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Preview: Silicon Valley Watcher - at the intersection of technology and media

Silicon Valley Watcher — at the collision of technology and media



Former Financial Times journalist Tom Foremski provides insight into the business and culture of Silicon Valley.



Updated: 2017-12-10T22:17:48Z

 



Be Prepared To Be Judged Today ...By The Higher Standards Of The Future

2017-12-10T22:17:48Z

  Peggy Noonan WSJ writes : “The Franken case represents not a collapse of tolerance for flawed human behavior but a rise of judgment about what is acceptable.” This means that you always have to choose a higher morality than is available today. The future has only one lens. It reminds me of this post from 2006: “Welcome to the future transparency of your life” http://zd.net/1iujaEA...

 

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Peggy Noonan WSJ writes :

“The Franken case represents not a collapse of tolerance for flawed human behavior but a rise of judgment about what is acceptable.”

This means that you always have to choose a higher morality than is available today. The future has only one lens.

It reminds me of this post from 2006:

“Welcome to the future transparency of your life”

http://zd.net/1iujaEA




Event: The Atlantic Fights The Backlash Against Inclusion In Tech Industry

2017-12-08T04:07:02Z

This coming Tuesday in San Francisco, The Atlantic magazine is hosting a free day-long event about diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. Women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups continue to make up a small fraction of its workforce. And some in the industry have questioned whether efforts to turn the tide have gone too far. This backlash, along with numerous reports of sexism throughout the Valley, have left many wondering how to create real belonging in the innovation capital. The Atlantic event wants to move ahead “and explore what change is needed to create lasting equity for all who work in the field." 9am Tuesday, December 12 - Terra Gallery 511 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94105 Free...

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This coming Tuesday in San Francisco, The Atlantic magazine is hosting a free day-long event about diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.

Women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups continue to make up a small fraction of its workforce. And some in the industry have questioned whether efforts to turn the tide have gone too far. This backlash, along with numerous reports of sexism throughout the Valley, have left many wondering how to create real belonging in the innovation capital.

The Atlantic event wants to move ahead “and explore what change is needed to create lasting equity for all who work in the field."

9am Tuesday, December 12 - Terra Gallery 511 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Free with RSVP

The Atlantic has pulled together a great collection of speakers and topics plus there are several lunch workshops. I like the focus on doing and moving forwards rather than just talking about the problems.

Take a look at the day’s agenda here: 

It starts at 10am with: 

Why is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women, And What’s Being Done About it? A Town Hall Conversation

- - -

Please see:   Rent the Runway CEO: Gender discrimination is larger workplace issue than sexual harassment




Ben Bradlee Documentary Shows How To Create A Fearless Newsroom Culture

2017-12-07T06:14:47Z

Above, still from the film, Ben Bradlee talking about newspapers being allowed “..to go about our business. Which is not to be loved …but to go after the truth.”  The Ben Bradlee documentary on HBO is fascinating for its inside-the-newsroom stories of building a defiantly aggressive news reporting culture at the Washington Post. It’s a culture that’s become pervasive and its creation story continues to serve as an inspiration for every reporter when times get tough. When Ben Bradlee ran the Washington Post he was fearless in taking on US Presidents Johnson and Nixon but that wasn’t the case with fellow Bostonian Kennedy. He was unable to reconcile his role as a tough reporter on the Washington beat *and*... Above, still from the film, Ben Bradlee talking about newspapers being allowed “..to go about our business. Which is not to be loved …but to go after the truth.”  The Ben Bradlee documentary on HBO is fascinating for its inside-the-newsroom stories of building a defiantly aggressive news reporting culture at the Washington Post. It’s a culture that’s become pervasive and its creation story continues to serve as an inspiration for every reporter when times get tough. When Ben Bradlee ran the Washington Post he was fearless in taking on US Presidents Johnson and Nixon but that wasn’t the case with fellow Bostonian Kennedy. He was unable to reconcile his role as a tough reporter on the Washington beat *and* being extremely close friends with JFK. Bradlee and his wife Toni were John and Jackie’s closest friends. The documentary shows numerous photos and home videos of all four boating, golfing and partying. Being inside Camelot was glamorous. But there was a dark side. The film reveals that Bradlee’s wife Toni was “seriously assaulted” by JFK as she tried to lock herself into a Ladies room during a drunken boat party. She told her husband but the Bradlees continued their friendship with the President. Bradlee had by this time honed an unassailable position as a hard hitting reporter. JFK’s assualt on Toni Bradlee sounds like a scoop to me — Bradlee was running Newsweek. But in those days private lives were private — especially when your pals are running important things. Bradlee was the establishment. Bradlee certainly redeemed his fearless reporter image following Kennedy’s assassination. He has been lauded and recognized for decades of legendary work at the Washington Post. And Henry Kissinger still lives! He makes several appearance and has some choice words to say about the Washington Post’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers which faced huge opposition from the government and judiciary and revealed top secret information much as with Edward Snowden’s leak. Bradlee with full support from the Post’s owner Katharine Graham stood by his guns fighting the courts for the right for newspapers to publish in the public interest. “No politician can tell you what to read. It’s as simple as that.” Kissinger says in a growl, “Indubitably, the point had to be made.”  The point had to be made against an incredibly dramatic backdrop. No matter the popularity of the revelation or not — governments cannot restrict the public’s right to critical information relevant to informing the democratic process. Garbage in — garbage out. We need accurate information to make the right decisions. And we have a lot of important decisions to make these days. It has been an incredibly important legal and moral precedent. Ironically: Nixon’s hatred of the media, his enemies list and his attempts to lie and suppress the story of Watergate served to energize and boost the reputation of the media. Nixon was relentlessly pursued by Bradlee’s news teams. They owned that story. And Bradlee’s refusal to back down — or slow down even during the Washington Post’s IPO(!) — helped boost the trust and reputation of all newspapers — even the ones not called the Washington Post. His aggressive new[...]



Deloitte's crystal ball: These tech trends will create the Symphonic Enterprise

2017-12-07T01:12:30Z

Deloitte sees a future where businesses are able to use new technologies in concert rather than trying to master each one individually. In its just released ninth annual Tech Trends report Deloitte notes that companies approached the integration of new technologies through a domain specific approach. The old way was domain specific. The lead authors, Bill Briggs, CTO of Deloitte Consulting, and Craig Hodgetts, Managing Principal of Technology at Deloitte, write:  In the past, organizations typically responded to such disruptive opportunities by launching transformation initiatives within technology domains. For example, domain-specific cloud, analytics, and big data projects represented bold, if singleminded, embraces of the future. Likewise, C-suite positions such as “chief digital officer” or “chief analytics officer” reinforced the... Deloitte sees a future where businesses are able to use new technologies in concert rather than trying to master each one individually. In its just released ninth annual Tech Trends report Deloitte notes that companies approached the integration of new technologies through a domain specific approach. The old way was domain specific. The lead authors, Bill Briggs, CTO of Deloitte Consulting, and Craig Hodgetts, Managing Principal of Technology at Deloitte, write:  In the past, organizations typically responded to such disruptive opportunities by launching transformation initiatives within technology domains. For example, domain-specific cloud, analytics, and big data projects represented bold, if singleminded, embraces of the future. Likewise, C-suite positions such as “chief digital officer” or “chief analytics officer” reinforced the primacy of domain thinking. But it didn’t take long for companies to realize that treating some systems as independent domains is suboptimal at best. Complex predictive analytics capabilities delivered little value without big data. In turn, big data was costly and inefficient without cloud.  A holistic approach… Deloitte sees some of the more “forward thinking” companies moving away from domain-specific initiatives.  Instead, they are thinking about exploration, use cases, and deployment more holistically, focusing on how disruptive technologies can complement each other to drive greater value. For example, blockchain can serve as a new foundational protocol for trust throughout the enterprise and beyond. Cognitive technologies make automated response possible across all enterprise domains. Digital reality breaks down geographic barriers between people, and systemic barriers between humans and data. Together, these technologies can fundamentally reshape how work gets done, or set the stage for new products and business models. This will lead to the Symphonic Enterprise — business organizations able to combine several disruptive technologies to support highly successful business ventures. When technologies act in unison, we no longer see the enterprise vertically (focused on line of business or isolated industries) or horizontally (focused on business processes or enabling technologies). In the symphonic enterprise, the old lines become blurred, thus creating a diagonal view that illuminates new business opportunities and creative ways of solving problems. Here are the key enterprise tech trends for the next 18 to 24 months: Reengineering IT. The IT department is being rebuilt from top to bottom into a more agile and important business partner that, “will define the technology organization of the future.” - Hybrid-human workforce: Don’t be afraid of robots and AI taking away your job — they will become your work colleagues. “Human workers and machines will work together seamlessly, each complementing the other’s efforts in a single loop of productivity.”  Human Resources organizations will need to rethink how to recruit and train a “hybrid human-machine workforce.” - Advanced Data Management: As enterprises se[...]



Silicon Valley Ties To Russian Fake News Tops Tech Scandals List

2017-12-01T22:19:55Z

What do you get if you ask 600 tech industry news readers to rank the top tech scandals of 2017? You get a very long infographic! Here’s the nutshell details of the survey courtesy of Brionna Lewis at  Instamotor, an online used car market: Top Five Tech Scandals of 2017 Facebook, Twitter and Google testify about Russian meddling in the 2016 election Equifax announces data breach Uber admits to 2016 data breach and hacker bribing Google engineer sends sexist memo Female engineer unveils sexist culture at Uber Instamotor found a large amount of goodwill towards the scandal ridden companies: Facebook: 3 in 5 respondents (60%) say Facebook is at least “somewhat trustworthy”, with nearly 1 in 5 (19%) ranking them as...

What do you get if you ask 600 tech industry news readers to rank the top tech scandals of 2017? You get a very long infographic!

Here’s the nutshell details of the survey courtesy of Brionna Lewis at  Instamotor, an online used car market:

Top Five Tech Scandals of 2017

  1. Facebook, Twitter and Google testify about Russian meddling in the 2016 election
  2. Equifax announces data breach
  3. Uber admits to 2016 data breach and hacker bribing
  4. Google engineer sends sexist memo
  5. Female engineer unveils sexist culture at Uber

Instamotor found a large amount of goodwill towards the scandal ridden companies:

Facebook: 3 in 5 respondents (60%) say Facebook is at least “somewhat trustworthy”, with nearly 1 in 5 (19%) ranking them as “very trustworthy”

Uber: More than half (51%) of respondents say Uber is at least “somewhat” trustworthy, with 12% ranking them at “very trustworthy”

Equifax: More than 2 in 5 (42%) say Equifax is at least “somewhat” trustworthy, with nearly 1 in 5 (19%) ranking them as “very trustworthy”

Here is the timeline of the scandals as an infographic:

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Study: No Shortcuts From SEO — Old Web Dominates Google Search

2017-11-30T07:51:18Z

Old web pages dominate the first page of Google’s search results and new pages less than one year old represent only 0.3 percent of the top ten Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for 2 million randomly selected keywords. The Web Site Group prepared the following infographic based on a study by Ahrefs, a marketing tools company. It shows that the position of a website in Google’s results is a function of its age rather than on its content alone. Older web pages dominate the first page of Google's search results and new page -- less than one year old -- represent just 0.3 percent of the top ten Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for 2 million randomly selected keywords. The Web Site... Old web pages dominate the first page of Google’s search results and new pages less than one year old represent only 0.3 percent of the top ten Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for 2 million randomly selected keywords. The Web Site Group prepared the following infographic based on a study by Ahrefs, a marketing tools company. It shows that the position of a website in Google’s results is a function of its age rather than on its content alone. Older web pages dominate the first page of Google's search results and new page -- less than one year old -- represent just 0.3 percent of the top ten Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for 2 million randomly selected keywords. The Web Site Group prepared the following infographic based on a study by Ahrefs, a marketing tools company. It shows that the rank of a webpage in Google's results is largely a function of its age rather than on its content alone. It's an important discovery because businesses large and small worry constantly about their position in Google's search results. Google changes its algorithm on a regular basis so that it can stay ahead of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that try to get around Google's ranking algorithm. Every business wants to be on the coveted first page of 10 links returned for a Google search. And they collectively spend large sums on SEO services and tools that promise to improve their Google ranking. The Ahrefs study, however appears to show that businesses are wasting money pursuing SEO as a quick short-cut to attaining first page ranking. Ahrefs discovered that it takes two to three years to attain number one ranking on a keyword. Trust is a relationship that needs to be consistent over time in order to build. There is no shortcut through SEO and it's risky business, IMHO. Google punishes companies that use SEO that goes beyond the basics in its web master guidelines because it sees it as a flagrant attempt to manipulate its search -- it's the mark of a spammer. Manipulating Google... Even if certain SEO techniques work today -- they could become very problematic in the future when Google moves to close such loopholes and sees who was trying to deliberately manipulate their ranking. SEO practices that used to be common such as buying links on other sites to generate thousands of backlinks can now cause Google to lower the rank of the web site because Google can now distinguish link farms from organic links. Large numbers of backlinks from link farms is a clear and unerasable marker of attempted SERP manipulation. SEO content editors... Many businesses are concentrating on content marketing as they realize that every company needs to be a media company -- to some extent -- because if you are not seen you don't exist.  Companies are trying to produce high quality online content according to Google's claim that it will rank such pages higher. It is common to use SEO tools to edit the content to make sure it'll get a great response from Google. But SEO tools do not test content for comprehension. The Googlebot can read but it cannot understand -- it's not that smart. And editing web page content with SEO tools is not that smart. I've always advised businesses to focus on making sure their c[...]



Media Disruption: Is the Race To The Bottom Bottoming Out?

2017-11-28T08:08:26Z

The media industry continues to be disrupted and former high flying new media companies are being hit as revenues from advertising continue to fall despite increased readership. Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones magazine lists some the recent troubles: Buzzfeed, the big media success story of the past decade, projects missing its earnings targets by some 20 percent.  CNN faces shortfalls, despite its incredible scoops and a political climate that’s had all of us glued to the headlines.  Mashable, another investor darling, announced its sale for about a fifth of its valuation just two years ago.  The Daily Beast, owned by the same parent company as Tinder, is looking at a sale, and    Univision is on the hunt for... The media industry continues to be disrupted and former high flying new media companies are being hit as revenues from advertising continue to fall despite increased readership. Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones magazine lists some the recent troubles: Buzzfeed, the big media success story of the past decade, projects missing its earnings targets by some 20 percent.  CNN faces shortfalls, despite its incredible scoops and a political climate that’s had all of us glued to the headlines.  Mashable, another investor darling, announced its sale for about a fifth of its valuation just two years ago.  The Daily Beast, owned by the same parent company as Tinder, is looking at a sale, and    Univision is on the hunt for someone to take a piece of the former Gawker sites.  Alternative weeklies are on life support and Conde Nast is making cuts.  Journalism Is Imploding Just When We Need It Most – Mother Jones Bauerlein writes: Some blame the Google and Facebook algorithms (could real news getting caught up in the fight against the fake stuff?). Others speculate that readers and viewers are simply tiring of the 24/7 onslaught of crazy. Her strategy for magazine survival is to build trust with readers through important investigative journalism projects in the hope they will donate money. I hope you’ll consider joining (or re-joining) the community of some 50,000 MoJo donors with a tax-deductible gift here.  Foremski’s Take:  Asking for money seems to work for a specialist magazine such as Mother Jones which has never had to completely rely on advertising. But asking for handouts is not a sustainable business model -- it can only work for a very small number of publications. We need something viable, scalable and available to all. The darlings of the new media sector such as Buzzfeed, Gawker, and Mashable attained massive amounts of traffic yet even they were unable to run fast enough to stem the race to the bottom on declining advertising revenues. Google is also racing to the bottom. Every quarter it reports less money per click than the same period in the prior year. In it's most recent quarter it reported 18% less -- a larger than expected decline. But it beat Wall Street estimates because it found more places to show more ads. Traditional and new media companies cannot match the scale and the low costs of the platform-based media companies. They have additional advantages such as avoiding the label of a media company and thus able to shun the costs of maintaining community standards in regards to hate speech and fake news. Google and Facebook can survive the race to the bottom for much longer than the media companies that rely on people rather than software to create content. But they are media companies run by engineers and they don't understand the economics of the business and their effect on the industry. Unequal relationship... Google and Facebook need news content but they take too much of its value and return too little. Media companies complain that the traffic is of poor quality and hard to monetize. For example, Mother Jones spent $350,000 on an investigative series that was tremendously popular onli[...]



Arc Publishing: The Washington Post's Software Startup

2017-11-21T02:05:34Z

Harry McCracken has written an excellent profile of the Washington Post's Arc Publishing business which sells access to the same technology that is used to publish the online newspaper.  [Arc Publishing] allows other news organizations to use the Post's tools for writers and editors. ...It's like a high-end version of Squarespace or WordPress.com, tailored to solve the content problems of a particular industry. The Washington Post Is A Software Company Now Revenues could start adding up to a substantial stream. Small customers pay from $10,000 per month to $150,000 for large customers and payment depends on bandwidth. Get a top story and it will cost you but Arc makes more in revenues. McCracken adds: By offloading the creation of publishing... Harry McCracken has written an excellent profile of the Washington Post's Arc Publishing business which sells access to the same technology that is used to publish the online newspaper.  [Arc Publishing] allows other news organizations to use the Post's tools for writers and editors. ...It's like a high-end version of Squarespace or WordPress.com, tailored to solve the content problems of a particular industry. The Washington Post Is A Software Company Now Revenues could start adding up to a substantial stream. Small customers pay from $10,000 per month to $150,000 for large customers and payment depends on bandwidth. Get a top story and it will cost you but Arc makes more in revenues. McCracken adds: By offloading the creation of publishing tools and the hosting of sites, media companies can concentrate on the journalism itself rather than the technical requirements of getting it in front of readers. Foremski's Take: It looks like a smart move by the Washington Post to sell the same tools it uses. But does it know what it takes to become an enterprise software company? It takes a substantial engineering effort to maintain and improve any set of commercial software tools. It is not a trivial task. To make it a business you need to have all sorts of support people, you need customer success engineers, you need a sales force and you need marketing staff. It is a big commitment.  It requires a very big investment. The management of the Washington Post understands how to run a media company but not a tech company.  The Washington Post could release its tools as open source software projects and let others help improve them rather than try to commercialize them itself and have to make a very substantial investment in building the business. Also: in charging by bandwidth it implies the value of the platform is in shifting bits from place to place rather than in the tools and platform expertise. Spin Arc Publishing off and let it raise money rather than become a constant distraction to management. Media disruption requires full attention and Jeff Bezos cannot stop it. [...]



Facebook's Fake News Problem: It's A Media Company Run By Engineers

2017-11-10T00:30:31Z

During the recent hearings in Washington representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter were asked if they were media companies-- they replied that they identify as technology companies. Facebook and Google don't want to be classed as media companies because then they have to pay for the responsibilities of being media companies. But these are rich companies and they can afford the extra costs of employing editorial staff. It would create a little bit of a level playing field with traditional media companies who have to carry the costs of civil responsibility. Apart from expensive regulatory issues Facebook faces another problem: it’s a media company run by engineers. This is why it has trouble dealing with media problems such as fake news.... During the recent hearings in Washington representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter were asked if they were media companies-- they replied that they identify as technology companies. Facebook and Google don't want to be classed as media companies because then they have to pay for the responsibilities of being media companies. But these are rich companies and they can afford the extra costs of employing editorial staff. It would create a little bit of a level playing field with traditional media companies who have to carry the costs of civil responsibility. Apart from expensive regulatory issues Facebook faces another problem: it’s a media company run by engineers. This is why it has trouble dealing with media problems such as fake news. It doesn't have any media professionals that understand the issue and know what to do about it -- and have the seniority to execute. Facebook employs former journalists and editors but they were not hired to deal with fake news. Engineering fake news... The Pew Research Center recently surveyed 1,000 technologists about the problem of fake news and 51 percent said nothing can be done while 49 percent said the opposite. Which means these "tech experts" don't really know one way or the other. Why not ask media professionals? It's a media problem not an engineering problem. After all, you wouldn't ask reporters about Javascript's scalability in web projects. Facebook is a media company that doesn't know how to be a media company. But it can learn. And it doesn't have to learn the hard way by making business mistakes that the media industry solved many decades ago. There's several things that can be done very quickly that would go a long way to curbing fake news at Facebook, Google and elsewhere. Engineers know how to code but media professionals know how to code the culture and spot the fakes. Media engineers will one day be a hot new profession. - - - Please see: Analysis: Facebook's 3,000 editors...Is it still a tech platform? No good news for media industry in Internet Trends report Media company or tech platform? The hugely important battle to redefine Facebook Journalism+Silicon Valley: What Balance Of Power? [...]



Taste Of Science: Meet Marie Skłodowska Curie In 'Humanity Needs Dreamers'

2017-11-09T20:37:04Z

This evening (November 9) you can see a free showing of “Humanity Needs Dreamers” an immersive science film in which you meet Marie Skłodowska Curie - the two-time Nobel prize winner — played by Susan Marie Frontczak. I saw an early version of the film and it’s very good. Filmmaker Jen Myronuk and her team have produced a highly original work and the subject of the Polish scientist Marie Skłodowska Curie is very inspirational. The screening is part of the Taste of Science educational festival and also commemorates the 150th birthday of Marie Skłodowska Curie.   Humanity Needs Dreamers will be shown at 7pm - Monument House, 140 9th St, San Francisco - Light snacks and drinks - Free with rsvp. Written and performed by former...

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This evening (November 9) you can see a free showing of “Humanity Needs Dreamers” an immersive science film in which you meet Marie Skłodowska Curie - the two-time Nobel prize winner — played by Susan Marie Frontczak.

I saw an early version of the film and it’s very good. Filmmaker Jen Myronuk and her team have produced a highly original work and the subject of the Polish scientist Marie Skłodowska Curie is very inspirational.

The screening is part of the Taste of Science educational festival and also commemorates the 150th birthday of Marie Skłodowska Curie.  

Humanity Needs Dreamers will be shown at 7pm - Monument House, 140 9th St, San Francisco - Light snacks and drinks - Free with rsvp.

Written and performed by former engineer & living history scholar Susan Marie Frontczak, Humanity Needs Dreamers presents a first-hand look at Curie's early life in Poland through her groundbreaking research in France.

Filmmaker Jen Myronuk will lead a post-screening Q & A with the performer live via Skype followed by trivia with prizes in celebration of Curie's 150th birthday, including an edible elements birthday cake.

We'll be joined by Holly Million, Founder of Artists United, on the global need for artists and scientists to collaborate plus ideas for bringing science stories to the stage.

SF Day 2: Marie Curie's 150th Birthday Film Screening — taste of science




Facebook Fake News Problem: It's A Media Company

2017-11-08T02:21:44Z

Facebook (and Google) is finding it harder and harder to avoid being seen as a media company. I’ve called Facebook, Google, Yahoo and many others — high-tech enabled media companies for more than a decade. I’m glad others are seeing that: publishing pages of content with advertising around it is a media company.  This video interview with Scott Galloway, marketing professor at NYU, underlies this issue of is Facebook a media company? If it were classed as a media company it would create a little bit of a level playing field with traditional media because it would have to hire a lot of humans and its costs would rise dramatically. If Facebook loses its platform status you can bet it...

Facebook (and Google) is finding it harder and harder to avoid being seen as a media company. I’ve called Facebook, Google, Yahoo and many others — high-tech enabled media companies for more than a decade. I’m glad others are seeing that: publishing pages of content with advertising around it is a media company. 

This video interview with Scott Galloway, marketing professor at NYU, underlies this issue of is Facebook a media company? If it were classed as a media company it would create a little bit of a level playing field with traditional media because it would have to hire a lot of humans and its costs would rise dramatically. If Facebook loses its platform status you can bet it will make sure Google does as well.

src="//content.jwplatform.com/players/vPDdEI46-puACk8ZV.html" width="640" height="270" scrolling="auto" frameborder="0">

Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at NYU and author of the new book "The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google," discusses Facebook.

He says the company has embraced many aspects of a media company, but seems allergic to many of the associated responsibilities. He worries that the youthful management at Facebook doesn't have the historical context for the importance media plays in our society, citing Russia's manipulation of it during the 2016 presidential election. He doesn't buy the excuse that Facebook can't possibly screen its advertisers, and says they don't want to do it because it would hurt their profitability.

Scott Galloway says Facebook could screen its advertisers if it wanted - Business Insider




$GOOG: AI And Auto-Cars Can't Help A Rapidly Narrowing Future

2017-10-26T23:41:33Z

Alphabet/$GOOG reported strong earnings per share for its third quarter handily beating Wall Street estimates as revenues per click fell faster than expected and traffic costs rose substantially. Natalie Gagliordi reports:  The tech giant reported a net income of $6.73 billion, with non-GAAP earnings were $9.57 per share on revenue of $27.8 billion, when including traffic acquisition costs (TAC). On average, Wall Street was looking for Q3 earnings of $8.83 per share with $27.2 billion in revenue. Foremski's Take: $GOOG shares jumped more than $41 or 4% in after hours trading as investors welcomed the unexpected bonus of $1.23 earnings per share. This ignores an ongoing trend that should cause concern for investors: Google continues to make less revenue per click but...

Alphabet/$GOOG reported strong earnings per share for its third quarter handily beating Wall Street estimates as revenues per click fell faster than expected and traffic costs rose substantially.

Natalie Gagliordi reports

The tech giant reported a net income of $6.73 billion, with non-GAAP earnings were $9.57 per share on revenue of $27.8 billion, when including traffic acquisition costs (TAC). On average, Wall Street was looking for Q3 earnings of $8.83 per share with $27.2 billion in revenue.

Foremski's Take: $GOOG shares jumped more than $41 or 4% in after hours trading as investors welcomed the unexpected bonus of $1.23 earnings per share.

This ignores an ongoing trend that should cause concern for investors: Google continues to make less revenue per click but somehow finds ways of showing ever more numbers of advertisements.

Every quarter Google has to find more ways to get more ads in front of people because each ad makes less money. Its traffic acquisition costs rose substantially this quarter. How is this a sustainable business model?

As Google's ads fall in value it needs to find new places to show more ads. Yet the huge shift in Google users to mobile screens severely limits how much more advertising can be shown. 

How long can Google keep finding more clicks to make up for less effective advertising?

$GOOG needs to fix this time bomb in its core business because none of its other businesses such as cloud computing services are anywhere near being profitable enough - or scalable enough - to diversify away from a rapidly narrowing future: running out of places to place ever less effective ads.




Big Drop in Tech, Media And Telecoms Deals

2017-10-23T23:12:42Z

Europe’s Brexit problem could be to blame… There's a big slowdown in dealmaking in the global Technology, Media &Telecommunications (TTM) sector with the value dropping by $92 billion or nearly a quarter during the first nine months of this year reports Mergermarket. There have been $299.5bn of deals compared with $391.1bn during the year ago period. The number of deals: 2,370 held steady. The US has the largest market share at 43% of global deal value with 892 transactions worth $127.9bn including the largest deal of the year so far: The $14.4bn acquisition of Scripps By Discovery Communications. Europe reported 813 deals valued at $47bn and is likely to end the year at a record low market share due to... Europe’s Brexit problem could be to blame… There's a big slowdown in dealmaking in the global Technology, Media &Telecommunications (TTM) sector with the value dropping by $92 billion or nearly a quarter during the first nine months of this year reports Mergermarket. There have been $299.5bn of deals compared with $391.1bn during the year ago period. The number of deals: 2,370 held steady. The US has the largest market share at 43% of global deal value with 892 transactions worth $127.9bn including the largest deal of the year so far: The $14.4bn acquisition of Scripps By Discovery Communications. Europe reported 813 deals valued at $47bn and is likely to end the year at a record low market share due to uncertainty from Brexit. Elizabeth Lim, senior analyst at Mergermarket singled out Japanese giant Softbank in a "buying frenzy" acquiring a wide range of companies in AI, chips, and robotics. Softbank has acquired 26 companies so far this year — three times last year's investments. She included a quote from Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank: "Every industry that mankind created will be redefined. The medical industry, automobile industry, the information industry of course. Every industry that mankind ever defined and created, even agriculture, will be redefined." The top three deals in the global TTM sector for the first nine months of 2017: $14.4bn Discovery Communications acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive. $12.7bn Idea Cellular acquiring Vodafone India $10.6bn Bain Capital consortium acquiring Toshiba Memory stake. Mergermarket report. Foremski’s Take: Fewer big deals means bad news for Wall Street bankers but small deals are good news for Silicon Valley’s startups because it means exits for the investors. And capital comes back to go around again.   Fewer big deals could signify something else: there are few large target companies left that are worth acquiring. And will there be others to take their place? Startups are rarely able to grow larger than 100 people before being acquired. Digital vulnerability… There’s another trend at work with a longer horizon: The tech industry is becoming the media industry as an example of how the transformation of all business into digital businesses means every industry is vulnerable to high tech large scale business platforms such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and maybe Apple.  If you are a top competitor in the bricks and mortar world,  you would have to build stores and warehouses and expand into new geographies — scaling takes years. In the digital world — if you are the better competitor — business scaling takes just days. And scale always wins.  The global digital transformation that is underway — of all businesses across all industries — leaves every company vulnerable to disruption from highly efficient business tech platforms. Take a look at the digitization of the media industry. It will be repeated in other industries.  Deal flow value will shrink again. [...]



Rent the Runway CEO: Gender Discrimination Is Larger Workplace issue Than Sexual Harassment

2017-11-03T00:31:47Z

Jennifer Hyman, CEO of Rent the Runway clothing service said that she was the victim of sexual harassment but that gender discrimination is the larger issue and it’s not being addressed. Hyman was speaking to 200 female startup CEOs at the Project Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco.  The conference had to turn away more than 500 applicants.   Project Entrepreneur is a joint venture between Rent the Runway and financial services giant UBS with the goal of creating a pipeline of highly effective female startup CEOs with the skills to build fast growing companies.  Sexual harassment can happen at anytime, she said. “It happened once when I had already raised $80 million and I had revenues. He then went to my... Jennifer Hyman, CEO of Rent the Runway clothing service said that she was the victim of sexual harassment but that gender discrimination is the larger issue and it’s not being addressed. Hyman was speaking to 200 female startup CEOs at the Project Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco.  The conference had to turn away more than 500 applicants.   Project Entrepreneur is a joint venture between Rent the Runway and financial services giant UBS with the goal of creating a pipeline of highly effective female startup CEOs with the skills to build fast growing companies.  Sexual harassment can happen at anytime, she said. “It happened once when I had already raised $80 million and I had revenues. He then went to my board and tried to get me fired. He tried to destroy me and my business.” She had immediately reported the incident to her board. “I was lucky in that I had great relations with my board and they supported me completely.” She advised female CEOs to speak about such incidents from the very beginning. They should not feel trapped or alone. She said that gender discrimination is the larger issue and urged her audience to pay attention to gender diversity within their companies. The gender pay gap is substantial and discrimination is found in the latest tech jobs. A report in 2016 from Glassdoor found that many tech jobs have wider gender pay discrimination than other professions.  She said that male CEOs are treated with more respect by investors and by their own staff.  And male CEOs have a greater margin to make mistakes. She also criticized the lack of female visionaries quoted in the media.  Some organizations such as Silicon Valley Forum do name female visionaries in their annual awards which honor four recipients. Over the 20 year history of the SVForum Visionary Awards the majority have been male but in 2017 the majority were female. Three women were named a 2017 Visionary: Linda Rottenberg – CEO and Founder of Endeavor; Neri Oxman professor at MIT’s Media Lab; Megan Smith U.S. CTO. The fourth is Steve Jurvetson partner at venture firm DFJ.  Hyman co-founded Rent the Runway with Jennifer Fleiss and launched in November 2009. The company has funding of more than $176 million — the latest Series E raised $60 million in December 2016 followed $60 million in December 2014. Project Entrepreneur organizes half-day conferences for female founders of very early startups. They are taught many skills such as: how to pitch their ideas; the metrics that investors want to see; how to recruit a board of directors. Most of the teaching is done by female executives.  The organization also hosts a startup competition with 200 applicants and five winners offered $10,000 each and a five-week intensive accelerator program in New York City in April.  Application deadline is November 27 and the startups must have one woman founder, be at least 50% female-owned with less than $100,000 in funding. - - - Please see: Big jump in women [...]



CultureWatch: A Crowded Bus All To Myself

2017-10-19T20:10:11Z

When I was commuting to Menlo Park last year my journey would start on the San Francisco 38 Geary bus. It was always crowded and I’d be fortunate to squeeze in. I remember one particular gorgeous sunny morning and I’m on a very crowded bus. I look around and everyone’s eyes are on their phones.   I’m one of the tallest on the bus yet I don’t see a single person — across the entire double-length bus — looking up or around. Everyone’s eyes are down — subservient — I can’t meet anyone’s gaze at all. I’m thinking, wow! I have this whole bus to myself. Everyone’s mind is somewhere else. I love this photo of Marc Zuckerberg strolling...

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When I was commuting to Menlo Park last year my journey would start on the San Francisco 38 Geary bus. It was always crowded and I’d be fortunate to squeeze in.

I remember one particular gorgeous sunny morning and I’m on a very crowded bus. I look around and everyone’s eyes are on their phones.  

I’m one of the tallest on the bus yet I don’t see a single person — across the entire double-length bus — looking up or around. Everyone’s eyes are down — subservient — I can’t meet anyone’s gaze at all.

I’m thinking, wow! I have this whole bus to myself. Everyone’s mind is somewhere else.

I love this photo of Marc Zuckerberg strolling with a huge grin through a large auditorium where everyone is wearing VR goggles except him.

It amuses me to think that Zuckerberg wants reality all for himself —  a private domain — while everyone else is immersed in manufactured virtual realities.  Just like he buys up houses next to his so no one can see into his world.  

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Zuckerberg’s goal is to have 1 billion people in virtual reality writes Dean Takahashi in VentureBeat:

“We all have limits to our reality, and opening up more of those experiences to all of us is not isolating,” [Zuckerberg] said. “It is freeing.”

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I’m discovering a new appreciation for reality — the original kind. I like its razor-sharp definition, it has many levels of challenging gameplay plus the tactile feedback is exquisite.  Reality — it’s the real thing — the others are made by others.