Founders of Reddit, Veoh and Craigslist join forces in anti-SOPA/PIPA discussion

“The protest for SOPA and PIPA has broad opposition that doesn’t come from the left or right,” said Ohanian, who attended the panel via live video stream. “And everyone agrees that this is horrible legislation. This looks a lot like lobbyist dollars at work.”

We're no longer testifying tomorrow because SOPA has been so flogged that the House is shelving it for the time being. Now to focus on PIPA. See you at our Senators' offices here in NY tomorrow! (Or via the livestream on reddit)

Web Piracy Bills Invite a Protracted Battle - #SOPA #PIPA hit @NYTimes

“It’s encouraging that we got this far against the odds, but it’s far from over,” said Erik Martin, the general manager of, a social news site that has generated some of the loudest criticism of the bills. “We’re all still pretty scared that this might pass in one form or another. It’s not a battle between Hollywood and tech, its people who get the Internet and those who don’t.”

How Many Stephen Colberts Are There? via @NYTimes

But easily the most awkward moment in Colbert’s career, and also in many ways a defining one, was his appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2006. Mark Smith, an A.P. reporter who, as head of the correspondents’ association, was responsible for booking the talent, admitted later that he wasn’t all that familiar with the show, which was only three months old when he approached Colbert. Neither, to judge from video of the event, were many in the audience. Colbert got up and addressed the president, saying: “I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things. He stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a powerful message: that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound — with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world.”

I still can't believe he had no idea who he was booking...

What history teaches us about startup incubators (via @OM)

Let’s start with a story. The story goes like this. An incubator has a class of companies, they give them a little cash, they have a weekly session with a mentor or whatever, time goes by, demo day, no one gets funding, fail, fail, FAIL.

They tried to copy the Y Combinator model, and by ‘copy’ I mean cargo cult. They performed the outwardly obvious ceremony, but didn’t understand and thus couldn’t replicate the mechanics of cause and effect. Y Combinator has had impact on the dynamics of startup formation and funding not because of the exact details of a program. But the details are what cargo culters can see: three months, a dollar figure, weekly sessions, gogogo, demo day… the end, most of the companies dissipate.

At the end of the day, there is a fairly narrow band in the total spectrum of business opportunities that are venture fundable (though that band still represents infinite opportunities).

This: A Happy, Flourishing City With No Advertising.

Where businesses are concerned, it turns out some advertisers are actually thankful for the ban, as it's forced them to reevaluate and improve. "Companies had to find their own ways to promote products and brands on the streets," Lalai Luna, co-founder of ad agency Remix, told the Financial Times last year. "São Paulo started having a lot more guerilla marketing [unconventional strategies, such as public stunts and viral campaigns] and it gave a lot of power to online and social media campaigns as a new way to interact with people."

Anna Freitag, the marketing manager for Hewlett-Packard Brazil, said her company had never considered how inefficient billboards and the like were until they were illegal. "A billboard is media on the road," she told the FT. "In rational purchases it means less effectiveness... as people are involved in so many things that it makes it difficult to execute the call to action."


Marketers, it's absolutely time to think beyond billboards.

The way people copy each other's linguistic style reveals their pecking order

These guys have worked out how to measure power differences between individuals using the patterns of words they speak or write. In other words, they say the style of language during a conversation reveals the pecking order of the people talking.

"We show that in group discussions, power differentials between participants are subtly revealed by how much one individual immediately echoes the linguistic style of the person they are responding to," say Kleinberg and co.

The key to this is an idea called linguistic co-ordination, in which speakers naturally copy the style of their interlocutors. Human behaviour experts have long studied the way individuals can copy the body language or tone of voice of their peers, some have even studied how this effect reveals the power differences between members of the group.

Finally got around to reading this gem from Hacker News.

Chairman Lamar Smith responds to @reddit outcry against #SOPA

Asked for a response to the bill’s vehement critics on Internet sites such as Reddit, Smith told Roll Call, “It’s a vocal minority. Because they’re strident doesn’t mean they’re either legitimate or large in number. One, they need to read the language. Show me the language. There’s nothing they can point to that does what they say it does do. I think their fears are unfounded.”