Technology

Microsoft: Signs of Life. Google Chrome: Under Attack.

Two decades ago, Steve Ballmer proudly showed his mother a copy of Windows 98, the new operating system that featured a “start” button so prominent that Microsoft bought the Stones “Start Me Up” for the launch. When Ballmer’s mother asked him how to shut the program down however, Ballmer could have sung “you make […]

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TechnologyWoW

Is Detroit Moving to Silicon Valley?

As the value of an automobile moves to its electronics and cars become networked, self-driving computers, will the car industry move to the west coast? Consider: Google now logs more than 10,000 miles weekly with self-driving cars — more than a million miles to date. Most of this is Mountain View (also Austin). Nobody […]

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EconomicsOther classics,TechnologyWoW

Statistical Storytellers

We now collect extraordinary amounts of data from weblogs, wifi sessions, phone calls, sensors, and transactions of all kinds. The quantities are hard to imagine: we created about five exabytes of data in all of human history until 2003. We now create that much data every two days. Deriving insights from this mountain of data […]

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EconomicsTechnology,WoW

Denial is Bigger than Amazon

Talk to a book author, publisher, or retailer about the future of their business and the denials begin. “Never before have there been so many good books to read”. “Books are the backbone of civilization”. “Life without books is unimaginable”. As a cultural argument, this may be true, but as an economic one, this is […]

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EconomicsMediaOther classicsTechnologyWoW

Manufacturing Myths in Palo Alto and Pittsburgh

The transition from fields to factories always mixes agony with hope. Families abandon land and traditions that often go back generations, move to cities and reset their lives from sunlight to time clocks. Mass production industries flourish for a few generations. Life is hardly a bed of roses, but it is nearly always better or […]

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EconomicsMediaPolitics,TechnologyWoW

The iPhone Gets Nuanced

I got the iPhone 5 because it was free. The loathsome ATT charged me $300 and I sold the old iPhone 4 on eBay for that amount. I hate ATT, but their 4G LTE is really fast in the Bay Area and factory unlocking a phone under contract to enable overseas SIMs and free tethering is […]

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TechnologyWoW

Store Closing: the Death of Brick and Mortar Retail

In 1997, I had an idea: if I could aggregate millions of used, rare, and out of print books from around the world on a single website, I could enable people to find and buy books that were otherwise impossible to locate. Like hundreds of others with similar ideas for selling things online, I started […]

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EconomicsOther classics,TechnologyWoW

Is Amazon Inside Apple’s OODA Loop?

John Boyd was a legendary US fighter pilot during the Korean War who later became a fighter pilot instructor. He had a standing bet with his students: he would meet you in the air at 30,000 feet and you would get on his tail. He would reverse the positions and get you in his guns in […]

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Lenin’s Rope: Universities Help Disrupt Universities

Lenin famously bragged that “Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” It would surely gall him to learn that the art of destroying capitalists with their own products has been mastered not by a militant, vanguard-led proletariat but by entrepreneurial capitalists. It appears that even universities, finally, are getting the hang of […]

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EconomicsMediaPolitics,TechnologyWoW

Draw This…

Henry Blodget is the former head of Internet research at Merrill Lynch. (Background: once upon a time there was something called Internet research. And once upon a time there was something called Merrill Lynch).  NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer convicted Blodget of touting stocks in public while sending emails disparaging those same securities. Spitzer was […]

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EconomicsTechnology,WoW

Peak Apple: Understanding the Foxconn Deal

Apple has quickly raised worker wages to address the highly publicized problems with working conditions in its supplier network. The decision protects Apple’s pristine brand and costs the company next to nothing. It cleverly exploits the high-minded principles and low-level economic literacy of those of us who are its devoted customers. A series of well-researched […]

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EconomicsPolitics,Technology

Will Technology Burst Higher Education’s Bubble?

Imagine a market with incumbents whose core processes are unchanged since medieval times that is held together by huge federal subsidies and protected by a system of self-accreditation designed to exclude rivals. Imagine that the resulting enterprises exploited their monopoly power by overcharging customers and wasting the revenue that resulted on guaranteeing senior employees lifetime […]

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Hang 30: Time Surfing

Been awhile since we showed first rate surfing videos. This one from Aussie Rip Curl, uses a “30 camera array” and six world class surfers to enable editors to shift perspective, freeze frame from a combination of angles, and create the “Matrix” like illusion of perspective. Pretty cool. They also produced a video on how […]

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MediaTechnology

Seven Forces that Doom Bookstores and Publishers

During the past few years, the music industry has been hammered. As music went digital, it was pirated, deconstructed, and mashed. As music stores and labels disappeared, their lobby, the RIAA, screamed bloody murder. But amidst the carnage, a funny thing happened: the music industry grew larger even though it had fewer labels and far fewer retailers. Revenue […]

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One more thing: Real artists ship.

In preparation for landing at SFO, I had closed the MacBook Air and turned off the iPad, but as I touched down, my iPhone beeped. The text from my son made my heart sink: Steve Jobs died . At least three people left the plane in tears. I felt like someone had unplugged my compass. Steve Jobs […]

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Amazon.com: America’s #1 Tax Evader?

== Update: On September 7, Amazon relented and made a deal to pay sales taxes on shipments to California (no doubt the trenchant analysis that follows persuaded them to do the right thing). For details of the deal see http://goo.gl/kNwjQ. Now every other state in America needs to make a deal with Amazon — even if they […]

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EconomicsPolitics,Technology

“We are Going to Pass” -10 Reasons VCs Turn Down Startups

Every few years, Silicon Valley grows strong, flies high, makes beautiful music and then, like the Phoenix of ancient myth, burns to ashes and starts the cycle again. At the moment, the Valley is a frenzy of startups. The rest of the country may be in the economic doldrums, but dozens of technology companies are being […]

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EconomicsOther classics,TechnologyWoW

Toujour L’Audace

In early 1997, Steve Jobs spoke at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. At the time, he was an advisor to Apple CEO Gil Amelio, who had just bought Next from Jobs. (That July, Jobs pushed Amelio out in a boardroom coup and regained control of the company he had founded). I embed Jobs’ fascinating talk […]

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EconomicsOther classics,Technology

The Long Slide: Amazon Sells More Digital than Printed Books.

I have always loved printed books. I like discovering them and reading them. I like how they look, feel, and smell. I like rooms filled with books like the reading room of the British Museum or the New York Public Library or the rare book room at Shakespeare’s. I like the cluttered shelves of professor’s […]

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EconomicsMedia,Technology

Get Well, Steve

A quick search will verify that JamSideDown has both criticized and admired Steve Jobs more than any other CEO. I dislike his high control business strategy and personality but I think that he is America’s finest CEO and that every leader should study his public presentations. He embodies “the intersection of liberal arts and technology” […]

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Technology