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A Journey Through Oligarch Valley, Pt 5: Resnicks (Exit 253)

Driving north at NASCAR speed takes me to the home turf of one of Oligarch Valley’s newest and oddest landlords: Beverly Hills agri-billionaires Lynda and Stewart Resnick.  You might not recognize the name, but you’ve certainly seen their luxury Fiji Water bottles at your local 7-Eleven, or maybe you’ve seen Palin family dropout Levi Johnston hawking the Resnicks’ Paramount brand pistachio nuts on TV.

The surest sign yet that all these late-stage mega deals really are private IPOs

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Kuaidi showing off just how much money it could get from its ginormous backers-- Tencent, Alibaba, Softbank and other hedge funds and mega-Chinese institutions-- by making an investment itself in fellow Asian Uber-spoiler GrabTaxi.

One app to rule them all

“There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made.” -The Silmarillion, J.R.R.

Memo to Lyft: Just help people get around not, ahem, get around

The other night, I was having drinks with a friend who isn’t involved with the tech industry. In fact, she had just created her first LinkedIn profile.

Source: Xiaomi raising a new mega round of funding, passing Uber in valuation again

Pando has heard that Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is reportedly raising a new mega round of funding -- and if my source is accurate -- it’s passing Uber in valuation again.  The price?

Judge gives final approval to $415m settlement in Techtopus wage-fixing suit

It's official.  After years of legal fighting, the Techtopus wage theft suit against Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar has finally reached its final approved settlement.  Last year, Judge Lucy Koh rejected a $324.5 million settlement as too low after objections were raised by some plaintiffs including Michael Devine, who has spoken regularly to Pando about the case.  Today's final approval sees the total settlement formally increased to $415m, with most plaintiffs receiving around $5,770, according to

A Journey Through Oligarch Valley, Pt 4: Moron (Exit 225)

On the western edge of Oligarch Valley’s septic zone, a short drive from the shit fields of Green Acres and the reeking sludge pits of Synagro, is a tiny town called Taft.

Startup U, Episode Four: Do you even whiteboard, bra(h)?

“Anybody here need a bra?” Last week, I almost threw in the towel on StartupU. It seems I am not alone.

Someone really needs to disrupt the anti-brogrammer poster industry

The Google bus protests might have died down, but that doesn't mean anti-tech sentiment has vanished from San Francisco.

Listen to this week's War Nerd Wednesday podcast, with Gary Brecher and Mark Ames

Last week, Gary Brecher and Mark Ames announced the launch of their new podcast: War Nerd Wednesdays.

Uber, the Hamptons and the Magic Bus

“Wait you’re FROM the Hamptons?”  Back on a June Sunday night I was having dinner on the porch at Nick and Toni’s when my mom told me that Uber was banned in East Hampton.

A Journey Through Oligarch Valley, Pt 3: Septic Tank (Exit 244)

Previously: A Journey Through Oligarch Valley, Pt II: Tejon Ranch (Exit 215)  Back on to Interstate-5 and a short drive 30 miles north to a little slice of agricultural heaven called Green Acres Farm.

Is Burning Man the new Bohemian Grove?

Labor Day approaches, and so it is time once again for those left behind to assay whether Burning Man has finally lost its way, jumped shark, or been reduced to a caricature of its anarchic origins by the introduction of hordes of tech-workers into its faux-fur folds.

The War Nerd: How to write an Islamist scare story

Not all violence is equal.   Like that tree in the PHIL 1A koan, a lot of humans fall without anyone noticing.

Battle of the non-demand food startups, round one: PlateJoy vs Blue Apron

We’ve seen plenty written lately about VCs potentially losing their patience with the over-funded food delivery space.

A Journey Through Oligarch Valley, Pt 2: Tejon Ranch (Exit 215) 

Previously: A journey through Oligarch Valley (Prologue) In Oligarch Valley, you can drive for an hour at 80 mph along the side of a single oligarch-family farm.

Today on Twitter: The US Ambassador and the fascists

I’ve been trying hard to keep my head down and focus on writing my upcoming Surveillance Valley book, but I just can’t help but peer from time to time at the giant catastrophe taking place in my ancestral homeland of Ukraine.  It’s not just the war, which is horrible enough and grinds on day after day.

In the Valley, pre-seed is a meme. In New York, it’s a necessity

Last week, I published a long story about the growing “pre-seed” trend in venture capital. The brave new wave of investors willing to back an idea on a little more than a couple guys and a Power Point.

Lyft's ineffectual new billboard wants you to know: Lyft is exactly like Uber

Yesterday Sarah wrote about how Uber is finally facing serious competition in China. How, as she put it, Uber is getting Uber’d.

Let's hope Turkish authorities don't follow the US Defense Department guidelines on dealing with difficult reporters

On Monday morning, a court in the city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey officially charged two British and one Iraqi journalists reporting for Vice News.  Specifically, they stand accused on terror charges for ‘aiding a terrorist organization’ and await trial from jail, in the Kurdistan city of Diyarbakir, an area that has seen a recent rash of violence among Turkish state security forces and Kurdish fighters.