News Roundtable: Zuckerberg, Facebook, USPS, Youtube, Self-Driving

This Week In Startups

E811: News Roundtable! Iain Thomson, The Register & Brian Alvey, Clipisode: Zuck testifies to Congress, Facebook’s data dilemma, Trump orders USPS review, YouTube demonetization fallout, self-driving car accidents & the dangers of human distraction.

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Timestamps

00:30 – Jason introduces his guests: Clipisode founder Brian Alvey and The Register journalist, Iain Thomson.

Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress:

03:09 – Brian says Facebook users should be savvy and expect their data is for sale. Notes that Facebook and others charge per API call: it makes technical and financial sense for companies to retain user data once acquired. Jason expects Facebook to reduce its data gathering. Iain agrees and says the company will have to launch a paid service to make up for lost data revenue.

08:19 – Brian notes the brilliance of Zuckerberg’s response to questions about ad-targeting: with reduced targeting, the company would charge small businesses more to run campaigns – an implied threat.

10:51 – Brian says regulation is likely and it will inhibit competition because Facebook was able to achieve its position without those restrictions.

11:48 – Thanks ZipRecruiter for supporting This Week In Startups. Visit http://ZipRecruiter.com/twist to hire the perfect candidate for your business.

13:08 – Jason says Zuckerberg’s performance was very good and the questions he faced were not challenging. Jason does not expect new regulations. He challenges listeners to prove Facebook is lying about not being able to target individual users.

16:31 – Iain believes regulation is coming in the US, but it won’t be as intensive as the EU’s GDPR. Jason argues companies should be required to ask users if they want to see their stored data every 90 days, and to delete data regularly. Brian argues companies should show users how ads will suffer without targeting, then give them the option to opt in/out. Brian says service bundles would increase subscriptions for ad-free services.

Trump versus Amazon

22:12 – Regarding Trump’s accusation that Amazon is costing the USPS money, Brian says delivering letters is a dying business, while delivering packages is a growing business for the USPS. Iain says Amazon has been a savior for the USPS, but potentially resold bulk-purchased delivery services. Jason says the USPS needs to be significantly downsized.

28:54 – Thanks Squarespace for supporting This Week In Startup – Use offer code “Twist” for a 10-percent off your first purchase.

YouTube Shooting:

30:42 – Jason says while gun control, office security, and mental illness are obvious relevant topics, there is an important discussion to be had about YouTube and others changing terms and monetization opportunities. Brian notes such companies have a difficult responsibility because these decisions affect the livelihoods and potential earning power for some users. Jason says YouTube’s willingness to accept strange content and to monetize it is what made the company so powerful. Now, they’re shedding the bottom rung of creators. Iain says that bottom rung is where the next generation of superstars will emerge. The lesson for creators is to diversify.

NTSB removes Tesla from the investigation into fatal Model X accident:

39:01 – Brian says everything will be automated and self-driving vehicles will absolutely be safer than human drivers. Lain agrees but says the tech isn’t ready for full deployment. Jason accepts Tesla’s arguments that “Autopilot crashes” have been due to driver error.

46:11 – Jason asks if Autopilot should be paused. Brian says the tech should not be paused across the board – only for companies not ready for prime time. Speaking about the recent fatal accident involving a self-driving Uber, Jason says boredom is a problem. Brian notes that distraction is a huge problem for human-controlled vehicles so self-driving cars are a definite improvement. Jason argues for speed governors and stiffer punishments for distracted drivers.

51:05 – Iain says the trouble with implementing harsher laws for distracted drivers (car and phone impounded) is that voters would hate any politician who backed such an initiative. Says Finland has an interesting approach: Fining drivers a percentage of their annual salaries. Iain argues impounding distracted drivers’ vehicles could cause them to lose their jobs.

Sinclair Broadcast Group – Video shows various news stations reading the same script

53:56 – Brian notes similar videos have been circulating for years. Content services have been doing this in Radio and TV for decades: it’s the political agenda that has angered people. FCC will not take action.

Iain says next week will be big for security news.

Brian explains how Clipisode works.

Jason talks about LAUNCH Festival Sydney.