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Now, We’re Bakin’ (Off) with Intersite!

And that means we’re “cookin’ with gas,” as the kids say! We may have lost our funder Russ Hanneman, but we are now up for a $15 million contract (!!!) to reduce the server load of adult content giant Intersite.

Even better: the bake-off is between us and our pale, thieving imitation: Endframe. The two companies have each been given the same video library, and a week in which to compress it.

Molly Kendall—the tough-but-fair CEO of Intersite who calls to mind nothing so much as a slightly younger Charlotte Rampling—in her wisdom chose this method of deciding with whom to do business. And we welcome this opportunity to show that we are the true middle-o0ut compression market standard, and that Endframe faces its “Endgame” (with all apologies to Samuel Beckett)

SWOT

It boggles my mind that there are those who are not familiar with SWOT. This decision-making tool for businesses should be in every start-up’s metaphorical toolbox!

It might as well be called the “Allen Wrench of the Cubicle” for its myriad applications. Analyzing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats implicit in a decision oftentimes helps lead to a more correct decision than that which one might otherwise have made. It is also an opportunity to practice good handwriting, which has sadly declined in this age of keyboards. (Spencerian script? What’s that?) 

We at Pied Piper recently had a knotty decision to make, so I brought out the old SWOT board, and if everyone had not immediately left the room, I have no doubt that it would have been quite helpful.

(Please note: SWOT-ing is not to be confused with SWAT-ing: the hateful “prank” of calling the police and saying a horrible crime is taking place at someone’s home so that law enforcement kicks in their door and terrifies them. I have been SWAT-ed thrice, once while I was in the bath, filling in an actual SWOT board, ironically.)

We Are Not Endframe

If you saw the stunt that the energy drink Homicide recently livestreamed on their site, you may have seen “Powered by Endframe” at the bottom of the screen.

Since I had announced in this very blog that we, Pied Piper, would be handling the streaming for this event, you perhaps thought, “Oh, I guess Pied Piper changed their name. That’s a pity, because it was both compelling and whimsical.” Well, that was not us. Endframe is not us. It is, however, our tech, which Endframe’s founders stole in collusion with the VC firm Branscombe Ventures.

This was the brain rape that made me cry out in betrayal, to someone I thought was a friend: “Say it ain’t so, bro!” It hurt as much as the loss of Campbell Scott hurt Julia Roberts in the shamefully un-sequeled Dying Young. Endframe? More like FriendShame, if you ask me!

We may well initiate legal action against these pretenders to the throne of middle-out technology. And if so, we have no doubt we will prevail, because not only do we have better tech, we are better people. And as we all know: In this Valley, the good guys win.

The Condor Cam

Have you navigated to our website, and been surprised to see livestreaming video of a large egg, in a nest of some kind? No, we are not pivoting into an egg-focused competitor to Amazon Prime, we have launched…our Condor Cam!

These majestic birds are nesting at the Carmel Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Preserve in Carmel, California. One of the largest species of non-flightless birds, California Condors are on the critically endangered species list. In 1982, fewer than 25 were left in the wild. Today, there are more than 160 of these elegant, long-necked “Julia Robertses of the avian kingdom,” as some like to call them.

What you are watching—that large, carefully arranged nest of twigs held together by condor feces—is called an “aerie.” And the lone egg, of course, contains a gestating condor fetus, waiting to hatch after an incubation period of 52 to 54 days. This baby bird could live to 60 years of age! And condors mate for life, so its future husband, wife or same-sex partner may be being born somewhere this very second. It’s true: As any scientist will tell you, sexuality is a continuum in the natural world as well!

We are able to livestream this miracle of nature to you in 4K because of our ground-breaking middle-out compression software—the market standard. And by doing so we hope to not only raise awareness of our company, but also of the endangered status of this rare, beautiful, carrion-eating close relative of the vulture.

Homicide

I have shocking news. Pied Piper is involved in the business of…Homicide.

Whoa, hold on now! Before you go dialing 911, I’m talking about the energy drink Homicide.

You know, from the “Energy Drink That Doesn’t Give A F**k!” ads starring Tucker Max, that pop up every time you’re on Vice.com? Well, that same refreshing, high-in-taurine soft drink empire is hiring Pied Piper to power its livestream of an upcoming stunt. We saw the humiliation Hooli suffered after its UFC livestream debacle and thought a livestream of our own would be a neat way to differentiate us from the soulless behemoth currently trying to sue us out of existence. So you might say our doing business with Homicide was justifiable! (Homicide, that is.)

We were able to get in touch with Homicide’s founder and CEO, Aaron “Double-A” Anderson, because of our investor Erlich Bachmann’s collegiate connection, and we look forward to formally announcing the stunt soon!

Don’t Watch the Hooli Livestream

As you may know, the UFC have contracted with Hooli to use Nucleus to livestream one of their championship fights. But while the United Fighting Club does indeed stage some excellent combat spectacles, I strongly urge you all not to watch.

The Nucleus system was developed from our proprietary technology, which Hooli stole from Pied Piper despite their ridiculous lawsuit claiming the reverse. So if you watch this fight, it won’t just be two gigantic, shaven-headed, oiled, tattooed men getting kicked in the face…the same will also be happening to Pied Piper.

Servers in the Garage! Whee!

Greetings again, readers! 

This has been a challenging few days. Just as it seemed the Pied Piper team was about to move into luxurious new offices once inhabited by Zynga, today…we find ourselves once again back at Erlich’s.

Why? Well, our contracts to rent server space suddenly vanished like Julia Roberts in Sleeping With the Enemy! And we didn’t need to find a wedding ring in the toilet to know that a certain CEO of Hooli—who I will not dignify by naming—must have pulled some strings. Fortunately, Gilfoyle has impressive hardware skills, as well as a disturbingly apocalyptic worldview, and offered to stand-up servers himself in the Hacker Hostel garage. And that is how I was…discovered. 

I have a confession, readers. Sometimes my solicitude for the fortunes of Pied Piper comes at the expense of my person, whether it be my sleep, my digestive system or my apartment. You see, in an attempt to cut our budget I slashed my salary rather drastically and then discovered I could no longer afford my apartment. And so that was I came to be secretly living in Erlich’s garage, between a broken hydroponic tank and an apparently functional but abandoned NordicTrack.

Of course, once Gilfoyle needed the space, I cleared right out. Fortunately, our wonderful CEO Richard Hendricks graciously allowed me to sleep on a cot in his room. I felt so tiny and safe in that womb of innovation that I cannot describe the feeling.

In any case: Our new data center is up and running, our team continues to build out the platform and I have found an affordable place nearby, though I am occasionally bitten by a stray ferret in my sleep. (Long story!)

Our Workplace Harassment Policy

Time to get real here, people.

We’ve had a lot of fun on this blog. No one more than I. You have no idea how I look forward to settling down with the ol’ laptop, a nice pear cider and banging out a post for you good folks to read. But now, I want to start a dialogue about something of great importance, particularly here in the Valley where our track record has been decidedly mixed: I’m talking about Pied Piper’s workplace harassment policy. 

Pied Piper has instituted a zero-tolerance workplace harassment policy. Any employee experiencing harassment is urged to report this to the Acting Vice-Director of Human Resources—that’s me (no one else wanted to do it). I made myself vice instead of full acting director so as not to seem intimidating to employees wishing to report abuse. After a report of this kind, an investigation will occur. The employee(s) in question will be spoken to. And if appropriate, disciplined up to actual termination (!). The anonymity of the complainant will be strictly maintained. 

Pied Piper will, of course, have zero tolerance for harassment based on gender, race, sexuality, religion or lack thereof, class, trans status or ableness. Pied Piper will also of course not merely prohibit harassment that is direct and public but also less direct harassment that creates a hostile workplace. But furthermore, Pied Piper will join the cutting edge of the harassment-detection industry in forbidding microaggressions, nanoaggresions, picoaggressions, yoctoaggressions and all such oppression “particles,” if you will, down to the quantum level.

Pied Piper additionally forbids man-splaining, white-splaining, straight-splaining, cis-splaining, able-splaining, splain-splaining, splain-plaining, splain-shaming and, in general, saying things people doesn’t like. Discussion or possession of the Kurt Vonnegut short story “Harrison Bergeron” will be grounds for immediate termination.

Next Tuesday, I will lead a harassment workshop, “Understanding  Why What You’re Saying Is Terrible.” There will be cupcakes.

Problem 1:

Single Points of Failure

Libraries are vulnerable to losing their collection because all of their books are contained at a single location. Say, for instance, that there was a fire, or a flood, or a vandal defaced John James Audubon’s masterpiece Birds of America by giving all the Warblers human genitalia. Even worse, if the vandal recruited bird haters from other neighborhoods and got ahold of all the copies of the book in existence, it could be lost crude doodles forever. It would be a tragedy on par with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

The Problem

Because Birds of America is centralized in one public location, it’s susceptible to permanent deletion. The same goes for content on the Internet — storing all your family photos on a single account in a cloud service? They could all be wiped away if someone hacked your account or corrupted the host servers.

The Solution

Our solution: In our decentralized library, we would duplicate and distribute multiple copies of Birds of America to your neighbors — if you need a copy, you would just go to your neighbor’s house. As our Pipernet town of mobile devices grows, so do the number of neighbors who might have a copy of your book. And the more potential copies there are available, the more secure the book is.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: spread your personal files on devices across the world, so they’re completely safe from bad actors manipulating or deleting them.

Takeaways

All copies of your files in a well-known, hackable location = RISKY!

Files copied and distributed to multiple locations = SAFE!

Problem 2:

No Privacy

In order to check out books, you must have a library card — an ID that links back to your real world identity. That library card reveals all the books you’ve ever checked out, where you returned them, and whether they were returned on time.

The Problem

The tech titans collect data profiles on us too, and theirs are far more comprehensive. They amass thousands of personal data points by tracking our activities in both the online and physical worlds.

Users don’t own or control their own data, so it can be used against them. Take, for instance, Richard’s lawyer Pete Monahan, who had his probation revoked when the state retrieved his library records. Which was… probably a good idea. But for this metaphor’s purposes: bad that they can access that information!

On the web, our data profile is far more detailed, the laws around privacy even looser, and more freedoms are at stake. For example, what if Hooli sold your search data to an insurance company who then denied you coverage because you’ve HooliSearch-ed “kindest Palo Alto based Cardiologist” a few too many times?

The Solution

Replace library cards with anonymous identification cards which are impossible to connect to your real world identity. Instead of using a library card (linked to your name, address, etc.) to check out books, you would swipe a nondescript card (containing no personal details). Your activity would be tracked to keep the system stable, but your identity would not be siphoned and sold. I, for example, would no longer check out books as "Donald Dunn," but rather the nom de guerre "h3w0vbk37vpm."

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: use its apps and services without compromising your privacy.

Takeaways

Trading your identity and data for online services = RISKY!

Using services anonymously so nobody can target you = SAFE!

Problem 3:

Censorship and Manipulation

Because a town’s library is run by a small group of administrators, they could theoretically decide what books are available to its people. They could even decide to ban Birds of America, depriving young birders of Audubon’s elegant illustrations, pored over page by page under a government-issued blanket after lights out, giving you hope that even a slender-framed, shivering boy could grow to be as majestic as a Hooded Merganser.

The Problem

On the internet, multinational corporations can screen content, or even “adapt” their services to fit the local government’s requests. In both libraries and on the Web, we’re susceptible to data being censored or manipulated by intermediaries.

The Solution

A peer-to-peer lending system backed up by a fully public ledger, allowing you to send and receive books freely to anybody in the world without worrying about censorship or interference. Want to add Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, or your controversial essay on Audubon’s coloring techniques? No problem, even if the town surrounded you with pitchforks to ban them, these vital texts would be available to share neighbor to neighbor, impossible to delete.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: exchange messages and files directly with their intended receiver, disperse ideas and information free from threats of censorship.

Takeaways

Pushing all transactions through a central authority = OPPRESSIVE!

Establishing a peer to peer exchange system based on an immutable public ledger = FREE!

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