Why Is This News

  • WITN: The Dumbest and Smartest People of 2010, Plus Our Predictions for 2011 (TCTV)


    With apologies to Car Talk, you’ve squandered a perfectly good half-of-a-year watching “Why Is This News?” and we decided to reward you with a show that actually contains business analysis, rather than a rant about hotels or the hijinks of Michael Arrington. In this week’s episode Paul and Sarah give their picks for the dumbest and smartest people of 2010, a… Read More

  • WITN: Yeah, We're Getting Some Annoying Feedback From The Mike…

    You can always rely on Mike Arrington to liven up a dull editon of Why Is This News. There we were, gamely ploughing through the taping of this week’s episode, only slightly hindered by the fact that Paul had chosen the world’s least interesting subject – Rupert Murdoch’s forthcoming digital newspaper – to talk about, when all hell suddenly broke loose. Mike, with… Read More

  • WITN: Paul Still Hates Le Web, London and Apparently Sitting Still (TCTV)

    Three or four jobs ago, (who can keep count?) Paul was a columnist for The Guardian and he made a quick name for himself in Valley circles with a blistering critique of Le Web, a conference he hates so much he attends every year. But he says, after this year, he’s done. (Again.) He’s back in London now, and he’s almost as miserable. In this edition of “Why Is This… Read More

  • WITN: Rambling Hotel Complaint Edition (Plus Some Ideas For Travel Businesses)

    Not satisfied with upsetting the entire London web sector, Paul is apparently determined to take on the city’s hospitality industry too. For the first three minutes of this week’s Why Is This News he abuses his TechCrunch power to vent at the St Martins Lane Hotel for banning him from doing press interviews in his hotel room. Which we’re sure viewers will agree is the… Read More

  • WITN: Wikileaks – Enemy of Democracy, Fact of Life… or Both? (TCTV)

    It’s impossible to throw a rock at a media outlet today without hitting a story about Wikileaks. And to make the rock throwing even easier, the subject of this week’s Why Is This News is: Wikileaks – ‘enemy of democracy, just plain fact of life… or both?’ In it, Sarah argues that, for good or ill, the leaking of several hundred thousand diplomatic cables… Read More

  • WITN: Do American Investors Care about Chinese Human Rights? And Should They?

    A slight format change for Why Is This News? this week: no guest, just the two of us discussing this week’s big technology stories from outside the valley. Much to Sarah’s delight, China has been making news again – for good and ill. On the one hand, the government is still clamping down on dissident opinion – sending someone to jail for a 140 character retweet… Read More

  • WITN: Phototour's Vineet Devaiah (Featuring the Voice of Mike Arrington)

    An even weirder than usual episode of Why Is This News this week ending up with Mike Arrington heckling us through the wall of the studio. But before he did, we sat down with Vineet Devaiah from “social streetview” startup, Phototour.in. Vineet hails from India but, having come to the Valley to collect an “Emerging company” award from Nvidia, he decided to stick around… Read More

  • WITN: Even in Jakarta, the Mac vs PC Fanboys Thrash it Out

    As promised, now that Sarah has been in Jakarta for a week, it’s time for the second part of our special Indonesian themed edition of Why Is This News? In this installment, we discuss the conspicuous absence of Facebook and Twitter executives in what is one of their biggest market and Sarah gives her thoughts on a few of the interesting local startups participating in Jakarta’s… Read More

  • WITN: It’s Tuesday so it must be Jakarta

    Sarah’s latest whistle-stop tour of emerging markets has reached Indonesia, where she’ll be covering – and helping with – a start-up competition. But before all the excitement kicks off, she called in from Skype to explain the differences between Singapore (her previous stop) and Jakarta. Video below. Read More

  • WITN: "On Paper, Singapore Shouldn't Have Done as Well as it Has"

    Given Paul’s ability to get into fights even in sleepy towns like Camden, Maine, it’s lucky Sarah does the lion’s share of the travelling. This week, she’s in Singapore – on a week-long trip to take the island’s entrepreneurial pulse and next week she’ll be returning to Jakarta to do similar there (hopefully, you’ve already sent in your questions… Read More

  • WITN: "I Don’t Care what a Rich Person in Camden, Maine Says"

    As he explains here, Paul spent the latter half of last week in Maine for PopTech. Which is great because while he was outside the Valley he was eligible to be a guest on Why Is This News. In this week’s episode, then, he talks about his highlights of the conference and elaborates on his comparison between it and TED. Meanwhile Sarah finds herself in the unusual position of being the… Read More

  • WITN: Extraordinary Chickpeas and the Madness of Crowdsourcing

    “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” Not our words, but those of Charles Mackay, author of the 1841 classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Still, it would be safe to say that we’ve always been a little skeptical of the benefits of… Read More

  • Atlantic’s Michael Hirschorn: "Americans will Believe any Shit They See Online" [TCTV]

    In the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly, contributing editor Michael Hirschorn rails against the “commodification of facts” caused by social media. Specifically he’s irked by how Twitter, Wikipedia and the rest have made it possible for right wing (in most cases) commentators to create their own set of facts to support their agenda. “The communal void allows… Read More

  • GoPro CEO: "Some People’s Most Exciting Moments Also Happen to be Horrific" [TCTV]

    When the 33 Chilean miners emerged from 68 days of subterranean captivity, one man here in California had a professional reason to be glued to CNN. Nick Woodman, the CEO of GoPro had spotted one of his company’s super-robust cameras (designed to be worn by extreme sports enthusiasts) strapped to the top of the rescue pod, streaming live footage of the miners’ ascent to the… Read More

  • Euro Entrepreneurs: "Either Come to the Valley or Stay Home and Play with the Losers"

    Every week there seems to be another Brit announcing that they’re leaving London’s startup community and heading west to Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, those who have already made the jump frequently head home to offer advice and encouragement to those left behind on how to follow suit. But with the decline of Silicon Valley and the rise of emerging markets, is moving to San… Read More

  • Hollywood’s Adam Rifkin: "You Don’t Need Permission From The Gatekeepers"

    Earlier this week Sarah met not one but two Adam Rifkins – the first Adam Rifkin is based in Silicon Valley and organizes a networking group for entrepreneurial engineers called 106 Miles; the second Adam Rifkin is a (quoting from the video below) “big time Hollywood big shot”, responsible for family-friendly movie romps including Mousehunt, Small Soldiers and Bikini Squad. Read More

  • WITN: The World (By Which We Mean Major US Cities) Is His Oyster

    A few months ago, Sarah wrote about group-buying travel site Jetsetter.com, arguing that it solves a ‘big problem’ in hotel booking. After the post went live, she received plenty of feedback suggesting other sites to look at, but one came up time and time again: Oyster.com. Founded in 2008 by Elie Seidman and Ariel Charytan, Oyster is – essentially – a curated version… Read More

  • WITN?: Saul Klein Defends the Honor of Wordy and London and Israel's Tech Scenes (TCTV)

    In this week’s show, we talk to one of our favorite angel investors, Saul Klein, who just wrapped up his third annual Seedcamp in London. In addition to being a partner at the powerful Index Ventures and having a British accent — which lonely expat Paul can’t get enough of– Klein is impressive because he’s one of the only angel investors who has made what is… Read More

  • Why Is This News?: Sweeps Week Trans-Pacific Skype Edition

    This week, Why Is This News has gone on the road! Two roads in fact: one towards Tianjin, where Sarah was attending “Summer Davos” and the other towards Las Vegas where Paul was, well, hanging out by a pool. Fortunately, thanks to the magic of Skype, we were still able to cross time-zones to talk about Sarah’s highlights from China, sustainability, water and the final word on… Read More

  • WITN?: Can Foosball Tables Save the Middle East? (TCTV)

    Endeavor– a non-profit that encourages high-impact entrepreneurship in the emerging world– likes to go to counties where people wouldn’t expect a lot of sophisticated high-growth entrepreneurship to be. Thirteen years ago when Endeavor started that was easy, just go outside Western Europe or the US. But today, entrepreneurship is exploding in places we wouldn’t have… Read More