direwolff's Techdirt Profile


About direwolff Techdirt Insider

I have been a founder or on the founding management team of several early stage companies over the past 12 yrs. Frequently in the role of VP of Business &/or Corporate Development, and have been responsible for M&A transactions, private equity fundraising, and development of strategic partner programs. In addition to this, I currently sit on the advisory board of 4 early through mid stage private companies and have seen a fifth get acquired by a public company.

The common thread to the different areas I have worked in is that they all have something to do w/the Internet. The specific areas I have worked in or advised on include: payment systems, ad networks, online communities/social networks, financial information services, semantic web, indexing/classification/search technologies, content syndication technologies, loyalty programs, and click-to-call technology.

I started my online career working for Reuters NewMedia, exploring investments in the first wave of Internet companies in 1994.

direwolff's Comments comment rss

  • Sep 09, 2022 @ 10:53am

    you kinda can't say this any more

    you can't take a "it's the Republicans' fault" attitude like this: "Section 230 is NOT SPECIAL PROTECTIONS FOR LARGE PROVIDERS. That’s a lie. Mostly made up by disgruntled Republicans who want websites to be forced to carry their propaganda and disinformation through must-carry provisions." Especially that it appears on a Democratic President's objectives page and is as commonly bandied around by Democrats as it is by Republicans. Consider not making a bi-partisan clusterf**k just a partisan one ;)

  • Feb 15, 2021 @ 06:11pm

    Danielle Citron’s involvement

    Hi Mike,

    While you rightly lambaste the Senators that sponsored this bill, I’m noticing that you have no mention here of Danielle. I only caught this interview she did, https://www.law.virginia.edu/news/202102/cutting-edge-free-speech-citron-advocates-reform, where it makes clear that played what it appears to be an advisory role in crafting this bill. She is certainly a credible privacy activist, and yet it feels like she somewhat missed the mark here? Where’s the deserving criticism for her positions here given that she ought to know better? Perhaps her interview helps explain the context of her positions, though it still feels off to me.


  • Nov 27, 2020 @ 05:16pm

    Avail of the legal system when convenient

    One has to snicker a bit at the fact that Binance of all companies, who has to move its HQ from various countries worked to circumvent regulations, now decides to avail itself of legal system they appear to have so thoroughly tried to avoid. It is amusing ????

  • Apr 13, 2015 @ 09:28pm

    Would love to hear or read Todd Kiser's reaction to this latest development :)

  • Jan 29, 2015 @ 12:44pm

    Governments position amusing...

    ...especially in light of the fact that they are the least trustworthy most dangerous groups cyber assaulting everyone. In related news: "Link between NSA and Regin cyberespionage malware becomes clearer" (http://www.computerworld.com/article/2875921/link-between-nsa-and-regin-cyberespionage-malware-becomes-clearer.html). Oy!

  • Jan 28, 2015 @ 04:02pm

    Aren't we missing something here?

    For all the market dynamics and integrated services listed here that make this interesting and possible, we should be VERY afraid given how it could enable Google to violate our privacy (otherwise said, enable the gov't to have easier access to any info about us) with greater ease over so many more aspects of our lives. Basically, this would represent every user of this service signing up to being a committed piece of the Googleborg, versus just simply having some scattered pieces across various services. My enthusiasm here stops short of the fear this creates given their track record on privacy and personal security. The latest Wikileaks investigation and accompanying information requests and "gag" orders that were fought and/or observed make it pretty certain that in this scenario things can only get worse.

  • Dec 10, 2014 @ 03:18pm

    It's Knight Rider's fault

    So back in 1983 I worked for a small PC-based speaker dependent voice-recognition system company that competed with the likes of Kurzweil, Dragon Systems and Votan, if any of you are from that era. The novelty in what we had developed was that the circuitry was on short slot PC add-on board. Some of the early PC-compatible portables (aka. luggables) had one short slot and several long board slots, but few boards could fit into the short slot. Ours did. We also were able to recognize 1024 discrete words, which was, at the time we released it, more words than any other system supported. Most were still at 64 or 128 words. They were all clumsy, where you had to go through and take multiple passes to train all the words.

    I recall attending the biggest conference in Vegas at the time, COMDEX, and doing demos at our booth, showing how it could be used with popular PC programs like Lotus 1-2-3. Imagine if you will, a guy wearing a headset talking to a luggable computer running Lotus saying, "column width"..."1"..."2"..."enter"..."up"..."left"..."equals"..."equals"..."EQUALS!"..."sum"..."b"..."5"..."thru"..."thru"..."THRU!"..."f"..."5"... ok, you get the gist. To lots the technologists this was amazing. They loved it and were willing to part with $495 to get their gadget fix on. However, the non-technologists would always ask, "what's so amazing about that? There's a car on TV that can talk."...damn you Knight Rider! ;)

    I worked for a company called Impermium acquired by Google, that focused exclusively on social media spam and offensive language around comments and other public social media spaces. I now work at real-time streaming social media management company that offers a commenting platform and has developed its own spam and offensive language detection systems. It's striking to see the lengths that people are willing to go through to avoid detection from spewing their negativity (or commercial messages) and one quickly realizes the number of different ways that make the problem of managing this near intractable. When combining this with the number of innocent interactions that can be misinterpreted outside of the context of the participants, makes one appreciate the complexity of this problem which ContentID can only scratch the surface of the surface on.

    Fortunately, Sarah Jeong did a great take down of ContentID, but what Ms. Valenti clearly doesn't understand is that there are lots of people and companies actually trying to solve this immensely complex problem. The flip side of the tech ignorant is that they're also tech idealists, and nothing exemplifies this more than how she set-up her piece. There are cars on TV that can understand us, therefore making a computer program understand is easy. There are technologies for picking off exact duplicates of TV shows, movies and music, so picking off duplicates of contextual references should be easy...oy!

  • Nov 25, 2014 @ 05:38pm

    Re: Please warn of paywalled articles

    Do a Google search for the title of the article and you will get free access to it when you click on the first search result for the WSJ site.

  • Nov 21, 2014 @ 02:23pm

    Prevailing irony ;)

    Let the irony not be lost on all the naysayers that suggest that comments suck or that no one reads them, or blah-blah-blah no one cares about comments...that you're making those statements in the comments section of this post :)

  • Nov 21, 2014 @ 09:58am


    Comments are great when publishers take them seriously and engage and set norms. What often gets lost when talking generally about comments, is that everyone believes this should be a free-for-all, anything goes, cacophony. However, making comments a valuable part of publisher's site and experience, requires a more hands-on approach than many publishers want to take.

    Re/Code, for its part, is operated by a small team who might not have felt able to provide the attention needed to make their comments section more valuable. If they had asked me, I would have suggested that they try different ways of seeking higher quality interactions by vetting users (whether through attendance to their events, creating paywall for comments, or other means). As well, there's nothing that says that a site *MUST* allow all comments on their site, and just like they curate and select the stories that will appear on their site, they should be moderating out low quality commentary (as they see fit). I would have considered allowing the community of readers to vote comments up or down (a la Quora) as a means of pushing up the higher quality content while pushing down the noise or the trite responses.

    Net-net however, all of this requires a commitment level that it doesn't feel like any of these publishers have. What's sad is that finding a central place where a conversation on a story is happening is not easy on the social networks (unless you actively search for it). If people are commenting on Twitter and Facebook, and you're not connected to them, then it's unlikely that you will see this conversation. That's disappointing. Twitter and Facebook have their place, but nothing can substitute for the original publisher of a story to act as central source for the conversation on the topics covered.

  • Sep 11, 2014 @ 01:28pm

    Conflating the "free" argument

    The challenge with using the term "free" is a semantic and a contextual one. Focusing on the contextual issue, "free" is relative to the consumer of music not the producer. The idea that we can predicate business models where consumers don't pay with money but with their attention happens all the time. Providing free content in exchange for consumers seeing ads is a simple example of that. In this case, consumers don't pay money (hence "free") but they still have an exchange of currency with the provider of the content who can monetize consumers' attention.

    When we get to the producer of content (in this case musicians), producing music is only one aspect of the "business of providing consumers with music". Other aspects of this business include getting attention for their music, which they can do by buying ads, getting friends or fans to review their music on music review sites, or getting distributors of music to feature their music in exchange for a percentage of each sale they generate. If they don't have the funds or the friends/fans to get attention, then giving their music away is their marketing cost. In other words, they paid with their content instead of with paying money to publications (for advertising) or distributors (sales commissions).

    If they're not in the "business" of making music but do so as hobbyists, then there should be no expectation of making money, unless in giving it away they develop a following and can then choose to market their music in other ways to better monetize it. Of course, many musicians may view themselves as being in the business of making music, but to the extent that their best monetization option is by performing concerts then they should realize that their value proposition is as an entertainer not a content producer. If it's in selling paraphernalia or other items relating to their brand, then they are retailers or distributors of that content. The music itself becomes just their currency of exchange for marketing which they believe presents a favorable ROI against the business that they are really in.

    It's silly to have arguments about "free" without some context around what's being exchanged and what free really is. Heck, some times I wonder if there's anything that's really free any more...certainly not anything on the Internet ;)

  • Feb 19, 2014 @ 01:13pm

    Another possibility...

    "That the NY Times would publish such a piece highlights, yet again, how the famed newspaper so frequently appears to have little actual knowledge of the subjects it covers, often being a useful propaganda engine for certain special interests who can "place" a bogus story in a way that can have an impact on policies."

    ...OR the NY Times knows exactly what it's doing and siding with copyright maximalists :(

  • Sep 10, 2013 @ 02:19pm

    To broadcast or not to broadcast, that is the question

    While the rationale for the ruling certainly seems screwy (technical term ;), it feels like the distinction here is that WiFi interactions aren't purely broadcast, in that a user initiates a request with the intent being for the response to only come back to them. The fact that someone else is packet sniffing, which is likely being done without the requester's knowledge or approval, makes this the surreptitious activity that is likely being called out.

    By way of analogy, sending a sealed envelope by "snail mail" offers no real protection beyond that which the seal's glue can provide. One could argue that it's not much protection, and yet we have developed laws as a means of building trust in that form of communication, that an opened sealed envelope by someone other than who it was originally addressed to, is a federal offense, and this carries harsh penalties. In other words, just because it's technically feasible to open an envelope (or to sniff a data stream) doesn't mean it should be legal. For their to be a modicum of trust in these communications, there needs to be disincentives. Of course, my disincentive logic fails immediately when we learn that the NSA isn't subject to any of this ;)

    Again, while I believe their ruling's justification is a kludge, I can't disagree with its intent.

  • Jul 26, 2013 @ 10:57am


    It didn't disappear, it's just *transparent*. You just need the Confidential Secret Decoder Pen light source to see what it says ;)

  • Jun 11, 2013 @ 08:20am

    From the "I hasBigBalls" department

    Check this story out: http://news.iafrica.com/worldnews/864357.html

    Of specific interest are Clapper's statements like:

    But in an interview with NBC News, portions of which aired on Sunday, he called the disclosures "literally gut-wrenching" and said they had caused "huge, grave damage" to US intelligence capabilities.

    "The NSA has filed a crimes report on this already," Clapper told NBC, referring to the leaks to The Guardian and The Washington Post.

    He said he was "profoundly offended" that a disgruntled intelligence officer was a source for the leak to the Post. "This is someone who for whatever reason has chosen to violate a sacred trust for this country," he said.

    Wow! Someone should explain to him that "deeply offended" is an understatement of how we feel about his actions and that lying to Congress should more than offend him, it should incarcerate him ;)

  • Jun 10, 2013 @ 02:03pm

    They did!

    The ACLU filed a new lawsuit: http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/aclu-seeks-secret-court-opinions-authorizing-nsas-mass

  • Jun 10, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Only himself to blame

    First a question, why in Rep. Sensenbrenner do his opinion piece on a British news site (The Guardian) rather than an 'merican one?

    As for his version of what was intended, there was no lack of warnings from all of the public advocacy groups (EFF, ACLU, EPIC, CCR, et. al.), that the language rushed through in the Patriot Act could easily be interpreted as it has. They chose to ignore and fight vehemently to get this Act through at all costs with their most earnest convictions. To all of the Congress people who helped pass the Patriot Act, we should simply turn and give them the big middle finger knowing that regardless of their "intentions", they've messed with this country in more ways than imaginable.

  • Feb 11, 2013 @ 01:14pm

    This clearly falls into the camp of "doing nothing is better than doing something" ;)

  • Nov 29, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Re: Ironic

    Her hubby or brother appears to be the Managing Director at the company, de.linkedin.com/pub/john-van-etten-ma/7/b58/684

  • Nov 29, 2012 @ 10:23am

    This post needs a new title :)

    In reading this post, I was quickly reminded of the old SNL with Dan Ackyroyd's line to Jane Curtin in Weekend Update's point-counterpoint segment, with a slight modification: "Human Synergistics International, you ignorant slut!" :)

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