Amazon fires Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor after sexual harassment investigation

Jeffrey Tambor
Jeffrey Tambor at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (BigStock Photo)

Amazon Studios officially fired actor and Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor Thursday following an investigation into sexual harassment allegations, according to a report by the Hollywood Reporter.

Amazon confirmed to GeekWire that Tambor will not be returning for the show’s fifth season, but declined to comment further.

Tambor had previously said that he would leave the show after two actresses, fellow Transparent cast member Trace Lysette and actress Van Barnes, accused him of sexual harassment. Lysette told the reporter that Tambor “got physical” in one instance.

Both Lysette and Barnes are transgender, an ironic twist given Tambor’s starring role as transgender character Maura Pfefferman on the Amazon show. Tambor is not transgender.

It’s not the first such situation for Amazon Studios — in October, studio head Roy Price resigned amidst sexual harassment allegations, just one of dozens of high-profile men in media, politics and business to do so as a grassroots movement to uncover and denounce sexual harassment swept the country.

It’s not clear how Tambor’s departure will affect the future of Transparent. His character was the central figure of the show that won him and the studio multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards, making history for a TV streaming service.

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Impinj Q4 revenue comes in even lower than expected, stock drops another 11 percent

Impinj CEO Chris Diorio. (GeekWire File Photo)

Seattle-based RFID technology company Impinj, which warned two weeks ago that its fourth quarter revenue would be lower than anticipated, missed those rediced estimates this afternoon with revenue of $26.9 million for the period ended Dec. 31. When it lowered its estimates on Feb. 1, the company had said its revenue would come in at $29 million to $30 million.

Impinj said the difference resulted from agreeing to “a partner’s request for a one-time product exchange after the preliminary revenue estimates were previously announced, requiring an accounting reserve in the fourth quarter of 2017.” As a result, the company said it is increasing its revenue outlook for the first quarter by $3.25 million, to between $23.25 and $25.25 million.

“We remain confident in our market opportunity, position, and in our vision of identifying, locating and authenticating every item in our everyday world, and connecting every one of those items to the cloud,” said Chris Diorio, Impinj co-founder and CEO, in the earnings release.

Shares of the company are down more than 11 percent in after hours trading, at 11.85 at time of publication.

For the fourth quarter, Impinj posted a net loss of $9.3 million, compared with a profit of $103,000 in the same quarter a year ago.

RFID tags and technologies from Impinj are used in healthcare, retail, manufacturing and other industries. The company, founded in 2000, made its initial public offering in 2016. The company announced on Feb 1 its CFO, Evan Fein, will leave the company March 30 after 17 years.

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Pittsburgh Profile: Katrina Flora is a boomeranger, UW grad, and urban planner for Hazelwood Green

Katrina Flora sports a Seattle-to-Portland jersey at the finish of a 5-day bike ride from D.C to Pittsburgh.

A year and a half ago, Katrina Flora returned to Pittsburgh after a decade away from her hometown.

She first left to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, pursuing a degree in political science and environmental studies. It was “the early days of Amazon building up its South Lake Union ‘campus’” but at the time, Flora says it “certainly didn’t register on my radar.”

It’s on her radar now. Flora is the special projects manager for Hazelwood Green, a 173-acre former steel mill poised for a massive redevelopment that will include housing, public spaces, and commercial offices. The site is considered a frontrunner if Amazon selects Pittsburgh for its second headquarters.

“I am working on one of the most unique and unusual development projects that truly has the opportunity to make a difference for this city, region, and nationally,” Flora said.

Both Flora’s parents are urban planners and her mother, Rebecca Flora, is leading the Hazelwood Green project.

“The project has been and will continue to be an incredible learning and building experience for all involved,” Flora said.

Flora gave GeekWire a tour of Hazelwood Green on a snowy day in February. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

GeekWire interviewed Flora for this Pittsburgh Profile, a series of Q&As with some of the most influential people and interesting characters we meet during our month-long “HQ2” project.

Continue reading for her answers to our questions, and check out all of our Pittsburgh coverage here

What do you love about Pittsburgh and what would you change?

Flora: I love the Pittsburgh degrees of separation, the that is so Pittsburgh. It is in some ways a very small city — when you meet someone else from Pittsburgh (adopted or native) you can consistently find a person in common. There are always stories of how people found their apartment or the living room couch, and stories of people helping each other. I’ve speculated the massive population dispersion in the ‘70s and ‘80s had something to do with the number of people with Pittsburgh connections and ties scattered across the country (and the world). Even when people leave the city, they don’t leave Pittsburgh behind. I imagine that breaking into a place where everyone knows everyone can be difficult for people who are new to the city, and that don’t have family or friends here. But maybe it is just Midwest enough, because Pittsburghers are generally very friendly and willing to help others out, to introduce people to their connections, and to welcome folks to the city (in a sense it is the opposite of the supposed Seattle Freeze).

Pittsburgh native Katrina Flora.

Transportation continues to be a challenge for the city; its topography doesn’t help. As a longtime bicyclist and transit advocate, I don’t own a car and don’t want to buy a car, but getting around this city without one can be difficult at times. Some of this has changed recently (Pittsburgh has never really had proactive cabs, the growth of Uber and Lyft filled a significant void in that sense), but I would like to see more investment and commitment from all levels of government in public transit. Thanks to a lot of the work by Bike Pittsburgh, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure investments and advocacy are well on their way, though they can always use added support.”

Favorite Pittsburgh spot?

Flora: Walking or biking across the bridges – the Sister Bridges, Hot Metal Bridge, and the Smithfield Street bridges especially – and the park and trail system. One of my favorite things of both Seattle and Pittsburgh is the extensive park systems in each city; they’ve set the bar pretty high. Growing up, two of Pittsburgh’s parks – Schenley and Frick Park, both 400+ acres – felt like my backyard. A substantial portion of Pittsburgh’s park systems were gifted lands and/or former estates of founding families that left quite the legacy behind.

Favorite Pittsburgh celebrity?

Flora: I can’t say I pay too much attention to Pittsburgh “celebrities,” but you have to hand it to both Rachel Carson and Mr. Rogers!

Best food in Pittsburgh?

Flora: That is a hard one. Pierogis and Pittsburgh staples aside, to name a few favorite restaurants (and I apologize for the east end focus): Morcilla (best small plates), Pusadee’s Garden (best outdoor seating), Smallman Galley (best variety), Enrico Biscotti Company (best smells), and Hidden Harbor (most unexpected ‘new’ establishment – when I moved back).

Best insider tip for transplants?

Flora: Visit other neighborhoods! There are so many in this city, tucked away in valleys and up hills that you may never even know they’re there until you go.

Favorite Pittsburgh word or phrase?

Flora: I would have to say “nebby.” I don’t use it much, and I’m not entirely sure what its origins are or if it is even officially considered Pittsburghese, but it brings a sense of nostalgia from growing up here. FYI, you would call someone who is being nosey, “nebby.”

Pittsburgh’s most important innovation or invention?

Flora: I don’t know about “most important,” but I will say I am regularly blown away by the things that originated in Pittsburgh, and simply the amount that was produced here.

How would you describe the tech, innovation and startup activity taking place in Pittsburgh to an outsider who hasn’t experienced it?

Flora: While it inadvertently intersects with what I do – as the main focus for Hazelwood Green’s development – for the most part, I am not in that world on the day-to-day. I would say it doesn’t feel as omnipresent as it may in other cities. It feels more grassroots and isn’t always about the tech sector, but is about innovation in other industries, small and large. A large part of that is the affordability factor. Like many other burgeoning cities, people (especially younger people) can afford to take more risks, experiment, and try new models because cost of living is relatively low, and there is a large number resources and networks available here.

What do you think are the chances of Amazon HQ2 ending up in Pittsburgh?

Flora: Pittsburgh may not seem like an obvious choice to some, but it certainly hits most of Amazon’s criteria. Aside from the obvious (and stellar) connections to universities and talent, and a history of industrial innovation, Pittsburgh is also uniquely positioned. The city can absorb a substantial amount of growth (today, its population is less than half of what it once was) and it is in a relatively low-risk area for climate change impacts and stressors that, over the next couple of decades, will continue to increasingly impact coastal cities. Personally, I have mixed feelings about how Amazon approached this process and government agencies’ use of economic incentives for private companies. However, there is no doubt that if done right, the influx of jobs and investment that Amazon is predicting for HQ2 could greatly benefit Pittsburgh and the region.

Can you tell us about any memorable experiences you had in Pittsburgh that illustrate the character and nature of the city and its tech/startup/engineering community?

Flora: There has always been a local effort to bring more women into engineering and “the sciences.” In middle school, with the support from my sixth-grade science teacher, I applied and won a scholarship to attend space camp from CMU’s Society of Women Engineers. While I didn’t go on to become an astronaut, it was certainly a memorable experience and demonstration that I had opportunities, I had options. Today, there are even more programs (local and national), like Girls of Steel, Hive Pittsburgh, and Remake Learning to name a few, that have been working to bring diversity and eliminate entry barriers. All of these programs, and the continued, passionate support of educators, community leaders, non-profits, and others are what help make Pittsburgh’s community special. 

If you were parachuting into Pittsburgh as a tech/business reporter, what’s the first story you’d want to cover? Who is the first person you’d want to sit down with?

Flora: See above, perhaps take a look at what Pittsburgh leaders and organizations are doing to prepare the future generations, or what the workforce gaps are in the tech industry.

Any other advice for GeekWire HQ2 in Pittsburgh?

Flora: You’re from Seattle, so you’ll do fine, but prepare for any and all weather! 

LinkedIn: Katrina Flora

Website: katrinaflora.com | remakegroup.com | hazelwoodgreen.com

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Working Geek: Bryan Mistele, INRIX CEO and traffic expert, has a surefire way to beat congestion

INRIX CEO and founder Bryan Mistele leaves the traffic jams behind aboard his powerboat. (Mistele Family Photo)

If your career is focused on transportation and traffic analysis, how are you going to spend your free time? On a boat, of course!

When he’s off the clock, Bryan Mistele, founder and CEO of INRIX, heads to the water, which between Puget Sound and numerous Western Washington lakes can be readily accessed near his home and work. While Mistele “grew up on sailboats,” his current vessel is a Sunseeker powerboat for cruising the Sound.

“I’m a firm believer that there is no problem that can’t be solved with salt water — either sweat, tears or time at sea!” Mistele said.

Launched in 2004, Kirkland-based INRIX provides transportation analytics, including an annual Global Traffic Scorecard that recently put Seattle in ninth place among U.S. cities for time spent stuck in traffic. The company also offers consumer apps for navigating traffic and finding parking. INRIX does research related to smarter cities and autonomous vehicles, a subject of personal interest for Mistele. Along with Tom Alberg of Madrona Venture Group, Mistele is a co-founder of ACES Northwest — an industry group focused on Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared (ACES) vehicles.

Prior to INRIX, Mistele was a general manager for nearly nine years of various groups at Microsoft including the Automotive Business Unit, Mobile Services group and HomeAdvisor, a real estate and mortgage service.

We caught up with Mistele for this installment of Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature that looks at how tech professionals do their jobs. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Bryan Mistele (INRIX Photo)

Current location: “I live in Redmond and work in Kirkland. My commute is 15 minutes without traffic, about 45 minutes with traffic, which is why at INRIX we’re trying to reduce traffic congestion!”

Computer types: “Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. I’ve been using IBM/Lenovo computers almost religiously since 1993, although I do have an iPad and a Surface that I occasionally use as well.”

Mobile devices: “Every two years or so, I switch between an iPhone and a Samsung/Android device to stay current on both OS’s. I currently have an iPhone 7s, but I’m overdue for a Galaxy 8.”

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: “INRIX Traffic and INRIX ParkMe of course! Beyond that, I love Find My Friends to keep up with my family, OneNote for managing all my to-do lists, Venmo to transfer money to/from my kids, and Kasa for controlling home automation. On the desktop, I’m a huge fan of StreetSmart Edge for tracking the stock market. Since I’m still a total geek, I have Visual Studio on my machine for occasional programming projects and working with my kids who both are studying computer science.”

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “My current workspace is a rather traditional office in Kirkland with a lot of windows. One side is an incredible view of Lake Washington and the other is a wall of glass overlooking our floor, which allows me to stay connected with what’s going on while having the quiet/privacy for meetings. I have an L-shaped desk with a single large Samsung monitor. In my office, I have seven pictures and paintings of boats, which is my outside-of-work passion since I find being on the water very relaxing.”

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “Starting/running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. You must draw some lines fairly early on travel, working weekends, email at home, etc. if you want to do justice to your business, family and mental health. That doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions, but I’ve found the advice of ‘wherever you’re at, be all there’ to be very effective.

A research product from INRIX.

About once a month or so, I also do a ‘Think Day’ in homage to Bill Gate’s ‘Think Weeks.’ I take a stack of reading and go offsite away from phones, meetings and distractions to think about the business or a key issue we’re dealing with, and to read articles I wouldn’t ordinarily have time to digest.”

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “I use Facebook exclusively for personal and family relationships, and Twitter and LinkedIn for business relationships. I find this model works well for me. I also use Twitter and my WordPress blog (BryanMistele.com) primarily for sharing thoughts related to ACES vehicles and all that is happening in the transportation space.”

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? “About 50 right now, but it typically bounces between 50 and 100. About once a month or so I can get down to about a dozen if I have a day with few meetings.”

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? “Since I’m not traveling this week, I have about 20-25 meetings plus 8-10 half-hour one-on-ones.”

How do you run meetings? “For our weekly leadership team meetings, I will usually come in with a list of issues (typically 5-6) that I think we need to discuss based on things that have come up since our last meeting.  Before we start, others add to this list, so we typically have about a dozen topics to talk through each week. For one-on-ones, I generally look to my directs to come in with the list of issues they want to discuss. A couple of times a year, we will then do off-site meetings to discuss more detailed strategic topics as a group.”

Everyday work uniform? “When I don’t have a customer meeting, I prefer blue jeans and a casual shirt or pullover. When we have customers in town (usually several times a week), I default to khaki pants and an oxford with a pullover sweater depending on the weather. My mother used to work in a Polo store, so pretty much every dress shirt and pullover I have is Polo!”

INRIX’s Bryan Mistele and his sons. (Mistele Family Photo)

How do you make time for family? “I believe it’s important to have meals with my family, so I will seldom agree to breakfast or dinner meetings when I’m in town. I usually eat breakfast with my family and then I’m home by dinner time. Of course, regular date nights with my wife are a must!  This year my oldest son left home to attend college in California, so twice a week we gather as a family over Skype to help bridge the distance.”

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “Boating is by far the best stress reliever I’ve found. I also read a lot. As an introvert (who has learned to be an extrovert at work), I find there is nothing quite like time alone with a good book to recharge.”

What are you listening to? “I’m a big fan of Ben Shapiro — I listen to his podcasts daily on my drive home. I’ve found him to be the most intelligent voice out there on politics and culture.”

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “My morning routine consists of scanning the headlines from the Wall Street Journal, the Drudge Report, Business Insider, MarketWatch, the Seattle Times, Daily Wire and GeekWire (of course)!”

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “I have a big stack of both physical books and ones loaded on my Kindle Oasis. I alternate between business books (‘Driverless’ by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman, ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight, ‘The Innovators’ by Walter Isaacson and ‘Everybody Lies’ by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz are recent reads), Christian/science/culture books (I love Discovery Institute books where I serve on the board, as well as anything by Josh or Sean McDowell) and novels — what I call my ‘fun books’ (anything by Christopher Reich, Stephen Frey, Joel Rosenberg, David Baldacci or historical narratives like Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Killing’ series).”

Night owl or early riser? “Early riser! I like getting up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and having an hour or so of quiet time to myself before the rest of my family wakes up. I’m at work by 8:15 a.m. and leave by 6:15 p.m. to make it home for dinner. I typically go to bed at 10 or 10:30 p.m.”

Where do you get your best ideas? “Usually on my Think Days, but also in my morning quiet times.”

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “I’m a big fan of Alan Mulally — he did a great job turning around Ford, but more importantly, everyone I know loves him as a person. He has an open, friendly and trusting personality and accomplished what he did by rallying his team together and doing it with a smile on his face.  He cares deeply about everyone he works with, not just people at the top of the organization. I really wish more people in business were like him.

A professor of mine at the Harvard Business School once said, ‘In business, your network and your reputation are your two most valuable assets.  Begin early to build the former and protect the later.’ Alan Mulally is a man who has a tremendous reputation, which is how he accomplished all that he did both at Boeing and at Ford.”

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Today on Jewcy: An original poem

I wrote a poem when Ariel Sharon fell into a coma: it just started dictating itself to me as I walked down the street and I had to pick up stationery at my wife’s yeshiva when I got there to write it down. We left Israel six months after Disengagement and I read one of his biographies and was moved by his mother’s life, then wound up with a sequence of poems by different witnesses, a curious history of the state. This is the view of Yitzhak Rabin— whose birthday on the Hebrew calendar falls this evening, Rosh Chodesh Adar— who promoted him on condition that he behaved himself, and later as PM employed him as a security advisor to decide what land to cede in the Oslo Accord, while Sharon loudly decried the Oslo Accord in public. As PM Sharon also ceded territory and also faced threats to his life.

Click here to read the full post on Jewcy.

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David Greaves Has Already Won

I’ve already written quite recently about A.J. Edelman, the first skeleton athlete to compete in the Olympics for Israel in the history of the program (and, unofficially, the first ever Orthodox Jewish man to compete in the Games). But sometimes lost in the story of the athlete is the story of those who helped get them there, and that’s where David Greaves comes in.

By day, Greaves is a fundraising consultant in Winnipeg, but at night, Greaves is coordinating passport and travel arrangements with his colleagues in Israel in his capacity as the president of the country’s Olympic bobsled-skeleton federation. Administrative duties, scouting, recruitment, fundraising—it’s all under his purview.

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Misbehaved Yeshiva Students Are Expelled From Their Yeshiva for Acting as Extras in a TV Show About Misbehaved Yeshiva Students Expelled From Their Yeshiva

If you’re serious about TV—and, really, why wouldn’t you be? What else is there these days?—you’ve probably already heard about Shababnikim, arguably the best Israeli show since, well, Srugim, or Fauda, or whatever other Israeli show you may be obsessed with. It follows four friends at the finest of Jerusalem’s yeshivot who care more about smoking, sipping Nespresso, and watching Van Damme films than about spending their days poring over mishnayot.

If you speak any Hebrew, check it out online: It is, as Karen Skinazi wrote in Tablet recently, “Tarantinoesque dark,” which means that when you see these dudes in their black suits, white shirts, and black hats, you expect mayhem to giddily follow along.

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Israeli Academic Supports BDS Because Yad Vashem Doesn’t Commemorate Palestinian Suffering

Earlier this year, The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy announced that it will hold its 2019 meeting in Israel, which triggered an unsurprising torrent of calls to boycott the proceedings or move them elsewhere.

Not to be outdone by their fulminating peers abroad, a good number of Israeli psychoanalysts who identify as radical leftists (or am I repeating myself?) quickly joined those who advocate for the singling out of the Jewish state for calumny. The debate raged on mainly among members of Psychoactive, a group that defines itself as “mental health professionals for human rights.” A minority of its members opposed supporting the boycott, stating, quite rationally, that the BDS movement is interested in little save for the delegitimization of Israel and that, besides, ideologically driven censures aren’t particularly conducive to free thought and speech. But most of Psychoactive’s members, according to reports in the Israeli press, voted to join in on the anti-Israel festivities.

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How Do You Say ‘Podcast’ in Hebrew?

Every few years, the Academy of the Hebrew Language is faced with new challenges, tasked with translating words with which the language of the Bible has little or no experience. Like podcast: Now a popular medium, the term—a portmanteau of “iPod” and “broadcast”—left Hebraists scratching their heads. What should the proper Hebrew term be?

Ever the good sports, the Academy posed the question to the public, receiving more than 1,200 replies from enthusiastic podcast listeners. Some wrote in to suggest Shmion, which comes from Shema, or hear, and is diminutive and sweet. Others advocated for Ta-Shema, which, loosely translated, means listening cell. Many wanted to resurrect Taskit, a beautiful and old-fashioned word for radio play (think Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds), and a handful of punsters proposed Taskis, an amalgam of Taskit and Kis, meaning pocket.

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A Haunting Animation About a Boy Named Kaspar Who Sees Daylight After Years Spent in a Cave

Canadian filmmaker Diane Obomsawin has created “Kaspar“, a haunting animation based upon the stated life of Kaspar Hauser, a German man who claimed as a teenager that he was grew up in total isolation of a darkened cell before emerging to join the Calvary. This amazing animation captures a firm sense of bewilderment, nascent wonder, mistrust and fear of the outside world, along with the pressing need to be back in a familiar place.

This animated short by Diane Obomsawin tells the story of Kaspar, a young man who discovers life – and light – after spending his entire life in a dark cave with a small wooden horse as only company.

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