The latest news from the CNBC Disruptor 50 companies upending the status quo in the markets:
Thanksgiving is a time for considering the peace and love with which the Native Americans were met by European settlers to the New World. And, for those of you who actually read U.S. history and know the brutal, ceaseless campaign to destroy the native culture that actually took place over hundreds of years in this country, there's a good Thanksgiving parallel in the story of Aereo, pilgrim in the world of streaming television.
Thanksgiving is a time for considering the peace and love with which the Native Americans were met by European settlers to the New World. And, for those of you who actually read U.S. history and know the brutal, ceaseless campaign to destroy the native culture that actually took place over hundreds of years in this country, there's a good Thanksgiving parallel in the story of Aereo, digital native in the new world of streaming television.
This past week, the major television broadcasters—who so far have had very little success in the courts versus Aereo—got a helping hand from the biggest monopolies in America—the professional sports leagues. The NFL and MLB filed "friendly" briefs on behalf of the broadcasters who want the Supreme Court to take up their case against Aereo.
The sports leagues say they will be left with no choice but to remove all sporting events from broadcast TV if Aereo isn't stopped, and as usual, you the poor viewer will be the one to suffer (so you better support whatever they tell you to support).
Maybe you don't know the old African folk saying, When two elephants fight in the grass, it's the grass that suffers—but you probably have had some experience with a battle between a cable company and network that took some precious sports off the air for a few days.
In fact, in a recent example of that kind of spat, when Viacom and Time Warner were locked in a battle earlier this year, Aereo put itself out there as a way to still watch while the elephants fought. Speaking of the elephants in this battle, Aereo backer Barry Diller of IAC again said the service is completely and perfectly legal this past week at Bloomberg's Year Ahead conference. He said young people aren't going to pay one hundred bucks for cable.
So you young people, as Thanksgiving approaches and you get ready to gather around the 72-inch flat screen and take refuge from the minor social insanity that is the definition of family, we ask you—yes even you who have the 72-inch plasma and surround sound home theater system—to watch Turkey Day NFL games on an Aereo Internet stream. If it's available in your city, give thanks for it, because if the NFL and MLB have their way, the fledgling internet TV service is gonna be stuffed and dressed and carved up by the powers that be.
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Pinterest's global conquest continues
Here's the latest plan from Pinterest to somehow, some way, some day make money. Pinterest's plan for world domination continued this past Wednesday when it launched a new category of pins for members to save places within its online scrapbooks.
"How could we pick one more thing that people could use every day, and that's planning trips," CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann was quoted by USA Today as saying at an event at company headquarters. "We're introducing place pins."
Well that seems right about worth the $4 billion the company was recently valued at. Well actually, we joke, but maybe ... destination mapping is an area of interest to some pretty profitable companies, including Google.
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We're written previously about some of the wild and crazy things Uber is doing to pump its car service, including delivering kittens in its cars for short-term visits to pet lovers. Well, cat lovers are a special breed but most Americans would probably prefer a little time with their favorite pro athletes.
And professional athletes don't have the best track—or we should say road—record when it comes to driving around in their fancy sports cars. After all, if you own a car that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and moves faster than Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, you better show it off—at 3 a.m., after you've left a night club with as $4,000 bar tab. So maybe the latest pickup stunt from Uber is actually a pretty good idea to protect athletes from themselves. If only Uber's partners from the NFL and sponsors like Under Armour showed up when hailed.
Uber Baltimore's "Roll with a Raven" promotion "lost a bit of its mojo overnight as several participants and partners pulled out of the deal for today's event. One of them was Ray Rice. The others include just about every other sponsor—Under Armour, Natty Boh and Mother's Grille," the Baltimore Sun reported. An Uber spokeswoman blamed the revisions on "last minute schedule changes and lots of little things."
But keep trying: fans can still use the app to summon a player on-demand for a 10- to 15-minute ride and take up to three friends along, unless the players call an audible at the last moment.
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Couldn't have happened with Kickstarter: File # 4,677,894
Meta this and meta that—we've reached the stage of meta-Kickstarter. Filmmaker Ben Godar sent in a proposal for a Kickstarter project seeking funds for ... his Kickstarter campaign video. As reported by Mashable, Godar made a parody video asking others to donate money so he could make a really good video for his actual Kickstarter project. Kickstarter has the good sense to reject the project, though it proposed a project to raise funds to help it reject Godor's.
Ouya's White Christmas
Everybody who knows anything about gaming thinks Ouya is a great concept—break the gaming console status quo—it's just that Ouya hasn't exactly delivered on that promise in the way gamers and game designers hoped, at least not yet. But as the Upstart Business Journal and others reported this week, Ouya is aiming for a White Christmas and a Christmas miracle, rolling out a new version of its gaming device that is white and has white controllers (hmmm, what famous tech company has made a lot of money selling things in white?).
The limited-edition Ouya device also has double the storage of the original, with 16 GB. It's available on pre-order for $129. It is a miracle of sorts already: those elves are working so hard to bang together the new Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 for the holiday console war, it's a miracle they can devote any space for Ouya latest in Santa's workshop.
iSmoke detector reviews are in
Nest Labs smart home smoke detector—the latest creation from Apple iPod and iPhone chief designer Tony Fadell's startup—has hit the market and reviews are in, including from The New York Times. While influential Times tech reviewer David Pogue may be on his way to Yahoo, Jenna Wortham took a shot at breaking down the pros and cons of the Nest Protect. Bottom line: She liked lots about it but wouldn't buy it (it does cost $129).
"Although I'd happily recommend it to my friends who are becoming parents and buying their first homes, I will probably pass on becoming a Nest Protect owner until I am at that stage in my life. Until then, I am happy to live with the less-than-perfect smoke detector that is already installed in my apartment, even if the next time I'm making toast or taking a shower, it goes off," Wortham wrote.
Readers chimed in as well, with one Times reader noting that the Protect's color coding system wouldn't do much for the one out of every 12 men in the U.S. who are color blind (who knew!). Another told Wortham that with a home that requires eight smoke detectors, he won't be running to buy a $129 device. And yet another reader said a talking smoke detector was just too creepy.
The people have spoken. You're no Steve Jobs, Tony, at least not yet. But it's probably less stressful off on your own than working for him, as you seemed to suggested in your iPhone anniversary memories recently related in the Times. That seemed like a constant three-alarm fire.
If you can't watch the Super Bowl on Aereo ...
If the monopolistic sports powers of the world—not to mention the cable companies—have their way and Aereo's public support becomes even less than that afforded to Alex Rodriguez and Lance Armstrong, and you can no longer watch the Super Bowl on Aereo in select cities, New Yorkers can at least try to make back some of that gargantuan cable bill by renting out their digs on Airbnb ... if that isn't shut down by the New York attorney general. Man, it ain't easy being a sharing economy public enemy—we mean, company.
Anyway, an increasing number of home and apartment owners in the New York/New Jersey area are using websites such as HomeAway and Airbnb to offer their properties for rent to out-of-town fans coming to the big game scheduled for next Feb. 2.
And speaking of Airbnb, this past week they told the The Sunday Telegraph that by next year that think they will become the largest hotelier in the world. Co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk told Telegraph, "InterContinental and Hilton have more than 650,000 rooms. We have 500,000, though they have a much higher occupancy rate."
"If you look at our historical growth curve, I don't think that's going to change very quickly ... We've been growing bookings and revenues two to three times every year and I would expect that to continue."
So next year, Airbnb is No. 1, which means, if nothing else, lots more data for regulators to subpoena.
—By Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com