Articole din Una pe zi cu Novac

Quality media

in the history of the world, if you are talking about quality journalism, where you have to pay people to do real reporting, and go travel to do interviews, in the history of the world, it would be hard to name the quality journalism organization that existed solely on advertising revenue. The closest is the broadcast networks in the '60s, '70s and '80s when they had 90 percent of the eyeballs in the country. And even then their news operations mostly didn't make money and were really considered a public service.

Meanwhile, people say CNN is down. But it is still making hundreds of millions of dollars. Why? Because viewers are paying for it through their cable fees. Thus there's a dual revenue stream. It's the same at MSNBC, which is highly profitable. And Fox is the most profitable cable channel. They might not all be the operations I would personally run. But, in the case of Fox News, they do something distinctive, pay good money to produce their product and then depend on people wanting to have the channel on their cable system, paying for it and watching

Newspaper bosses ‘paralyzed’ by change, clueless about paid content, says Steve Brill

It's the same song all over again, ever since the traditional media ever discovered the internet - if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Alas, content on the web is in an infinite supply mode so one has to know what its competitive advantage is to somebody who consumes content on facebook for free.

The UC Browser

UC Browser is a mobile browser developed by Chinese mobile Internet company UCWeb. Originally launched in April 2004 as a J2ME-only application, it is available on platforms including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Symbian, Java ME, and BlackBerry.

With a huge user base in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and continued growth in emerging regional markets, UC Browser reached 500 million global users in March 2014.

According to StatCounter, UC browser is the second most used mobile web browser worldwide, passing Safari in October 2015.

Never heard of it until today

the future is closer than it seems


The future transportation value stack will be very different from the existing automotive industry. It quite remarkable that only two companies, Google and Uber, are present in all layers of the stack that are necessary for creating a dominant transportation-as-a-service platform.

The car hardware (the body, the power train, the wheels) increasingly becomes a commodity. Modern cars are good-enough for typical everyday use offering little opportunity for differentiation.

Car commoditisation will only accelerate with the transition to electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are much simpler mechanically and easier to make, which opens the gates for new players, including such electronics and Internet services players like Apple, Google, LeTV and even Acer.

It’s also notable that Tesla ‘open-sourced” their electric vehicle patents in 2014 pledging not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, uses Tesla’s technology.

It’s still too early in the game to say which companies will dominate the future transportation market. One thing is a safe bet: The future transportation ecosystem will look very different from the existing automotive industry. It will resemble modern technology ecosystems with their platform business models, permissionless innovation by developers, and domination of software-centric companies.

Self-driving cars are about platforms, not about cars

Yes, soon enough owning cars will be all about status.

The State of European Tech

Made by the fine people of Atomico Ventures and Slush


Forget about Black Friday. Alibaba made $5 billion in 90 minutes on Singles Day

In China, it’s already November 11, or 11/11, and the massive e-commerce event known as “Singles Day” is well under way. Launched by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009, the idea is that for a full 24 hours, shoppers who are unmarried and unattached should go online and splurge on a nice gift for themselves.

At least judging by the initial numbers, the company’s efforts have paid off. In the first 90 minutes after the Singles Day kickoff, at midnight in Beijing, Alibaba said it surpassed $5 billion in total sales. Seventy-four percent of those were from mobile phones.

The World's Biggest Shopping Day Is Happening Right Now, And You Probably Don't Even Know It

Europe in digital recession


 The crisis we speak of has even more severe consequences for Europe’s global competitiveness. In our research on the state and pace of digital evolution worldwide, we have found that the old continent is in the midst of a “digital recession.”

Of the 50 countries we studied in our Digital Evolution Index, 23 were European (not counting Turkey).

Of these, only three, Switzerland, Ireland, and Estonia, made it to a commendable “Stand Out” category – which means that their high levels of digital development are attractive to global businesses and investors and that their digital ecosystems are positioned to nurture start ups and internet businesses that can compete globally.

one example:

Mailing a parcel from Munich to Salzburg (distance: 145km; 90 miles) costs many times more than mailing it from Munich to Berlin (distance: 585km; 364 miles).

There’s also the matter of language complexity — for small and medium enterprises, creating a web storefront and customer support in the plethora of European languages can be prohibitively expensive.

If things look bad for goods moving across borders electronically, they look even worse for transporting content. There are a staggering 250 collective management organizations overseeing digital content, according to a 2014 EC press release. Transparency and governance issues abound. In some cases, competing organizations represent the same category of rights-holders; in some others, national monopolies dominate.

the whole argument: Europe’s Other Crisis: A Digital Recession

250 collective management organizations for 23 countries... Very fragmented.

So, who's making money digitally in Europe in spite of this situation? Yup, global brands like Google and Facebook.

EU private equity

Since January, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and funds from across Europe have signed a total of 28 investment agreements (PDF) worth over €1 billion, the Commission says, in turn enabling fund managers to invest in promising startups and SMEs.

The Commission says that, by mobilising other investors - including funds from the private sector - the plan is expected to result in overall investments of more than €12 billion across the European Union.

EU Commission: We’ve funded over €1 billion in equity financing for European startups since January

3 phones to keep an eye on in 2016

Puzzle Phone
Marshal London

the big picture



the entire presentation is very good, you can find it here

Why cars are all about status

The crossover is not the mastery of product design, but rather a breakthrough in market research. Car companies did not stumble into this vanilla landscape by accident. You can be sure that every manufacturer is profiting more with this copycat approach than by differentiating and innovating. As competitive forces reach equilibrium, car companies don’t present an assortment of products equally spaced across the spectrum. Instead, they set up shop right next-door to the most lucrative location.

Brand experts insist that success comes from promoting your unique attributes, but in practice differentiation is less profitable than consolidation.

In game theory, this is called the Nash equilibrium and it can be seen at every intersection where a Burger King opens across the street from McDonald’s, or a Costco opens next door to a Sam’s Club. Competition doesn’t produce variety, it results in commoditization until we are left with 23 identical variations of the same vehicle.

Branding is a shortcut, remember? When we get addicted to brand shortcuts, actual product differentiation gets in the way of decision making. We don’t look for the car with the best built engine, we look for the logo that has been linked in the collective cultural conscious with build quality. Imagine if all the crossovers pictured looked dramatically different. All of a sudden the purchasing decision gets hard.

If I consider myself a Toyota person, but I like the body style of the Kia, I won’t be able to decide. If I am looking for luxury but the Ford looks more luxurious, I again get stuck. By homogenizing the style across all brands, every brand sells more because the decision is easier.

All you have to do is pick your brand and tell them which of 5 colors you prefer. You can’t blame the car companies for cashing in on the mindless masses.

We like to think of brands as a more or less accurate characterization of the products they make. What ends up happening is that a brand becomes less about the product and more of a description of the people who buy the products.

Toyota built its reputation on creating reliable vehicles, but today it is rare to find a car from any brand that doesn’t last 150,000 miles. The brand is no longer a representation of reliability, but a representation of a group of people who value reliability.

Mercedes isn’t the manifestation of luxury, but a symbol that appeals to people who can afford to pay extra to be associated with the idea of luxury. All cars contain foreign components, but purchasing a Ford or Chevy lets you apply an “American-made” sticker to your personality.

Car brands no longer reflect differentiation, but rather fashion.

and another one:

If you consider yourself an artist, you probably feel that life is much like a wind tunnel. The wind is always blowing directly in your face. You can’t tell if you are actually moving or if it is an illusion caused by the air moving around you.

The wind exposes your uniqueness which promptly get flagged for painful scrutiny. Corners get rounded, edges are sanded down, and if you give in to the resistance you will be transformed into a vanilla downgrade of your ideal self. The wind tunnel wants to turn you into a Ford Taurus.

Society doesn’t appreciate your uniqueness. Your value to the zombie community is your ability to conform. If you aren’t in the mold of a crossover they don’t know what to do with you.

How do you maintain your independence when the headwinds are so powerful? Why are we surprised that our art encounters wind resistance?

There are only two directions that you can go in the wind tunnel; you either get blown away, or move towards the wind. Take comfort in the feeling of resistance, it means you are heading in the right direction.

read the whole thing: The Zombie-mobile