The mysterious Uber Waymo settlement, fighting prejudice with travel and getting the social media clicks you deserve

This Wednesday, March 1, 2017, photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. A combative CEO leading a fast-growing company with ambitions to dominate ride-hailing across the globe gave rise to Uber’s latest public image nightmare, a videotaped clash with a driver over prices that’s become a viral video. The argument illustrates how Uber’s thirst to grow by cutting prices to weaken competition conflicts with the needs of its 400,000 drivers who have seen their income fall. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By Jason Middleton

Creativity and forward-thinking, while incredibly rewarding, can be lucrative and often goes unnoticed. It’s the problem of “signal to noise.” There is so much media (and otherwise) noise, that it can be difficult to stand out among the distracted masses.

To be a hit takes some luck, but it also takes some science.

This week Derek Thompson drops into the studio, for segment one, to share his findings from his best-selling, entertaining and award-winning book, “Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction.” Derek is also a senior editor at The Atlantic.

A typical review on the text, this one from USA Today:

  • While giving Lady Luck her due, Thompson studiously examines the myriad factors that make the things we buy, like and follow so irresistible: whether Facebook, TV shows such as Seinfeld, Bumble (the app, not the insect), even favorite lullabies. In Hit Makers, his first book, Thompson tackles this mystery with solid research, ready wit and catchy aphorisms…a wonderful book.

Then, in segment two, we turn our attention to travel and how it broadens horizons, while simultaneously diminishing prejudice.

Rick Steves, an author, travel expert and social activist, has issued a new edition of his book “Travel as a Political Act: How to Leave Your Baggage Behind.”

Steves wrote a new introduction, while also updating the internal stories and chapters!

He would like us all to get back to saying ‘Bon voyage!’ rather than ‘Safe travels!’ — because, statistically speaking, we are safer traveling through Europe than we are staying in the U.S.

Some other takeaways from his new book:

  • Terrorism is overrated
  • Brexit is going to suck
  • Seeing both sides of a narrative is fomented through travel

Finally, we try to make some sense of the Blockbuster settlement between Waymo and Uber in our third segment. It’s a court battle that took two armies of lawyers a year to work toward, only to have it unexpectedly settled on the fifth day of testimony.

Waymo settled its allegations of trade-secret theft for $245 million (a small stake in Uber’s equity. Interestingly, despite the abrupt agreement, Uber is standing they’re ground that they did nothing wrong.

Silicon Valley is still unpacking what it means. So we asked MLex’s Mike Swift to join us. He’s covered these cases for years, and was in the courtroom when it was settled.

Please click on any of the above links for more information! Visit our show page to view all our podcasts (see this week’s segments mentioned in the article below). You can follow our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter for additional updates!

Have great weeks, everybody!


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