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Month: January 2013

1/29/13

1/29/13

Good morning, All,

Warning: We're on the soap box this week: Michael Arrington posted this about journalistic integrity: Truth, Money, Right, Wrong. The issue is that CBS, which own c|net, is dictating policy and according to Arrington, journalists have rules “designed to ensure their objectivity and impartiality.” As if that concept exists anymore in a world of ‘All the news that we see fit to print.” It was social media and the online press that organized to defeat (at least for now) PIPA and SOPA. And this from Yahoo! News: Press Ignores Lives Saved Because Of Firearms, Says CCRKBA “In the month following the tragic Newtown school shooting, more than 65,000 people used firearms in self-defense, yet the national news media has virtually ignored this important aspect of gun ownership.” And lest we forget: Queens residents arm themselves in the post-storm blackout from looters. In Hurricane Sandy's aftermath, the police were busy elsewhere and the rule of law broke down. A hugely vocal proponent of the gun ban, what we find amazing is that Mayor Bloomberg always travels under a heavily armed guard, even when visiting his home in Bermuda and note: Bermuda is a gun-free zone – but Mr. Bloomberg saw to it that he received a special dispensation. Yet the Mayor blasts NRA call for armed school guards. Hey, as long as we’re all equal under the law… We are not advocating either way: we are saying that we have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms, and we cannot allow a bifurcated system where our Mayor can bring armed officers to a gun free zone in the name of protection, yet he favors denying the electorate the same rights. Our heart goes out to the Newtown families who lost loved ones, and if our elected officials are so concerned with protecting the children, why are they fighting legislation to protect them: namely, by installing armed guards in the schools? TSA – how long did it take for that to be instituted? Not long at all. The larger issue is: Americans have the inalienable right to own guns based on the Second Amendment. Think the attack on your rights ends – or starts – there? You have the right to personal property, right? The government can seize your property in the name of Eminent Domain. Formerly, if the government felt they needed your property, they had the right to seize it. That's been changed. Now, if they want your property, done deal. And you have no recourse.

Thomas Jefferson said, “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” In NYC, Mayor Bloomberg has legislated the kind of oil used in the popcorn at movie theatres (vegetable oil has replaced the far healthier coconut oil), and the size of sodas that you’re allowed to buy. Nationally, foods do not need to be marked if they're Genetically Modified. But wait! There’s more! Unlocking your cell phone became a crime as of Saturday, January 26. And it will carry fines between $2,500 and $500,000, and in some cases, prison time. You need the approval of your carrier. So, who owns your phone, after all? We witnessed prosecutorial overreach in the suicide of Aaron Swartz a few weeks ago. And that was not that’s prosecutor’s first suicide, thanks to her political ambitions: Prosecutor of Aaron Swartz Linked To Another Suicide Of Defendant. Nor was that an isolated incident: do the government's right supersede the rights of the governed? This is what led to the founding of our country in the first place. We believe in the Constitution and only bring up the fire arms issue as it is center stage at the moment. But make no mistake about it: this is very much about all of our rights that are currently Constitutionally protected. No matter how you feel about fire arms, once you’ve allowed one of your rights to be legislated away, the precedence has been set for any and all of your rights to disappear. We cannot allow our lawmakers to show a blatant disregard for the very laws and tenets upon which this country was founded, and which they swore to uphold. Let us not forget the many lives that were lost to secure those rights in the first place. More frightening still: if we lose them, what’s next and what will it take for us to secure them once again? Onward and forward. Read More...

1/22/13

1/22/13

Good morning, All,

A brief history: Web 1.0 was the age of the information highway. Remember, there was no there there, and that’s what we were building, and bringing eyeballs online. Web 2.0 is the social web, where people connect and interact. The cost of building and hosting websites dropped, and so went barriers to entry. The Lean Movement was born and the concept of the MVP – minimum viable product. Eyeballs were still the currency of the day. Now we’re in the Age of Mobility – face it, we’re all on smartphones and/or tablets and many of us work out of co-working spaces, from home or remotely. The mindset is changing: online, in all of its iterations, is here to stay, but eyeballs will get you just so far. Welcome to the Smart Movement, and isn’t it about time?

Want to build an app? Make sure it’s something people will want to pay for – or at least offer a premium version as well, and make the value add worth paying for. Building something with a recurring revenue stream? Really Smart Movement. Think Gillette razors: the body itself is affordable enough, but the replacement blades - gotcha. Brilliant. You can put up banners and ads – really? Still? If you’re getting no traction with potential investors, it’s because their model has changed, too: they want to invest in a business, so you’d better be building one. An ad revenue model will get you just so far , too – unless you’ve got some new twist on the concept that’s a slam dunk with advertisers. Look at the Mommy Vertical. Mommies are busy and will pay for things that make their lives easier – especially if it saves them time, money, effort, or d) all of the above. Affiliate programs. Recurring revenue streams. Product placement. Subscriptions. Rewards points. All fine, but who knows what else you’ll come up with, that’s particular to what you’re building. Get your mind out of the box: this is still a new industry – come up with a new model. No one has pulled that off yet, but it's time. Whatever you do, build smart. Build with a revenue model in mind from Day 1. You can build lean, but unless you’re also going to build smart, hope you like lean, because you might be facing a lot of lean times ahead. Now, get out there and invent the future. Onward and forward. Read More...

1/15/13

1/15/13

Good morning, All,

Not the usual newsletter this week, as we were greatly disturbed to hear of the passing of Aaron Swartz (RSS feed, Reddit) by his own hand. Most of you have already heard about it. He was 26 and facing criminal charges that might have led to his being incarcerated for more than 30 years, $1 million in fines and exorbitant legal bills to fight the charges, which were deemed outrageous by industry experts. Swartz’s family issued the following statement: "Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney's office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims."

No one was hurt; no damage was done; no money changed hands. In fact, JSTOR, from whom he allegedly stole the more than 4 million articles, never pressed charges against Swartz, yet he potentially faced a prison term stiffer than given to some murderers. While we do not sanction criminal behavior, lest we forget, this country was founded on civil disobedience, and one of the most famous acts took place in Massachusetts itself, the very state where Swartz was facing charges. But Aaron had two strikes against him: he was an advocate of open democracy (demandprogress) and he was facing a federal prosecutor working under a US Attorney with her eye on the governor’s mansion. There is a petition being circulated to Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz. Punishment should fit the crime, and citizens of the United States should not be terrorized by the very people who we’ve empowered to protect our rights and freedoms. And lest we forget: the only thing necessary for the perpetuation of evil is that good people do nothing. Sign the petition. Onward and forward. Read More...

1/8/13

1/8/13

Good morning, All,

It’s that time when everyone is making prognostications about the new year, and it’s something we tend to studiously avoid. This year, we’re making an exception, given what we’ve been seeing lately:

- Fred Wilson touting the enterprise as the New Black - Fred Wilson pointing out that he’d made no investment in 2012 (his associates did) - The claims that Series A is dead – or at least a lot harder to get to (The Series A Crunch Survivor’s Guide. Just in case: http://bit.ly/WpO5WW) Read More...

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