Uber is not having a hard time capturing funding, with over $50 million so far coming its way from Tech’s most prominent VCs. We’ll see how this plays out in the courts. Looks like Uber will need to stash some of that venture cash for lawyering up — fighting cabbies won’t be pretty.

With Halloween less than a week away, this weekend will likely be a big hit amongst costume, candy and party lovers. When you’re out and about celebrating, don’t forget to check-in to your favorite location based application.

Foursquare launched a series of badges, pictured below, that encourage users to check-in to the Halloween festivities they participate in. In order to receive a badge you need to wish friends “Happy Halloween” when checking-in and are welcome to share a picture while rocking out Gangnam Style, showing off your Katniss inspired look or any other costume you choose to wear this year. The company is also offering an extra treat if more than 10 friends check-in together at one location.

Foursquare Halloween Badges

Although not all users are incentivized purely by pretty badges, those that are will enjoy the latest additions to their badge collection over the next few days. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Sometimes we all need to lighten up a bit. Seriously. I was having one of those mornings when an email about a new Kickstarter campaign landed in my inbox.

Now, there’s been a weird amount of publicity about the Silicon Valley sock thing. Powerful men or regular guys who aren’t overly fashion forward, or who prefer t-shirts and jeans, wearing fun, printed socks. I know. Why write an article about this? It’s fashion and tech. Stay with me.

Socrates is a Kickstarter campaign that takes this sock trend one step further. Kevlar socks, people.

Yep, carbon threaded socks with kevlar (the bullet-proof stuff) carbon matrix threaded through the toes. What does that mean? It means you guys won’t get holes in your socks as often, if ever. Military grade socks that come in fun colors and stripes. Why not?

Former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty (credit: Georgetown Voice)It’s probably not that often that you’ll hear about politicians or traditionally non-tech influential leaders joining up with a company here in Silicon Valley. I mean, it’s not that it’s unheard of but it’s not very common. For politicians, typically you’re going to hear of them going to consulting firms or even lobbyists in Washington, DC. However, it looks like big-time venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has snagged two major policy leaders within the past couple of years.

Announced today, the firm picked up the consulting services of former Washington, DC mayor Adrian Fenty. The one-time mayor of the nation’s capital will join the firm as a special advisor where he will most undoubtedly use his expertise in policy, governance, and disruption to help startups better broach the mainstream and become better recognized by the government. As stated by Margit Wennmachers on managing partner Ben Horowitz’s blog, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Mayor Fenty’s uncanny ability to disrupt an age-old system in the nation’s capital have given him an iconic image of being a reformer and has led him to unheard-of success. In addition, he was the first in the city to spur technological innovation by finally opening up the city’s data and encouraging developers to create useful apps that would help save the city thousands, if not millions, of dollars, and create a better District for all its citizens.

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