What to Watch For

The intro to my latest post on Medium: It’s easy to trivialize wearables by saying things like “their only benefit is saving your hand a trip to your pocket,” but there are vast implications of saving that trip our hand makes dozens of times per day. Not only can it make our existing uses for smartphones […]

Chipotle’s ‘The Scarecrow’ – and Other Ideological Brand Videos

Brilliant, beautiful, haunting. Deeply ideological brands are powerful and rare. Deeply ideological founders help. That may be the driver for this one too, in some ways even more explicitly positioning Steve Ells as the hero of the respective stories. One critique of ‘The Scarecrow’: the story seems to lack a pivotal moment of catharsis like ‘Back to […]

Twitter wasn’t mentioned in 50% of Super Bowl ads after all – hashtags were

Matt McGee, writing about Super Bowl XLVII commercials for Marketing Land: According to my count, Twitter was mentioned in 26 of 52 national TV commercials — that’s 50 percent of the spots that aired during CBS’ game coverage. Facebook was mentioned in only four of those commercials — about eight percent. Google+, which is reportedly […]

Perhaps the most important thing to recognize about native advertising

Matt Cooper, writing for Pando Daily: This is perhaps the most important thing to recognize about native advertising. Done right, native doesn’t merely fit into the stream of a publisher’s user experience in terms of design – it fits with the publisher’s value proposition in terms of content. Great piece.

Google Fiber: the brilliant intersection where Google and consumers both win

David Talbot, writing for the MIT Technology Review: A Google spokeswoman says the company “expects to operate profitably” and that Google Fiber is neither a loss leader nor a PR stunt. … The cable distribution giants like Time Warner Cable and Comcast are already making a 97 percent margin on their “almost comically profitable” Internet […]

Amazon Prime Is Still The Best Subscription

Subscription services provide unlimited access to stuff. Unlimited means stress-free, never-think-about-it convenience. What types of things are subscriptions good for?  Amazon Prime is the best thing I subscribe to, with Rdio, Flickr, Netflix and HBO in a 4-way tie for second. The $79/yr price for Amazon Prime is a steal for free 2-day shipping (often […]

What if Samsung Had Accepted Apple’s Smartphone Patents Licensing Offer?

Just for fun, I looked at the hypothetical impact on Apple’s iPhone profit and Samsung’s mobile unit profit if Samsung had accepted Apple’s offer to license its smartphone patents to Samsung for $30 per device sale. Based on Samsung smartphone unit sales of 21.25 million smartphones over the period, they would have paid Apple $637.5 […]

The Simple First Rule of Branding and Marketing

Seth Godin: Not a secret, often overlooked: “Keep your promises.” This is why marketing is now the job of entire organizations, not just marketers. Marketers have always been good at making promises, but historically it has been the rest of the company’s responsibility to actually deliver on those promises. The mark of a good marketer […]

Comcast’s 10-Year Deal With Disney Includes Out-of-Home Viewing

Amy Chozick and Brooks Barnes for the New York Times: Comcast and Disney said Wednesday they had agreed to a 10-year deal that will allow the cable provider to distribute Disney content via television and streaming on iPads and other devices. But it’s not exclusive in any way.  So Disney (which owns ABC and ESPN) can […]

iPhone Sales Estimates: Pay Attention

Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Katy Huberty’s note covering an AlphaWise survey of U.S. consumers conducted for Morgan Stanley the week after Thanksgiving: “Surprisingly,” she writes, “US consumers expect to buy more iPhones in C1Q12 than C4Q11” (emphasis hers). Even discounting the survey results 10%, that suggests Apple could sell 13 million iPhones in the U.S. and […]

Apple Obscures Future Device Hints with Fake References

One file in particular, USBDeviceConfiguration.plist, had formerly listed about two dozen different device variants. As discovered by 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, that list has now ballooned to well over 100 such entries as Apple has seeded it with dozens of new fake references to such future products as “iPad10,1”, “iPhone11,3”, “iPod11,1”, and “AppleTV8,3”. Apple TV version […]

Understanding the Future of “Le Internet” (as the French say)

Forrester CEO George Colony gave a great presentation at Le Web last week. Ironically, he predicts the death of the “le web”. Because the web was the first widely adopted way for people to use the Internet, it’s easy to forget that the web and the Internet are not the same thing. As Colony reminds […]

Amazon Will Pay You $5 to Check Price, Order from Amazon Instead

Tricia Duryee for AllThingsD: Amazon is offering consumers up to $5 off on purchases if they compare prices using the online giant’s mobile phone application in a store. The promotion goes live Saturday and will serve as a way for Amazon to increase usage of its bar-code-scanning application, while also collecting intelligence on prices in […]

I Don’t Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore

Dan Pallotta writig for the Harvard Business Review blog network: I’d say that in about half of my business conversations, I have almost no idea what other people are saying to me. The language of internet business models has made the problem even worse. When I was younger, if I didn’t understand what people were […]

Josh Topolsky Reviews the Galaxy Nexus on The Verge

Really like this new site that launched on November 1 – congrats to Josh Topolsky and everyone who’s making it happen. Especially my friend David Pierce. My favorite part so far: they rate products based on design, not specs. I’m confident we’ll never see a spec comparison chart on The Verge. Funny, though: on the […]


Fred Wilson, principal of Union Square Ventures on his blog AVC: We wrote in business school, but I don’t recall a lot of effort being put into making us better writers. And for almost two decades in venture capital, writing meant memos and quarterly reports and not much more. Then, at age 42, I started […]

Stanford Offers iPhone App Development Course Free on iTunes U

I used Stanford’s first semester of iPhone App Development on iTunes U in 2008 and found it really useful. My one complaint: I had no background in programming and couldn’t find the prerequisites on iTunes. Jordan Golson at MacRumors points out that everything you need to get from turning on a computer to robust iPhone […]


Mutually. Assured. Destruction. Bill Simmons breaks down the standoff between NBA owners and players: The owners treated these negotiations as a natural extension of their business, only caring about their bottom line and nothing else. The players took the proceedings much more personally. After things fell apart on Monday — when the NBPA rejected David […]