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Month: February 2014

2/25/14

2/25/14

Good morning, All,

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. Or $16B, depending on how you’re doing the math. Tomatoes, Tomahtoes. Peter Shankman made some good points about the deal. Everyone else chimed in as well. One of the reasons why Facebook bought the platform was because they were hemorrhaging the youth market. You know, those people who hate being tracked and advertised to. You know, those things FB likes to do.

Question: whatever happened to doing due diligence before the deal went through? FB had its reasons for the acquisition. Hope they understand WA’s audience and this just in: no sooner had the announcement been made that 1M users fled to Telegram. As well as to six (other) alternatives to WhatsApp ,now that Facebook owns it. Didn’t help that WhatsApp came under new scrutiny for its privacy policy and encryption gaffs. Read More...

2/18/14

2/18/14

Good morning, All,

Not everyone is good at public speaking, and hasn’t Tim Armstrong proven that time and again. OK, when he quite publicly fired the creative director at Patch, he did warn the guy to put the camera down. That was insubordination. But when he mentioned distressed babies while explaining why employees 401(K) benefits were changing, his remarks were taken out of context, and he would have been better served had he paid more attention to WC Fields, who never worked with animals or children. Probably not the best idea to mention them while trying to make justifications to employees, who are not predisposed to liking what you’re saying in the first place, not to mention the media being what it is. Let’s face it: it made for great headlines and a lot of ink, justified or not, during a more or less quiet news week: we couldn’t be totally absorbed with the Olympics or even #SochiFail 24/7.

Tim Armstrong should have had a better speech coach – or some executive coaching, period. Or a speech writer. Or even a better, a competent corp comm staff. The story managed to escalate so quickly, AOL back-peddled rather than to even attempt to do damage control. Or maybe Armstrong fired the wrong person when he set his sights on the creative director of Patch. Read More...

2/11/14

2/11/14

Good morning, All,

No sooner had reporters arrived in Sochi that the problems began – and the twitterverse went nuclear. #SochiProblems (a personal favorite and great comic relief or is this that mysterious ‘half bath’ NYC residents often see listed) and #SochiFail quickly went viral. In fact, @SochiProblems has more followers – and climbing - than does the official @sochi2014 account.

This, on the heels of Twitter’s stock losing 25% of its value – that same day – due to a lack of mainstream adaptation (twitter has 1.2 billion users, and a very high abandonment rate). Not that the mainstream press has ever been a big fan of twitter. In fact, in most cases, try to tweet one of their stories, using the twitter icon they themselves provide. It usually doesn’t work. Dear Mainstream Media, this just in: software is eating the world. Learn how to use it. Or stay a dinosaur and don’t shoot the messenger. In times when there’s an event that captures the world’s attention, the world turns to twitter. It’s the great equalizer and sorry, Wall Street, but we don’t believe it’s going to disappear any time soon. What news outlet didn’t feature #ScochiProblems in some article/report somewhere in the past few days? It’s a news breaker. Learn to use it properly, or it could be a deal breaker. Then again, Twitter isn’t Facebook and should not be measured using the same yardstick. It more a global IM platform than it is a social network, and again, we’re reminded of the words of Beethoven, when the maestros of the day complained to the composer that they had a difficult time with his music, to which the maestro responded: “I did not write if for you.” Read More...

2/4/14

2/4/14

...Don’t really give a damn about what other people think. Good morning, All,

In this industry, we talk a lot about disruption and innovation, but as much as the two are used interchangeably, there’s a chasm between them. Disruption is that a-ha moment. True innovation is seldom recognized, unless you have the vision to see 20 minutes into the future.

We read a piece this week called How to stop giving a f@$% what people think. Just one key bit of information missing. Going to as many panels as we do, where investors are often there to give their feedback, we notice that people who are both pitching and attending listen with rapt attention. Sometimes the feedback is valid. Depends on the panelist/investor, of course, and note: many a times, the investor will be someone who made a killing during Web 1.0 – the halcyon days of technology when traditional companies were snapping up web based companies, whether it made any sense or not. We call it acqui-hiring now. Only the names have been changed to deceive the clueless. Sometimes they did it to have a New Media Presence. Not all of those instant millionaires were the visionaries or founder. Quite a few were simply in the right place at the right time and lucky them. Many of them are even good investors. Others are doing now what they were doing then: making it up as they went along. Which may go far to explain the lemming mentality of investors. Always consider the source, and at the end of the day, good idea to keep your own counsel. Especially if you are doing something truly visionary. It may only be 20 minutes into the future, but it takes the world a long time to catch up. And catch on. Onward and forward. Read More...

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