GigaOM Reads: A look back at the week in tech

A quick word: We are kicking off GigaOM Reads, a weekly column that look back at some of the important technology stories of the week and our take on the news. In addition, we will curate some of the more interesting stories and blog posts we find worth sharing – Om & Kristy.

CEO's And Corporate Executives Gather For Annual Allan And Co Gathering In Sun ValleyGroupon’s 2-for-1 CEO deal: Groupon (s grpn), decidedly the most non-tech company pretending to be a tech company fired Andrew Mason, founder & CEO, and replaced him with not one but two CEOs — Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis, who are taking over as co-CEOs. Not to poop on their parade, but weren’t these two gentlemen supposed to prevent the current state of chaos at the company as board members? Something stinks, and it is not kielbasa. In what seems to be a perfect exit interview, Mason had some choice things to say:

“I think in the first phase of our company, we were a glorified mailing list. We had a completely unintelligent email that we sent out once a day and we had a human sales force that was going around and procuring the deals.”

As for Mason, he is looking for a fat farm to lose what he adorably calls “Groupon 40.” I am going to miss his nonsensical utterances.

Marissa Mayer

Everybody hates (or loves) Marissa Mayer & loves(or hates) Sheryl Sandberg: Well, at least everyone in media has something to say about two of the brightest and more powerful women in Silicon Valley, Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg. They were both making headlines this week for what seems to be all the wrong (or right) reasons.

Mayer wants her remote-working Yahoos (s yhoo) to come back to the office, and while some claimed that this was the worst decision possible for the company (and its working parents), others argue that maybe we could all use more separation between work and life. Even we couldn’t decide with Mayer’s idea that the best ideas come from “hallway and cafeteria collaboration,” the fact remains — people are talking about Yahoo again.

Hoping to recreate a Betty Friedian-like social movement empowering women in the workplace, Sheryl Sandberg’s individualized take on feminism outlined in her new book, Lean In, may not strike the cord she had hoped. In fact, prominent entrepreneurial women have denounced the cause as unrealistic, while others insist that men must also become passionate change agents  in order for the business world to become more balanced.

By the way, those two news items sparked a lively thread on our internal messaging system.

Sergey Brin Google Glass

Technology’s worst dressed guy is emasculated by phones: Google (s goog) co-founder Sergey Brin, who is not exactly Bernard Arnault (CEO of LVMH, if you must ask), feels that smartphones are “emasculating.” He was speaking at the TED conference and his comments resulted in a flurry of commentary around gender issues.

The general body language of your average smartphone user aside, his comments indicate that Glass could evolve to include cellular phone service, but the truth is that health concerns might hinder adoption by the masses. One thing that might help make Google Glass cool? Its rumored partnership with hipster darling Warby Parker. But those are minor issues, as author Mark Hurst rightfully argues. The real issue is how we as human beings will interact with people with Google glasses and how that will change our daily experiences, he said.

“Google Glass is like one camera car for each of the thousands, possibly millions, of people who will wear the device – every single day, everywhere they go – on sidewalks, into restaurants, up elevators, around your office, into your home. From now on, starting today, anywhere you go within range of a Google Glass device, everything you do could be recorded and uploaded to Google’s cloud, and stored there for the rest of your life. You won’t know if you’re being recorded or not; and even if you do, you’ll have no way to stop it. And that, my friends, is the experience that Google Glass creates. That is the experience we should be thinking about. The most important Google Glass experience is not the user experience – it’s the experience of everyone else. The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change.” [Mark Hurst]

Does that future scare you? Then you should read Joel Hladeck’s amusing letter from the future that talks about why Google glasses kinda went the way of AltaVista.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

Getty Images

Oscars & Hard times at CGI Corral: Darlings of the big screen and red carpet took home their golden statues at the Oscars last Sunday, but not all is well for the behind-the-scenes crew. The visual effects industry is facing hard times due to foreign outsourcing and subsidies, with large and small studios alike facing layoffs and closures. You may have caught Bill Westenhofer attempting to broach the subject after winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for Life of Pi before being ushered off the stage to the theme of Jaws, which now seems oddly appropriate given that thousands of jobs are dead in the water.

Talking about Oscars, congrats to PopSugar for launching PopSugar Live. Their live red carpet show from the Oscars got about a million views, putting them in the cable television territory. Who needs cable (TV) when you have broadband?

Calvin Klein Collection - Front Row - Fall 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Getty Images

Fashion and tech in one place! What could go wrong: Conde Nast rolled out the red carpet for geeks during this years’ New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week by hosting a first-of-its-kind fashion and tech hackathon to create new ideas around how to use technology in the industry. We do admit that does sound kinda crazy and, well, Conde Nast isn’t who we turn to for innovation tips. But then again, the fashion industry is so far behind that they need to start somewhere. We would also recommend watching out for a whole new breed of fashion media upstarts that are frankly more fun and engaging than perusing dowdy Conde Nast.

Beyond Fashion Week, a handful of forward-thinking companies are already capitalizing on the use of technology in fashion, and creating a brand new way to shop, and find the perfect fit online

It is now the Internet of things:

“We are beginning to learn what it is like to use the Internet to communicate with things that are not humans.” — Vint Cerf at TED2013 (via Twitter)

We at GigaOM have been on it for a while, writing about the topic for a few years now. But now we are taking the show on the road and are hosting a series of meetups like the most recent one in San Francisco and the next one in Boulder, Colorado. Our belief: Ideally, the internet of things should fade into the background; what matters is what it allows people to do.

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And what here are some stories from this week you might have missed.

Google holidays

  1. Battle of the campuses: Google told Vanity Fair that it would soon be breaking ground on a new 1.1-million square foot campus, and it’s quite the contrast from Apple’s upcoming futuristic spaceship-like HQ coming in 2016. Richie King at Quartz explored what these vastly opposing architectural footprints say about the personality of each company.
  2. Jimmy Iovine needs to make up his mind: He can’t undermine music curation without undermining Music by Beats, the company he owns and will disown soon.
  3. Microsoft wants to be cool: And it will never be cool, according to a former Apple guy and a former Microsoft guy.
  4. Tim Cook & Apple versus Wall Street: The New Yorker’s John Cassidy rightfully argued that we shouldn’t pity the hedgies.
  5. The problem with Facebook data: Well, there is a lot to dislike about Facebook’s “Like” argued Alan Wolk.

Read this and other in-depth articles on GigaOM’s Flipboard channel