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Code/red: Peter Thiel's Reefer Madness

Plus, crunch time at Foxconn and some classic Steve Jobs video.


  • The unveiling of the 2014 MacArthur Genius Grant winners.
  • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is testifying before the House Small Business Committee.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee kicks off its hearings on net neutrality.

Twitter Had a Snappy Comeback to This, but Can’t Remember It Now

What does Peter Thiel have against Twitter? Back in 2011, the PayPal co-founder and billionaire venture capitalist slagged the company in his investment manifesto, complaining that “we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” Now he’s dismissing it as a business opportunity squandered by Cheech and Chong management. “Twitter is hard to evaluate,” Thiel told CNBC this morning. “They have a lot of potential. It’s a horribly mismanaged company — probably a lot of pot-smoking going on there.” Evidently, Thiel is an abstainer, though his obsession with building a floating libertarian nation-state 200 miles off the coast of San Francisco would seem to suggest otherwise. Who knows, maybe Twitter serves Maui Waui at Thursday Tea Time. … Incidentally, Thiel joined Twitter in 2009, but didn’t use it until last week and only then to promote his new book.

Update: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says he’s too busy to comment on Thiel’s spiel.

Foxconn to Apple: She’s Breaking Up, Cap’n! I’m Giving Her All She’s Got!

Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has 100 production lines pumping out the latest iPhones around the clock and it’s still struggling to meet early demand. “We have been churning out 140,000 iPhone 6 Plus and 400,000 iPhone 6 every day — the highest daily output ever,” a source tells the Wall Street Journal. “But the volume is still not enough to meet the preorders.”

Cisco Inhales Metacloud

Cisco’s Intercloud strategy continues apace with another acquisition. This morning it purchased Metacloud, a peddler of private cloud-computing services. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Metacloud has raised $25 million in funding over the past few years.

Lyft Joins Uber in Lobbying Race, but It’s Driving an Older Model

Last month Uber hired David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager, as its big-gun politico. Now rival Lyft is upping its political game as well, but reaching back to an earlier political generation for its help. According to a new lobbying registration form, the ride-hailing service has hired former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt’s lobbying group to “advocate for the removal of barriers that inhibit ride sharing.”

Let’s Step Count the Halls of Congress! Who’s With Me? Anyone?

Speaking of Silicon Valley lobbying efforts in the beltway, Fitbit has hired Heather Podesta + Partners to “educate lawmakers regarding health and fitness devices.”

“Michael Is Probably a Little Upset That We’ve Taken Something Dell Pioneered and Really Done It a Lot Better”

Here’s some wonderful video of Steve Jobs skewering Michael Dell at MacWorld Boston, 1997.

Microsoft Nearing Goal of Full Percentage Point Increase in National Unemployment

A dark day ahead for Redmond tomorrow. People familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell me the company will embark on its second round of job cuts on Thursday, sacking an as yet unknown number of employees as part of the massive workforce realignment it announced earlier this year. Microsoft has laid off about 13,000 employees so far, so it’s got 5,000 to go before it reaches its target of 18,000. Mary Jo Foley, who was first to report news of tomorrow’s purge, says the second round of cuts will be nearly company-wide.

Oh Dear, I Do Believe This Apple Watch Price Is Giving Me a Case of the Vapors

John Gruber, Daring Fireball: “I think Apple Watch prices are going to be shockingly high — gasp-inducingly, get-me-to-the-fainting-couch high — from the perspective of the tech industry. But at the same time, there is room for them to be disruptively low from the perspective of the traditional watch and jewelry world.”

With or Without U2, Redux

My daughter earlier this morning: “Daddy, I think I sleepwalked last night and bought something on iTunes that I didn’t want. Do I have to pay for it? I really don’t like it.”


Ironfire Capital founder Eric Jackson: “So is Yahoo’s stock going to stop being a proxy for Alibaba post-IPO? I don’t see it when two-thirds of the potential value of the assets within Yahoo will be related to Alibaba.”

And by “Deploying” I Mean Flinging It at Anything That Moves

Venture capitalist Jeff Clavier: “It feels like venture investors are deploying their capital much faster than ever. When people don’t want to miss out, a lot of mistakes are made. Clearly we will see a lot of companies that raised $50 million or $100 million just blow up because they raised on momentum and not on success.”

Or Like if Crimea Annexed Russia

Leo Mirani and Gideon Lichfield, Quartz: “, Russia’s most popular email provider, this morning announced that it has paid $1.47 billion for the 48 percent that it did not already own of VKontakte, Russia’s most popular social network. already owns Odnoklassniki, the second-most popular network. It’s as if Gmail (if it were an independent company) were to buy Facebook.”

Point/Counterpoint: Insult vs. Here, Let Me Set Up Your Next Insult

Former PayPal EVP Keith Rabois on PayPal’s anti-Apple Pay ads: “Dumbest ad campaign ever?”

Thomson Reuters project manager Matt Khoury: “Considering everyone is talking about it — I’d say — mission accomplished.”

Former PayPal EVP Keith Rabois: “Yes, in terms of reminding people that PayPal is awful.”

Off Topic

High-fiving cab hailers and Tiny Hamster vs. Kobayashi.

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments and NoPhones to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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