But here’s why this isn’t really a laughing matter: many of the legacy industry players, including Warner Bros. and the MPAA who represent WB, have been pushing very heavily for a revamp of the DMCA that would include a “notice and staydown” provision – such that once a copyright holder representative sent a notice claiming a work was infringing, platforms would basically be required to block that content from ever appearing again. In response, many of us have pointed out just how bad companies like Warner Bros. are at issuing takedowns, and we’re told that such mistakes are rare. But they’re not rare. We see them all the time. And if notice and staydown were in place, it could create all sorts of problems.
It was a little over one year ago that Tim Cook made what I called an “unfair and unrealistic privacy speech” where he claimed that “morality demands” an approach to privacy that basically delegitimized Google and Facebook’s business models (which Cook also characterized incorrectly). It was easy for Cook to say because Apple’s business model is compatible with a very strict view of privacy, but needless to say Cook didn’t make any allowance for that reality.
One could absolutely argue that Apple is morally wrong here: if they think their value is created in the U.S., then they should be repatrioting their money and paying their taxes, because it’s the right thing to do. That they aren’t shows that Cook’s moralizing only goes as far as what is good for Apple’s bottom line.
For me, I defend Google and Facebook’s advertising model, and I defend Apple’s right to follow the letter of the law in taxes, and I do think they’re getting the short end of the stick from the Europrean Commission. Moreover, I’m hopeful this episode will finally lead to meaningful reform of the U.S. tax code. I do hope, though, that we can get a lot less moralizing along the way.
Very well said. That whole Daily Update on this issue is really good in explaining the situation and precisely the reason I gladly pay Thompson.
In his meta-analysis of the Android-iOS landscape, Benedict Evans estimated that there are 150m–200m Google Android tablets in use, and perhaps another 200m “naked Android” (no Google services) in China. For comparison, he reckons there are about 250m active iPads, of varying sizes.
The key difference is that Apple’s iPad sells for way more than Lenovo’s (or Samsung’s). The ASP for all iPads in the latest quarter was $490, and it has never fallen below $400. Sure, you can argue that the iPad is overpriced, but you can also expect that as long as it keeps selling, Apple will get the profit it needs to encourage it to keep going.
The other point: if you can make a profit selling tablets, you won’t be able to improve them, or market them seriously.
Compare that with Apple’s efforts, where its True Tone screen (on the 9.7in iPad Pro) is likely – certain, really – to come to the new iPhones later this year. But in the tablets first. Lenovo can push – but only because it has the PC division. The tablets, have been dragging it down.
In October 2015, SolidEnergy demonstrated the first-ever working prototype of a rechargeable lithium metal smartphone battery with double energy density, which earned them more than $12 million from investors. At half the size of the lithium ion battery used in an iPhone 6, it offers 2.0 amp hours, compared with the lithium ion battery’s 1.8 amp hours.
SolidEnergy plans to bring the batteries to smartphones and wearables in early 2017, and to electric cars in 2018. But the first application will be drones, coming this November. “Several customers are using drones and balloons to provide free Internet to the developing world, and to survey for disaster relief,” Hu says. “It’s a very exciting and noble application.”
Putting these new batteries in electric vehicles as well could represent “a huge societal impact,” Hu says: “Industry standard is that electric vehicles need to go at least 200 miles on a single charge. We can make the battery half the size and half the weight, and it will travel the same distance, or we can make it the same size and same weight, and now it will go 400 miles on a single charge.”
Chinese consumer manufacturer Midea, after having spent over $4 billion to acquire 94% of German robot maker Kuka, is planning to spend an additional $1.5 billion to turn itself into China’s preeminent robot powerhouse. (…)
Midea expects to ramp up production at the new facility from an initial 7,000 robots annually to 17,000 or more within 10 years.
In July, NPR.org recorded nearly 33 million unique users, and 491,000 comments. But those comments came from just 19,400 commenters, Montgomery said. That’s 0.06 percent of users who are commenting, a number that has stayed steady through 2016.
When NPR analyzed the number of people who left at least one comment in both June and July, the numbers showed an even more interesting pattern: Just 4,300 users posted about 145 comments apiece, or 67 percent of all NPR.org comments for the two months. More than half of all comments in May, June and July combined came from a mere 2,600 users. The conclusion: NPR’s commenting system — which gets more expensive the more comments that are posted, and in some months has cost NPR twice what was budgeted — is serving a very, very small slice of its overall audience.
Not surprising at all. The 90–9–1 rule applies to on-site comments as well as any other system of participation.
Expecting that a percentage of your audience that comes even close to a majority would participate in your comments is absurd. Set your priorities appropriately.
The intense debate in journalism regarding how to build, maintain and moderate open comment sections is, in my eyes, most of the times just cargo-culting. As if keeping up an archaic system for interacting online will make your product and your organization to appear modern.
Comments -or, more generally, audience participation- can make sense, but only given the right information architecture, context and purpose (know what you want to achieve). But you need to think about it holistically.
This round of interviews is bearing out a relationship to technology that is decidedly settled. New platforms emerge, but this too is ordinary. A frequently changing technological landscape is expected and does not elicit panic. The older participants sometimes ask about “that Snapchat thing”, and a smattering of participants from varied age groups admit that they “don’t get” Twitter, but they also report that they don’t feel like they are missing out. The participants in this round of interviews engage with social media, but don’t feel compelled to engage on all social media, nor do they fear that the world is passing them by. Participants’ responses—both about themselves and about the place of new technologies in society—are tempered, nuanced, and quiet.
It’s not that worry pieces aren’t tapping into anything, it’s just that they are tapping into an affective sensibility that’s on its way out.
Ironically, the continued prevalence of the worry piece is most certainly a product of some of the very patterns that the articles worry over—a 24hour news cycle, a competitive attention economy, and the need to produce new content, regardless of whether an outlet and its writers have something meaningful to say.
‘Worry pieces’ dominate the public discourse on technology topics in Germany for more than ten years now. It’s rather depressing in its own right.
If you think that there has never been a better time to be alive — that humanity has never been safer, healthier, more prosperous or less unequal — then you’re in the minority. But that is what the evidence incontrovertibly shows. Poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, child labour and infant mortality are falling faster than at any other time in human history. The risk of being caught up in a war, subjected to a dictatorship or of dying in a natural disaster is smaller than ever. The golden age is now.
We’re hardwired not to believe this. We’ve evolved to be suspicious and fretful: fear and worry are tools for survival. The hunters and gatherers who survived sudden storms and predators were the ones who had a tendency to scan the horizon for new threats, rather than sit back and enjoy the view. They passed their stress genes on to us. That is why we find stories about things going wrong far more interesting than stories about things going right. It’s why bad news sells, and newspapers are full of it. Books that say the world is doomed sell rather well, too. I have just attempted the opposite. I’ve written a book called Progress, about humanity’s triumphs. It is written partly as a warning: when we don’t see the progress we have made, we begin to search for scapegoats for the problems that remain. (…)
The psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky have shown that people do not base their assumptions on how frequently something happens, but on how easy it is to recall examples. This ‘availability heuristic’ means that the more memorable an incident is, the more probable we think it is. And what is more memorable than horror? What do you remember best — your neighbour’s story about a decent restaurant which serves excellent lamb stew, or his warning about the place where he was poisoned and threw up all over his boss’s wife? (…)
Bad news now travels a lot faster. Just a few decades ago, you would read that an Asian city with 100,000 people was wiped out in a cyclone on a small notice on page 17. We would never have heard about Burmese serial killers. Now we live in an era with global media and iPhone cameras every-where. Since there is always a natural disaster or a serial murderer somewhere in the world, it will always top the news cycle — giving us the mistaken impression that it is more common than before. (…)
The cultural historian Arthur Freeman observed that ‘virtually every culture, past or present, has believed that men and women are not up to the standards of their parents and forebears’. Is it a coincidence that the western world is experiencing this great wave of pessimism at the moment that the baby-boom generation is retiring?
So to summarize:
- We’re hardwired to weight negative events higher than their frequency and impact objectively justify.
- News travels faster and further these days. (And, I may add, in conjunction with the previous point, social media shares act as an accelerator for spreading news about negative events.)
- Fucking baby-boomers, again.
Very good long read.
Other than the layoffs Dorsey instituted as almost his first act as CEO, there’s been no evidence of faster or more disciplined execution. In fact, it’s arguable that things have got worse, rather than better. Twitter’s headcount today is at 3,860, about the same as in early 2015, and about the same as Facebook when it had 800 million MAUs, versus Twitter’s 313 million, with a far more complex product. Twitter still feels bloated relative to other similar companies.
I am being interviewed by an MIT Sloan student about the challenges companies face trying to catch the next S curve. My answer is simple: They cannot stomach the J curve.
J-curves track the negative financial performance of companies as they launch themselves into the bottom half of an S curve. This performance gets a lot worse before it gets better. Venture capital understands this. It is designed to invest in J curves. Its limited partners have signed up to support the effort.