“No natural phenomenon on Earth will be hotter. Like the sun, the cloud will go nuclear. The zooming hydrogen atoms, in a state of extreme kinetic excitement, will slam into one another, fusing to form a new element—helium—and with each atomic coupling explosive energy will be released: intense heat, gamma rays, X rays, a torrential flux of fast-moving neutrons propelled in every direction. There isn’t a physical substance that could contain such a thing. Metals, plastics, ceramics, concrete, even pure diamond—all would be obliterated on contact, and so the machine will hold the superheated cloud in a “magnetic bottle,” using the largest system of superconducting magnets in the world. Just feet from the reactor’s core, the magnets will be cooled to two hundred and sixty-nine degrees below zero, nearly the temperature of deep space. Caught in the grip of their titanic forces, the artificial earthbound sun will be suspended, under tremendous pressure, in the pristine nothingness of iter’s vacuum interior.”—Science is amazing.
“One of the things that’s going to be huge in the future is the ability to get educated online. That’s a wave that’s going to hit in a major way in the next 20 years, and will be a huge improvement to consumer welfare all around the world.”—
“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”—
“Twitter may (and probably will, possibly soon) die off; Facebook may (and probably will, possibly soon) die off; indeed, every geegaw we’re using to communicate with each other will die off and be replaced by something new. But that essential behavior—broadcasting bits of our thinkings and doings to other people who are interested to know them—will continue, in whatever form.”—
It all comes down to perception and positioning of the application. The core location data in Foursquare might be more valuable, but it still gets unfairly tagged as a game or a lightweight Yelp.
Ah, 2009, when everybody and their VCs were jumping onto the gamification bandwagon. Good times.
If I recall correctly, Dennis has now gone on record saying that Foursquare spent too long pushing the “game” aspect of the service, but what a lot of us missed — and to Mark’s point, still miss — is that Foursquare’s gamification was always pretty clearly a means to an end.
“Assume for a moment that some of these measures really have helped make our persons and property safer—are they worth it? Where and when was the public debate on whether they’re worth it? Was there no such debate because we’re not capable of having or demanding one? Why not? Have we actually become so selfish and scared that we don’t even want to consider whether some things trump safety? What kind of future does that augur?”—David Foster Wallace (via theatlantic)
“There is much of Silicon Valley that warrants criticism: the mono-culture now threatening San Francisco’s storied diversity and general weirdness; the anonymous office park sprawl of its built spaces; the male-dominated engineering culture; its assumption that all disruptions are good ones by definition; its casual scorn for older institutions.”—
“The top 100 tech companies granted 19% of their total ownership to non-senior-executive employees. For the rest of corporate America, that number was 2%. In other words, when it came time to share rewards with ordinary employees, the Tech 100 were ten times more generous than low-tech firms.”—Learning From Los Gatos — The Peer Society — Medium
“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face,” he writes in the book’s prelude: “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 14,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?”—
I like Jaron Lanier a lot, but this illustration as some sort of evidence of the internet hollowing out the middle class is, forgive me for saying so, idiotic. A child could figure out where those jobs went.
1) Instagram SHOWS the photos. We have to include all of the people who work on the cloud that supports that.
2) Kodak made cameras and film. Cameras are still being made - even moreso. At the very least, we should include the current #1 camera maker’s employees. At this point, that’s apple. Fifty thousand employees. Pro rate it to only the apple devices that have cameras, ignoring their mac business. 30,000 employees.
3) The film business still exists. It was just lost to Fujichrome, who still makes film and has over 30,000 employees. This has nothing to do with the web, but rather something called “Globalization.”
The internet didn’t kill a single job in photography. There are more cameras now than ever. There are still tens of thousands of people making film.
Take the market cap of JUST these three companies - facebook, apple, fujifilm, and we’re looking at $500 billion market cap, and nearly 90,000 employees.
Think that’s unfair? Canon has nearly 200,000 employees. Nikon has 24,000. 10,000 more than Kodak. Shit, ZEISS has 24,000 employees.
Never mind every single camera in an android phone.
Those jobs went overseas, and they went to computer companies, Mr. Lanier. They still exist. The internet didn’t kill a single one of them.
Rafer sez: Huzzah, plus Kodak’s consumer film executives went out of their way to line their pockets on the way down, at the explicit and afaik knowing expense of the nascent digital businesses. They killed Kodak, probably knew they were doing so, and showed no signs of caring at all.
I was the first internet PM for Kodak Hollywood. My product line was one of their victims.
Peter Thiel, expressing his dissatisfaction with technology’s progress, recently noted, ‘We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.’ Do you agree with him?
I feel sorry for Peter Thiel. Did he really want flying cars? Flying cars are not a very efficient way to move things from one point to another. On the other hand, 20 years ago we had the idea that information could become available at your fingertips. We got that done. Now everyone takes it for granted that you can look up movie reviews, track locations, and order stuff online. I wish there was a way we could take it away from people for a day so they could remember what it was like without it.
In the first few months, they were getting one customer monthly wanting to pay in Bitcoin; now it happens three to five times a week. In one case, a customer paid 4 Bitcoin for what was then $48 USD worth of cupcakes. When the price spiked to over $200, that sale turned into an $800 one. Longson says she was tempted to convert her Bitcoin over to USD then, but she and her husband decided to keep her Bitcoin bank.
“Bitcoin is in its infancy. I’m mostly showing my support for it,” says the freckled, red-haired Longson, who is six months pregnant. “I realize it’s a volatile market and I might take a loss, but it’s interesting to be involved in. It leads to really interesting conversations about how our economy is based on arbitrary people deciding how much a $1 is worth.”
“We need to be angry and empathize with the victims without being scared. Our fears would play right into the perpetrators’ hands — and magnify the power of their victory for whichever goals whatever group behind this, still to be uncovered, has. We don’t have to be scared, and we’re not powerless. We actually have all the power here, and there’s one thing we can do to render terrorism ineffective: Refuse to be terrorized.”—The Boston Marathon Bombing: Keep Calm and Carry On - National - The Atlantic
“As regular readers of this letter will know, our energy at Amazon comes from the desire to impress customers rather than the zeal to best competitors. We don’t take a view on which of these approaches is more likely to maximize business success. There are pros and cons to both and many examples of highly successful competitor-focused companies. We do work to pay attention to competitors and be inspired by them, but it is a fact that the customer-centric way is at this point a defining element of our culture.”—