Talk on the street suggests that Hootsuite’s problems are not all related to the downturn in the larger […]
With good intentions, and also a good dose of Facebook business strategy to expand its base of users, Mark Zuckerberg has struck out to promote Free Basics, a free limited Internet for the poor in less developed countries sponsored by Facebook and its local telecommunications partners. While on the face of it Free Basics would seem to have merit, Zuckerberg has run into a wall of opposition. On close inspection of the details, Facebook’s problem, despite all of its global corporate sophistication, appears to be naïveté about the foreign markets it is trying to enter. It is possible to argue that Zuckerberg and Facebook have the best of intentions and sound arguments. But the best of intentions and sound arguments mean nothing if the key element lacking is a clear understanding of the current foreign market, and the crucial need to adapt to it or fail. Zuckerberg could have looked no further back than 2013 for clues to why he has failed.
I found this important editorial opinion piece in The Guardian, the UK journal. The point of this is, […]
This is another in my occasional series on Big Ideas. Last night I had my first opportunity to watch Particle Fever, the acclaimed 2014 documentary on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. This followed my reading of a much more recent New York Times Op-Ed, describing a crisis in physics resulting from the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Essentially, the science of physics has no ability any time in the foreseeable future to experimentally go beyond the Higgs Boson. Physics is unlikely to be able to find The Holy Grail: a unifying Theory of Everything tying Einstein and the Higgs Boson into one simple elegant explanation.
LinkedIn shares yesterday plummeted precipitously after the company announced poorer than expected results, and downgraded prospects for the remainder of the year. Looking beyond the downgraded forecast and the costs associated with the $1.5 Billion acquisition of lynda.com, some analysts scrutinizing the press release, noted that there was no growth reported in the user base of “over 350 million users”, despite moves into China and other markets. Premium user revenue grew significantly but that did not come near to offsetting the total revenue number. Revenue and number of users are the two numbers followed most closely by investment analysts.
LinkedIn’s recent acquisitions have been noted as a LinkedIn strategy for compensating for flat overall user growth, and for diversifying into new markets to augment growth.
As some may already know, Google is launching its Fi mobile phone service in the United States, and with aggressive expansion plans, hopefully, into Canada and Europe. Google has partnered with Sprint and T-Mobile in the United States. But the intriguing aspect of this new business is Google’s intent to offload phone service to WiFi wherever possible. This prospect has been looming in the wings for awhile, with the talk of true Metro-scale WiFi using VHF white space, and Google’s innovative experiments with “Loon Balloon,” (see my earlier post), and with low orbiting satellite WiFi coverage. Whether these risky and expensive experiments will materialize is another question. However, the prospect of wider area, stronger signal metro WiFi continues to move forward. Google’s hybrid approach using both mobile service frequencies and WiFi to provide full mobile voice and data service is beginning to sound very interesting.
In an extraordinary turn of events, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission appears set to implement strong new rules, later this month to enforce Net Neutrality on the Internet. If the new rules are implemented, it will have major favorable implications for future global Internet policy with the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, Switzerland. This means simply that all traffic on the Internet will be treated equally and fairly, which is one of the founding principles of the Internet, since its invention by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Vin Cerf and others back in the 1980’s.
Hopefully this comes as no surprise to many, but for some, alas, I am afraid they have yet to get the email. It’s yet another case of the 1% versus the 99%. Only one percent of Web app developers have made any real money, the other ninety-nine percent are SOL. Forty-seven percent of those, make absolutely no money or less than $100 on their app. Not surprisingly there are now over a million apps on the Apple store, and when you add all of the other sources for apps, you can see that the problem is coming to a head. I saw this coming over two years ago and wrote about the problem on this blog, citing a New York Times story published about that time, describing the dark underbelly of the Web app development culture. In a satire of the problem, last year The Onion published a gag story about a new app called “Squander” that enabled users to “geolocate others nearby who had also wasted $2 on the same app.”
Over the last few months there has been a flood of reports from me and a host of other journalists, predicting the imminent fragmentation of the Internet we have all known” an unrestricted global network. Some, including Eric Schmidt of Google, and others have argued that it is a recent phenomenon precipitated largely by the NSA Prsim and Thinthread snooping of all Internet traffic, and perhaps also including Chinese military snooping. Bill Gates, Vin Cerf, and Mark Andreeson have all pooh poohed the end of the Internet as we know it, arguing that it is “too big to fail.” Where have we heard that before? The reality is that the fragmentation of the Internet has been evolving for years as numerous governments attempt to prevent the Internet from undermining their power and authority, long before the NSA, GCHQ and the Chinese military began messing with the Net. The old Internet we knew is dead, and we had better get accustomed to dealing with the NEW Internet
The answers to this question make a great tour of Silicon Valley history. I added my own answer: the historic bronze plaque commemorating Bob Noyce’s invention of the integrated circuit. It is outside the front of the old Fairchild Semiconductor building, at the corner of Ararstradero Road and Charleston Road, and is almost completely forgotten. Probably the most important invention in our generation. Like so much of Silicon Valley, it is very difficult to easily visit the most important sites or get any sense of their significance. But this list is very good. The historical significance of some of these places will be instantly obvious, others less so. They are all important, so it’s your homework assignment.
i.e. the places of great historical significance to the technology industry … HP Garage, Googleplex, Shockley Semiconductor office, etc.