Facebook’s shark-jump advertising moves

Facebook’s shark-jump advertising moves:

I’ve been told by adtech professionals that a funny thing about their business is that Google and Facebook are terribly jealous of each other: Google is jealous of Facebook because Facebook can get especially personal with its users, while Facebook is jealous of Google because Google can advertise all over the Web. And yet both are missing real human relationships with their users, because the users are not customers. They are the products being sold to the companies’ real customers, which are advertisers.

What’s keeping Facebook from offering paid services to individuals — or Google from offering more than the few they do? Here’s one reason I got from a Google executive: it costs too much money to serve individual human customers. This isn’t verbatim, but it’s close: If our users were actually customers, we would have to support them with human beings, and we don’t want to make less than $1 million per employee (Yes, that was the number they gave.) And yet, all advertising-supported businesses could benefit a great deal by having at least some of their users become subscribers.

[What a mess…]

Source: Doc Searls Weblog

→ Google admits WebM infringes H.264 patents

→ Google admits WebM infringes H.264 patents:

As usual, “open” is just lip service. And it works. It works damn well. You wouldn’t believe the amount of nasty feedback I’m going to get for writing this from people who think Google is contributing, out of the goodness of its heart, to the grand benevolent technical cause of whatever “open” means to each of them as they happily hand over more and more of their privacy and data to the very closed vaults of the world’s biggest advertising company.

[Well said.]

Source: Marco.org

Hypercritical: The Case for a True Mac Pro Successor

Hypercritical: The Case for a True Mac Pro Successor:

Halo cars also push car makers to their limits. Engineering teams must use all their skills and all their powers to create the very best car possible. This exercise inevitably leads to the exploration of new technologies. The failed experiments are forgotten, but the winners eventually find their way into more prosaic cars from the same manufacturer.

[Apple was never in “halo” product business. The MacPro used be the machine you needed to run big screens. It was the machine you needed when you were doing stuff like ProTools with a bunch additional processing cards, or large image Photoshop with giant screens. Of course, for most of us those things can be happily accomplished with the *laptops* Apple produces. Now I think it entirely possible that Apple can create a desktop machine that is priced for meer mortals but is extensible enough for that sliver of true high end that still exists. Whether or not that will add to a halo type device is in the eye of the “car guy”.]

Yahoo: Mayer culpa | The Economist

Yahoo: Mayer culpa | The Economist:

Ms Mayer’s move is not just a bad idea in itself but also a nail in the coffin of the naive notion that women with big jobs help their sisters up the ladder. Her plan will knock out a few rungs. Flexible employers help women run families and jobs simultaneously. Rigid working practices make combining the two impossible or unpleasant. To be fair, as somebody who took two weeks off to have a baby, Ms Mayer is hardly asking others to do what she would not; but then she has dulled the pain of separation from her child by installing a nursery next to her office. Yahoo’s less privileged and less Stakhanovite women may well hoof it to a friendlier organisation.

But this is not just about women. A well-managed company’s workers want to be productive, and managers trust them to decide how and where they will perform best. If that’s not happening, the boss needs to find out why. You can shackle a Yahoo to his desk, but you can’t make him feel the buzz.

[A lot of folks ask what I think about this since I run a remote team with folks in 3 countries. And the short answer is if folks aren’t motivated to work you need to fix that, and not place rings around how they do what they do. Solid piece.]

Michael, Steve, & Lance

OTL: Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building – ESPN:

THE OPPOSITE OF this creeping nostalgia is the way Jordan has always collected slights, inventing them — nurturing them. He can be a breathtaking asshole: self-centered, bullying and cruel. That’s the ugly side of greatness. He’s a killer, in the Darwinian sense of the word, immediately sensing and attacking someone’s weakest spot.

[Same thing about Jobs. Same things about Lance. There are certain types of greatness that make it easy to, maybe nearly demand this behavior. I don’t think it’s required. I think it’s a flaw. But possibly one that keeps them human in the face of the searing burn they demanded of themselves.]

A VC: The Management Team – Guest Post From Joel Spolsky

A VC: The Management Team – Guest Post From Joel Spolsky:

The “management team” isn’t the “decision making” team. It’s a support function. You may want to call them administration instead of management, which will keep them from getting too big for their britches.

Administrators aren’t supposed to make the hard decisions. They don’t know enough. All those super genius computer scientists that you had to recruit from MIT at great expense are supposed to make the hard decisions. That’s why you’re paying them. Administrators exist to move the furniture around so that the people at the top of the tree can make the hard decisions.

When two engineers get into an argument about whether to use one big Flash SSD drive or several small SSD drives, do you really think the CEO is going to know better than the two line engineers, who have just spent three days arguing and researching and testing?

[Recently Joel was kind enough to have some of my team over for lunch and a tour of the FogCreek offices. It was great to see Joel again and it was interesting to see how well the design of the offices held up. I agree with the above completely. I’m there to help my team do what they need, not try and figure out everything myself. As Joel concluded… “It means hiring smart people who get things done—and then getting the hell out of the way.” I try to do just that every day.]

Fog creek 9

Why Apple Doesn’t Talk, Vol. 3: Sony’s PlayStation 4 Announcement

Why Apple Doesn’t Talk, Vol. 3: Sony’s PlayStation 4 Announcement:

If you’re going to strike early, you must strike hard. A strong offering is strong at any time. The same goes for a weak one. The difference is knowing what you have, and adjusting the message accordingly. Sony did not do that yesterday, and has now lost the opportunity to do so tomorrow.

[I continue to believe it’s easier to get these thins wrong than get them right.]

Source: Apple Outsider

The Google Glass feature no one is talking about — Creative Good

The Google Glass feature no one is talking about — Creative Good:

And this is where our story takes a turn, toward a ramification that dwarfs every other issue raised so far on Google Glass. Yes, the glasses look dorky – Google will fix that. And sure, Glass forces users to be permanently plugged-in to Google’s digital world – that’s hardly a concern for the company or, for that matter, most users out there. No. The real issue raised by Google Glass, which will either cause the project to fail or create certain outcomes you may not want (which I’ll describe), has to do with the lifebits. Once again, it’s an issue of experience.

The Google Glass feature that (almost) no one is talking about is the experience – not of the user, but of everyone other than the user. A tweet by David Yee introduces it well:

There is a kid wearing Google Glasses at this restaurant which, until just now, used to be my favorite spot.

The key experiential question of Google Glass isn’t what it’s like to wear them, it’s what it’s like to be around someone else who’s wearing them. I’ll give an easy example. Your one-on-one conversation with someone wearing Google Glass is likely to be annoying, because you’ll suspect that you don’t have their undivided attention. And you can’t comfortably ask them to take the glasses off (especially when, inevitably, the device is integrated into prescription lenses). Finally – here’s where the problems really start – you don’t know if they’re taking a video of you.

[Mark nails it.]

★ Open and Shut

★ Open and Shut:

That’s what bothers people about Apple. Everyone used Windows, why couldn’t Apple just settle for making stylish Windows machines? Smartphones required hardware keyboards and removable batteries; why did Apple make theirs with neither? Everyone knew you needed Flash Player for the “full web experience”, why did Apple drop it? 16 years after the ad campaign, “Think Different” has proven itself to be more than glib marketing. It is a simple, serious motto that serves as a guiding light for the company.

I think what Wu and his brethren believe is not that companies win by being “open”, but that they win by offering choices.

Who is Apple to decide which apps are in the App Store? That no phone will have a hardware keyboard or removable battery? That modern devices are better off without Flash Player and Java?

Where others offer choices, Apple makes decisions. What some of us appreciate is what so rankles the others — that those decisions have so often and consistently been right.

[Great stuff.]

Source: Daring Fireball