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Author: Bonnie

Libra. In Facebook We Trust?

Libra. In Facebook We Trust?

Facebook announced the soon-to-debut of Libra, its new cryptocurrency, last week, saying that it hoped to bring billions of the unbanked into the digital economy, providing them with basic financial services through their cellphones, eerily echoing Facebook’s original mission to bring the world closer together with its social platform, in case you missed the irony.

We all know how that worked out. Read More...

Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Brown M&Ms

Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Brown M&Ms

mms.wikia.com

Musicians and artists can be quirky, and some are famous for making absurd demands – because they can. Among the seemingly quirkiest: Van Halen (in the David Lee Roth days), who demanded that a bowl of M&Ms candies be available backstage, with all of the brown ones removed and there’s actually a brilliant reason for it, according to Insider.

The demand was buried in the rider to the performance contract – a rider that was roughly the size of the Manhattan phone book, and the M&Ms provision was placed inconspicuously within the document to ensure that the promoters actually read it. It primarily included technical specifications to do with lighting, staging, necessary infrastructure, security, etc.

There’s Always A Reason

Van Halen had a mammoth stage act, or as Diamond Dave explained, “At the time, it was the biggest production ever”…In many cases, the venues were too outdated or inadequately prepared to set up the band’s sophisticated stage,” and very specific technical needs had to be met to ensure that no one on either side of the stage got hurt due to a lack of attention to detail. If all of the provisions were not met, Van Halen had the right to keep all of the proceeds from the concert, which often totaled in the millions. Their litmus test? The brown M&Ms. If they spotted brown M&Ms, they knew that, chances were, the rider had not been fully read, much less adhered to, and the band would need to do a serious line check. Here’s the Diamond Dave interview that explains what proved to be a shrewd business move – and safety test. Read More...

Why the Food Hipsters Are Pissing Me Off

Why the Food Hipsters Are Pissing Me Off

Image by Ross Cains from Pixabay

Disclaimer: we know that the information here applies to none of our readers, and is not to be taken personally.

 

Here’s the thing about hipsters: they want to be different, re non-conformist, so they adopt a unique way of dressing. Of course, those accouterments then become the hipster uniform, and so much for non-conformity. Read More...

Did Google’s Sunday Outage Just Prove the Anti-Trust Argument?

Did Google’s Sunday Outage Just Prove the Anti-Trust Argument?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We’ve said many times that no one stays on top forever. The Justice Department is preparing a new antitrust investigation against Google parent Alphabet Inc. – again. To refresh your memory and as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, “This comes six years after a similar probe from the Federal Trade Commission, which resulted in no significant damage to the company that powers more than 90% of the world’s internet search activity.”

Closer scrutiny is long overdue. What was not reported was the history of the past anti-trust investigation: it was 2013 – the days when Google executives were frequent guests at the White House during the past administration. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, Google visited the White House 230 times – more than all other tech companies combined. Both Google co-founder Larry Page and Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton met with FTC officials and top White House advisors. The investigation was then shut down when Google promised to voluntarily police itself. Interestingly, this is when Net Neutrality discussions also began and here’s an interesting statistic:

Alphabet/Google Market Caps prior to Net Neutrality: $399.05B for January, 2015. Market Caps as a result of Net Neutrality: $664.55B for Sept. 29, 2017 Read More...

With the Socials Catching Heat, Is this the Summer of Opportunity?

With the Socials Catching Heat, Is this the Summer of Opportunity?

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Memorial Day Weekend always officially kicks off the summer season and serves as a reminder that, if you’re looking for funding, carpe diem – investors are about to unplug for the season.

We’ve long mentioned that no one stays on top forever – times, tech and tolerance change – and you’re aware by now that the socials are under attack. By governments and users. Last week, CrossFit, Inc. Suspend(ed) Use of Facebook and Associated Properties, reporting, “Recently, Facebook deleted without warning or explanation the Banting7DayMealPlan user group. The group has 1.65 million users who post testimonials and other information regarding the efficacy of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. While the site has subsequently been reinstated (also without warning or explanation), Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion.”

This is not an advert for Crossfit. It’s a heads up to entrepreneurs that it’s not game over. With all of the missteps on the part of the socials, the heat is on. It’s now open season and time to focus on the problems that they’ve created and that someone somewhere will solve – by building a better mousetrap. You want to be a unicorn? Solve a big problem that a lot of people are having, and a lot of people are having problems with the behemoths, including Facebook (and its properties), Twitter, Amazon (and its devices), and Google. Read More...

The Next Iteration: Beware Demon Tech

The Next Iteration: Beware Demon Tech

Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

Now that the LUPA/PAUL stocks have (mostly) gone public – Lyft, Uber, Pinterest and Airbnb), these supposed category killers aren’t exactly killing it in the stock market. It’ll be interesting to see how the massively funded We Company (nee WeWork) does and despite all of this, we’re still witnessing massive funding rounds. Vice, for one, despite its stalled growth, recently raised $250M, a pittance compared to the $575M raised by Deliveroo. At some point, growth does stall; hockey stick growth is unsustainable or as Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human et al, said at the Techonomy conference in New York last week, “exponential growth is a problem. The only thing that can grow exponentially forever is cancer, and then it kills its host.”

We’ve known Rushkoff personally since the early days of Web 1.0, which, he reminded us, was when we all innocently believed that the web would distract us from the insular world of television and bring us together, which Mark Zuckerberg told Congress was the intention of Facebook. Well, that and world domination, although he did not share the latter with Congress.

Back in those early days, Wired Magazine told us that the internet was going to be the salvation of the NASDAQ stock exchange. This was the attention economy, and, said Wired, thanks to digital, the economy would grow exponentially, unstopped, forever. And Alan Greenspan agreed: New paradigm! Unlimited growth! Forever! What they didn’t realize was that this economic system was a very old, obsolete operating system invented by the monarchs in the 12th and 13th century to prevent the rise of the middle class, Rushkoff noted. Read More...

Pay Attention to the Insights of Co-Founders

Pay Attention to the Insights of Co-Founders

If you’ve ever applied to an accelerator or approached (many) investors for funding, one of the most important points they check, especially in the case of investors, is team.

Above all, they want to know about the co-founders, and truth be told, most investors shy away from a startup with a solitary founder, the stated reason most often being that you should be able to find at least one person who shares your vision or passion and is willing to throw in with you. It’s also difficult to operate in a vacuum: much easier if you have that other person off whom to bounce ideas, and to keep you in check, if need be. Read More...

Don’t Look Now, But Tech Just Became Way More Dangerous (Actually, You Need to Look)

Don’t Look Now, But Tech Just Became Way More Dangerous (Actually, You Need to Look)

While we’re not big on conspiracy theories – we’re simply too busy to get sidetracked – we do love to follow trajectories to see where things may be going. Or to once again quote Wayne Gretzky, if you want to know where the puck is going, look to where it has been.

The news this week was the banning that has been happening with the social media platforms. War on Free Speech: Facebook Bans People It Considers “Dangerous”, and Twitter is at it, too. While the question seems to be coming up more and more – Is it time to break up Twitter, or regulate it as an edited platform (Big Tech Trying to Have it Both Ways as Platform and Publisher)?, and this would extend to all of the socials – let’s be honest, aren’t they publishers, after all? In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself is calling for regulation, and that should be concerning, especially given his focus, which is in lock step with that of the tech cartel, trust us. As Wired reported, Platforms Want Centralized Censorship. That Should Scare You.

So, why now?

Forest through the trees time, and Big Tech has gotten the four Ds down to an art, and yes, four – Deny, Deflect, Defend, Delay. Important, considering what else has been going on in tech to which not many people have been paying much attention: the rise of the Fakes, or as we prefer to call them, PHAkEs, which is our acronym for Post Human-Acknowledged Entities. Read More...

As the FAANG Founders Turn – On Each Other

As the FAANG Founders Turn – On Each Other

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You have to give Mark Zuckerberg credit. Love him or hate him, he does act very deliberately, even if you might believe that it is with malice aforethought.

Netflix founder and CEO Reid Hastings resigned from the Facebook board this past week. Peggy Alford, currently senior vice president of Core Markets for PayPal, will be nominated to join the board of directors and become its first black member, but there’s a clear case of missing the forest through the trees here.

Facebook is reportedly spending $1 billion on producing original content. When Hastings joined the board in 2011, he said that he had been trying to figure out how to integrate Facebook and make Netflix more social, so getting on the board was a good deal, according to Business Insider. Read More...

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