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 […]

My concerns about Apple’s potential advertising business

My second post on Medium: 99.98% of Apple revenue can be attributed directly to the end user experience I’m not convinced the potential increase in developer support is worth even the smallest risk of compromising the end user experience that drives their core business. And the risk doesn’t seem all that small. Ads never enhance […]

Animation manipulation

There are too many animations shown in the new iPad commercials. Too many because they leave no room for demonstrations of direct manipulation of on-screen objects. The obviousness and clarity of interfacing with technology through direct object manipulation with your fingers has always been the iPad’s primary differentiator among personal computers. And the smoothness of those interactions […]

“Make no mistake about it. Our nation is under attack.”

David E. Sanger, David Barboza and Nicole Perlroth, reporting for The New York Times: An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the […]

“You lend entirely on the basis of character”

From Adam Lashinsky’s excellent interview with the founding partners of a16h: Ben Horowitz, on venture capital: It’s not an asset class. It’s not an industry. It’s the very small number of firms that the best entrepreneurs in the world are willing to take money from. And Marc Andreesen: The classic quote was JP Morgan himself […]

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 […]

The way that we’re going to ratchet up our species

Steve Jobs, 1995: “The way that we’re going to ratchet up our species is to take the best and to spread it around to everybody, so that everybody grows up with better things.” UPDATE: Pretty much the opposite of Sam Walton’s ideology for another one of the largest companies ever: “If we work together, we’ll […]

“Then of course they can go off and make it happen.”

Steve Jobs, 1995: You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left John Sculley got a very serious disease. It’s the disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work. And if you just tell all these other people “here’s this great idea,” then of course […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]


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 […]