How Alanis Morissette explains Uber's uphill battle with regulators
Private car service Uber's Corey Owens published a blog this past week titled On Consumers, Competition and Collusion, with the collusion referring most directly to the ongoing battle with transportation market regulators.
"The first CD I purchased was Alanis Morissette's 'Jagged Little Pill.' ... I just listened to two or three songs, but to get those I had to buy the whole album. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during Steve Jobs' negotiations with the labels. ... Or when Reed Hastings first told the studios he wanted to give consumers a la carte access to television shows… over the Internet no less. Or when Jeff Bezos bought the first digital distribution rights for a book, trying to convince the authors and publishers that people would ditch their beloved paperbacks. ... These visionaries were vindicated by putting consumers first. They focused on what consumers wanted. ... They were vindicated by balance sheets that proved putting consumers first can be profitable. ... But what if the holdout labels, studios, and publishers had, instead of just not doing the deal, hired an army of lobbyists?"
The post was triggered by a package of model smartphone app regulations the International Association of Transportation Regulators released Monday as a reference for use by government agencies in drafting local rules.
The association was none too happy about Uber's take. "It's just childish and it's unprofessional behavior. It's nothing short of defamatory," said Matthew Daus, the group's president. "It's very unfortunate they've sunk to this level."
Meanwhile, more regulations to deal with, in more languages: Uber rolled out cars in Dubai and Bogota, Colombia, this past week.
(Read more: Surprising ways companies are using your data)
Drones growing your breakfast cereal
Aerial robotics company 3D Robotics announced this past week it raised $30 million in a Series B funding round, adding to a $5 million Series A round last November. The money will help the company co-founded by former Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson to take over the U.S. farming industry, sort of.
"The opportunity to bring 'big data' to agriculture through low-cost automated aerial crop surveys could be a game-changer for both farming and the UAV industry alike," Anderson said in a release announcing the new round of funding. "Adding UAVs to the precision agriculture toolkit of a 21st century farmer gives them the power to use imaging data to not only increase yield, but decrease water use and the chemical load in both food and environment."