Will Pando Solve Your Digital Media Problems (Like It Solved Mine)?

I used to have a problem, but a friend of mine helped me with it. He didn’t know he was helping me; in fact, he wasn’t even my friend when this problem first cropped up. So, to clarify: he’s a new friend who helped me solve an old problem.

My problem was this: I often record interviews on an Olympus digital recorder, and then download those files to my computer. But I generally don’t transcribe my own interviews anymore, so now I would need to get that digital file onto my research assistant’s computer so she could transcribe it. Unfortunately, even a 60-minute digital audio file is way too big to e-mail. This meant I had to burn a CD or put the file on a flash drive; either way, my researcher had to physically get the data from me. This wasn’t a big deal until she moved to Minnesota for a few months (long story). I resorted to FedEx’ing CD’s to her, which worked okay but was an expense and a hassle.

Enter Robert Levitan. He is a good friend of a good friend of mine, and I met Robert when he offered to help me think through the future of Freakonomics.com (another long story). He is a web guy of long standing and good repute, one of the founders of both iVillage and Flooz.com. His current venture is called Pando. “What,” I asked him when we first spoke, “is Pando?”

Pando, as it turns out, is a pretty simple program that lets you send and receive really large data files via your e-mail — either video, audio, data, any kind of media that lives on a computer. (Poof: my problem with the digital audio files was instantly solved.) But what’s more interesting is that Pando may represent the future of media distribution. This week, the company launched a new version that not only lets you send and receive large files personally, but also lets you subscribe to RSS video and audio feeds.

Pando is now in talks with networks and other content suppliers. So imagine a world where, instead of visiting different content destinations — NBC TV, for instance, or NBC.com, or NPR or whomever — in order to pull down the specific content you want, you program your computer to receive whatever content you regularly want from whatever content providers make it, and it comes to you. (It’s kind of like a Google Reader for video and audio content.) And once you have the file, you can move it around wherever you want. In a perfect world, Pando would let me get media from anywhere and share it with anyone — and I wouldn’t have to let every media company on the planet put a piece of distribution software on my computer.

As the TV networks, movie studios, and other content providers face the digital future with trepidation, I wonder if Pando may have a hand in solving their problems as well.

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COMMENTS: 46


  1. Wasp Star says:

    You could have used File Transfer Protocol, or BitTorrent and bypassed email altogether. People have been passing large files to each other this way for years.

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  2. Wasp Star says:

    You could have used File Transfer Protocol, or BitTorrent and bypassed email altogether. People have been passing large files to each other this way for years.

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  3. tonyskyday says:

    Pando looks neat, but there are some other services (like dropsend.com) that let you send and recieve files without downloading desktop software. I’ve heard of some other sevices as well, but I can’t recall their names right now.

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  4. tonyskyday says:

    Pando looks neat, but there are some other services (like dropsend.com) that let you send and recieve files without downloading desktop software. I’ve heard of some other sevices as well, but I can’t recall their names right now.

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  5. gadc says:

    Skype also let’s you do file transfer, though I am not sure of limitations on size.

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  6. gadc says:

    Skype also let’s you do file transfer, though I am not sure of limitations on size.

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  7. speed says:

    Microsoft Windows Live Messenger (their version of instant messenger) gives you (and your assistant) a sharing folder to ” … drop in photos and other stuff, as many as your computer can handle.”

    I’ve sent and received gigabyte size files with no fuss. Drag and drop. It just works.

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  8. speed says:

    Microsoft Windows Live Messenger (their version of instant messenger) gives you (and your assistant) a sharing folder to ” … drop in photos and other stuff, as many as your computer can handle.”

    I’ve sent and received gigabyte size files with no fuss. Drag and drop. It just works.

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  9. Chewxy says:

    Rapidshare, Megaupload, and the like :D

    I agree with speed that WLM is good too

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  10. Chewxy says:

    Rapidshare, Megaupload, and the like :D

    I agree with speed that WLM is good too

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  11. allboutcontent says:

    With video RSS, Pando could be a great resource for both consumers and content producers. The content I want, delivered to me is tough to beat. Sounds like a lot less time searching and more time watching. Plus because it’s downloads, not streaming, you’re not sacrificing picture or sound quality. That’s a good formula.

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  12. allboutcontent says:

    With video RSS, Pando could be a great resource for both consumers and content producers. The content I want, delivered to me is tough to beat. Sounds like a lot less time searching and more time watching. Plus because it’s downloads, not streaming, you’re not sacrificing picture or sound quality. That’s a good formula.

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  13. Yaron says:

    Thanks Stephen for the great write up. We’re big freak-fans here at Pando so this really made our day.

    You definitely got the gist of what we’re up to. The powerful consumer-to-consumer media sharing features of Pando enable our unique model of people-powered media “super-distribution”; a concept inspired by another book we love; “Linked”.

    In effect, we’re doing for hi-res portable (downloadable) media what YouTube has done for low-res streaming media; made it really easy for people to share and syndicate media they love via email and the Web. Content owners have really come around to recognizing the tremendous potential of putting consumers in control of media consumption and distribution. Exciting times ahead.

    Thanks again for recognizing us!

    -Yaron
    Founder, Pando Networks

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  14. Yaron says:

    Thanks Stephen for the great write up. We’re big freak-fans here at Pando so this really made our day.

    You definitely got the gist of what we’re up to. The powerful consumer-to-consumer media sharing features of Pando enable our unique model of people-powered media “super-distribution”; a concept inspired by another book we love; “Linked”.

    In effect, we’re doing for hi-res portable (downloadable) media what YouTube has done for low-res streaming media; made it really easy for people to share and syndicate media they love via email and the Web. Content owners have really come around to recognizing the tremendous potential of putting consumers in control of media consumption and distribution. Exciting times ahead.

    Thanks again for recognizing us!

    -Yaron
    Founder, Pando Networks

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  15. pkimelma says:

    It seems a shame that none of these have a login-free way to allow other people to send *you* a large file. That is, I would like to be able to send someone an email with a link. They click the link and it takes them to a site where they can choose local files to send back to me. The link would code a unique ID, so I could time expire it (avoid spam). This seems so natural that I am amazed I cannot find this anywhere.

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  16. pkimelma says:

    It seems a shame that none of these have a login-free way to allow other people to send *you* a large file. That is, I would like to be able to send someone an email with a link. They click the link and it takes them to a site where they can choose local files to send back to me. The link would code a unique ID, so I could time expire it (avoid spam). This seems so natural that I am amazed I cannot find this anywhere.

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  17. turadg says:

    “In a perfect world, Pando would let me get media from anywhere and share it with anyone — and I wouldn’t have to let every media company on the planet put a piece of distribution software on my computer.”

    That would is here today with open standards. Do we want to let the future of media distribution depend on proprietary software?

    Democracy Player distributes video and audio in the way you describe, using RSS for channels, BitTorrent for distribution, and an open-source desktop application for viewing which works on Windows, Mac and Linux. Unlike Pando or any of the other proprietary systems emerging, nothing prevents any software or platforms from accessing the same content. There is no gatekeeper.

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  18. turadg says:

    “In a perfect world, Pando would let me get media from anywhere and share it with anyone – and I wouldn’t have to let every media company on the planet put a piece of distribution software on my computer.”

    That would is here today with open standards. Do we want to let the future of media distribution depend on proprietary software?

    Democracy Player distributes video and audio in the way you describe, using RSS for channels, BitTorrent for distribution, and an open-source desktop application for viewing which works on Windows, Mac and Linux. Unlike Pando or any of the other proprietary systems emerging, nothing prevents any software or platforms from accessing the same content. There is no gatekeeper.

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  19. T says:

    Google Talk does file transfers too with no file size limits.

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  20. T says:

    Google Talk does file transfers too with no file size limits.

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  21. volterra says:

    i didn’t know Pando. the first impression is that it’s great

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  22. volterra says:

    i didn’t know Pando. the first impression is that it’s great

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  23. gardnertoo says:

    dropload.com works well for large files too, and the recipient does not have to register.

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  24. gardnertoo says:

    dropload.com works well for large files too, and the recipient does not have to register.

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  25. coldfusioneer says:

    i think what could win the race for media content distribution is speed. if i wanna view a video, i wanna be able to view it instantly. there’s a company getting in this race, called rocketstream, they have a free p2p solution for file transfer called rocketstream. probably worth a mention.

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  26. coldfusioneer says:

    i think what could win the race for media content distribution is speed. if i wanna view a video, i wanna be able to view it instantly. there’s a company getting in this race, called rocketstream, they have a free p2p solution for file transfer called rocketstream. probably worth a mention.

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  27. Mukund says:

    Pando is cross platform (Windows and Mac). That helped me a lot in sharing data with my family and friends. The size of the desktop application is quite small and the packaging feature with preview is good. I have been using it since beta with no major issues. Any problems that I faced are usually due to version changes and they go away after I upgrade.

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  28. Mukund says:

    Pando is cross platform (Windows and Mac). That helped me a lot in sharing data with my family and friends. The size of the desktop application is quite small and the packaging feature with preview is good. I have been using it since beta with no major issues. Any problems that I faced are usually due to version changes and they go away after I upgrade.

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  29. Reymond says:

    Is the best program in the world.

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  30. Reymond says:

    Is the best program in the world.

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  31. reymond says:

    is a very good program but i think that the program need moore things

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  32. reymond says:

    is a very good program but i think that the program need moore things

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  33. sara says:

    my girl

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  34. sara says:

    my girl

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  35. ahmed says:

    is it one time payment or yearly

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  36. ahmed says:

    is it one time payment or yearly

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  37. Brian says:

    Loved the book… As the first person noted, in your application a dedicated FTP server/client would be a quick solution. Your data would never be on anyone else’s server.

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  38. Brian says:

    Loved the book… As the first person noted, in your application a dedicated FTP server/client would be a quick solution. Your data would never be on anyone else’s server.

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  39. Anna says:

    I use Nakido.com to share raw photo files in my blog. I like they don’t have file size limit and do not delete my files so I can keep a permanent download link.

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  40. Anna says:

    I use Nakido.com to share raw photo files in my blog. I like they don’t have file size limit and do not delete my files so I can keep a permanent download link.

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  41. Din says:

    I have used Pando before but the speed ain’t that impressive.

    For rapid file transfers, a neater solution would be Rocketstream. http://www.rocketstream.com

    If Pando has the speed of Rocketstream, it would even be more impressive. Imagine media delivery to anywhere over the world at high speed, minutes not hours.

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  42. Din says:

    I have used Pando before but the speed ain’t that impressive.

    For rapid file transfers, a neater solution would be Rocketstream. http://www.rocketstream.com

    If Pando has the speed of Rocketstream, it would even be more impressive. Imagine media delivery to anywhere over the world at high speed, minutes not hours.

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  43. Chloe says:

    Democracy Player/Miro supports RSS video streams. It is exactly a RSS reader for videos. It also lets you search for videos too.

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  44. Chloe says:

    Democracy Player/Miro supports RSS video streams. It is exactly a RSS reader for videos. It also lets you search for videos too.

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  45. Jason says:

    Pando is, essentially, a trojan. Crooked companies sign up to distribute content using it, install it with their software, and then Pando stays resident on that users computer until they realize something is eating up their bandwidth and wasting their connection to better the Pando network, at the expense of their own service. They don’t inform the user that Pando will remain resident on the computer, wasting your internet connectivity. With usage based billing actually IN EFFECT (the news is generally wrong about this, people have low caps and huge overage charges RIGHT NOW here) in most Canadian households, this can lead to massively increased Internet bills. It can also lead to degraded internet service, because Pando is wasting your bandwidth.

    This is not an application to be promoting. As people who supposedly research this very topic, I am shocked and somewhat appalled that you would post something as irresponsible as this. Pando is a weed that needs to be eliminated from the Internet, it’s essentially a legal virus. This completely shoots down you folks credibility. :/ Which is kinda disappointing.

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  46. Peterson says:

    Pando is a scam. It collects as much information about you as it possibly can, then sells it off to the highest bidder, and then automatically downloads a bunch of viruses to your computer. You should read the EULA next time.

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