Benner on Tech: See Jeb Tweet, Meerkat and LOL

Katie Benner is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes about technology, innovation, and the cult and culture of Silicon Valley. She lives in San Francisco.
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People are Talking About…

Jeb Bush accidentally checked the Hispanic box on his voter registration form. His mistake spawned some think pieces, and the takeaway, it seems, is that the error was embarrassing, not criminal. Things got sort of interesting after the mistake was uncovered, in that Bush's response pointed to how important (and possibly unbearable) social media is going to get during the 2016 race as politicians hijack our streams. The 2008 and 2012 elections were (for the Obama campaign at least) all about data collection and microtargeted e-mail campaigns and canvassing. U.S. President Barack Obama has since expanded his repertoire. He tried to use Twitter as a tool in 2011, and he later did a Reddit AMA. No other politician has been able to recreate the president’s huge online presence, and few other politicians have put as much effort into going viral.

Now everyone’s on the big data bandwagon and has basically embraced technology, so this election we’ll get all get buried in the deluge of targeted emails we got four years ago. And if hopefuls like Rand Paul and even Jeb Bush are any indication, Obama won’t be the only politician who tries to be an Internet sensation, or at least an emoji-fluent citizen of the Web. This is where the young, female, minority voters live.

That brings me back to Jeb Bush and his voter registration form. By way of apology for the mix-up, his son Jeb Bush Jr. (the Bush family is parsimonious with given names) posted a vaguely millennial-sounding tweet, hashtag and all.

And then Jeb Bush Sr. retweeted his son and threw in a few exclamation points. There were no emojis. But the incident did yield an LOL.

Jeb Bush, who has 173,000 followers, is still getting the hang of the whole Twitter thing. Rand Paul, with 563,000 Twitter followers, is considered a GOP king of social media. (Obama has 57.7 million followers.) But Jeb Bush is trying very hard. This little registration scuffle was like social media practice. He’s been known to take selfies; he loves Meerkat. He was the second presumed presidential candidate to live-stream, while Rand Paul, of course, was the first. Bush used Meerkat to broadcast a Fox News Radio interview and a speech about being a happy warrior.

Welcome to the 2016 race -- 20 months of memes, Twitter zingers, Facebook/Instagram announcements and live-streamed speeches. By the time the dust clears and we have a new president, we’ll want to grind our mobile devices into dust.

The Bubble Debate Floats on

Whether it’s a risk bubble or an asset bubble or whatever you want to call it, Redpoint Ventures’ Tomasz Tunguz created a set of charts that showed how huge the private funding market has gotten. It’s another nice visualization for the folks who believe the tech bubble is real and that it’s expressed in private, not public, investments. And Tunguz’s post led First Round’s Josh Kopelman to write a series of tweets talking about how not-very-liquid markets can hide serious deterioration in valuations because the stocks trade and are repriced so seldom. This adds to any big valuation risks brewing in the private investment market, especially if the market for initial public offerings remains subdued.

What Was the Other 1 Percent Like?

Delphi completed the first ever coast-to-coast trip for an automated vehicle. From San Francisco to New York City, 99 percent of the ride was done in a fully automated mode.


Buttercoin, a Google Ventures-backed bitcoin exchange, shuts down at the end of the week. (TechCrunch)

Pure Storage, which has a $3 billion-ish valuation, hired Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays to lead its IPO. (Reuters)

Snapchat introduced a life-changing emoji feature. (Mashable)

Venmo users love emoji too and possibly eat too much pizza. (Quartz)

Time to short taxi cab medallion lenders. (Crain’s New York Business)

People and Personnel Moves

Andy Rubin, who created Android, joined Redpoint as a venture partner. He also raised $48 million for his new business Playground Global, which provides support and advice to hardware startups in exchange for equity. (the Wall Street Journal)

Matt Murphy, who’s most famous for firing Ellen Pao, left Kleiner Perkins after a 15-year stint at the firm. (Bloomberg)

Sridhar Ramaswamy, a longtime Google employee, is the most important online advertising exec you’ve never heard of. (the Information)

Roseanne Wincek joined Institutional Venture Partners as a vice president who invests in later-stage, high-growth companies. Alexander Lim joined IVP as an associate. (PE Hub)

Jonah Becker, a former smartphone design head at HTC, is now Fitbit's VP of industrial design. (Engadget)

Sarahjane Sacchetti, the former head of marketing at Secret, is now director of marketing at healthcare startup Collective Health.


Amazon is successfully luring away EBay’s merchants. (Bloomberg)

Apple’s map app now includes reviews from TripAdvisor and, so its exclusive deal with Yelp to integrate local business reviews is seemingly over. (Mac Rumors) The company won’t let anyone with a criminal record do construction work on its new headquarters. This is considered unusual. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Facebook can now be used by New Yorkers to serve divorce papers. (New York Daily News)

Netflix acquired the rights to “Special Correspondents,” a movie written and directed by Ricky Gervais. (Deadline)

Samsung’s quarterly operating income fell by 31 percent to 5.9 trillion won ($5.4 billion), which isn’t as bad as analysts’ 5.5 trillion won estimate. The stock rose on the news. (Bloomberg)

Security Watch

Americans don’t care much about U.S. government spy programs. So John Oliver took a compromising photo and flew to Russia to interview Edward Snowden to get us to care. Or at least to clarify that Snowden isn’t the same guy as Julian Assange. Here’s my take.

Media Files

Comcast gives to many charities, companies and other high-profile community figures; a lot of them are supporting its bid to buy Time Warner Cable. (the New York Times)

Viacom is writing down the value of some shows, in part because of the impact of online services like Netflix. (the Wall Street Journal)

News and Notes

Turkey briefly blocked Facebook and Twitter over a photo of a slain hostage. (Bloomberg)

The Justice Department brought its first online price fixing case against a man who allegedly conspired with other sellers to fix the prices of posters on the Amazon Marketplace. (Reuters)

Hackathons have become networking and job-recruiting hot spots. (the New York Times)

Gamergate is trying to oust Ellen Pao.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the editor on this story:
Maria Lamagna at