silicon valley

drag2share: Apple Has Just Divided The World Into Two Classes: Gold iPhone People And Plastic iPhone People (AAPL)


karl marx apple iphone 5s gold 4x3

Apple’s announcement today of two new iPhones — the expensive iPhone 5S and the cheap iPhone 5C — gives consumers, indeed society, a clear choice: gold iPhone or plastic iPhone?

This is not a simple question.

It’s about your identity, your status.

Gold or plastic?

Can you afford the new gold iPhone, at $399 for the high-end model? Or will you be forced to take the $99 deal on the plastic iPhone?

(Let’s not even mention those of you who are thinking of taking an iPhone 4S. Sure, it’s now free with a contract. But what does that say about you as a person? It doesn’t bear thinking about.)

The iPhone was already a divisive phone. Samsung has made a great business over mocking the snobbery that surrounds it. For Apple consumers, the choice has  been simply, iPhone or “other” phone.

Now it’s more complicated. Especially if you’re a teenager, or a member of Harvard Business School’s Society X, or anyone else ! concerne d with status and class — which is to say, everybody.

Gold iPhones are going to be like a Gucci bag or a pair of Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses — they’re going to scream your status as one of Apple’s higher end customers, standing behind Silicon Valley’s mobile velvet rope.

Likewise, those red, blue and green iPhone 5C’s will announce their presence with a different message: “Can you spare any loose change?” They’re expected to be big in China.

Apple insisted that its cheap phone needed no apology. Chief designer Jony Ive said, “iPhone 5C is beautifully, unapologetically plastic.” It seems odd that he felt the need to preempt the idea that plastic ought to be apologized for.

The gold iPhone, of course, didn’t get such a defensive pitch.

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Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 news No Comments

drag2share: NYC Startup Uses Big Data To Disrupt Small Business Lending


NYC Startup Uses Big Data To Disrupt Small Business Lending

Jun 10, 2013

lower manhattan sunsetFor the vast majority of small businesses — the ones away from New York and Silicon Valley and in industries like dentistry and auto repair — getting financing is a massive pain.

It involves reams of documents, weeks of waiting, and frequent rejection.

New York startup On Deck Capital hopes to appeal to these millions of businesses with a loan application process that takes minutes to complete and can be approved within a day.

On Deck’s secret is software that evaluates loans within minutes based on analysis of data including cash flow, past credit use, and vendor payment history.

While banks look closely at a business owner’s personal history, the startup makes decisions based on data about the business itself.

At the same time, the startup is efficient enough to deal with small clients.

“Banks typically don’t love lending to smaller businesses,” On Deck CEO Noah Breslow told Business Insider. “It’s much more efficient for a bank to make a million dollar loan than a $50,000 loan.”

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Monday, June 10th, 2013 news No Comments

The Android Platform Migrates To Low-Cost PCs


Mobile Insights is a daily newsletter from BI Intelligence that collects and delivers the top mobile industry news. It is delivered first thing every morning exclusively to BI Intelligence subscribers.

BII android platform distribution

New Acer $400 PC Will Run Android (CNET)
This should give Microsoft pause: Acer’s new all-in-one PC, named the AIO, will run Android. Intel has dropped hints that more Android-powered low-cost PCs are on the way. Although Android chief Sundar Pichai threw water on the idea of connecting the Android and Chrome operating systems, it makes sense in a multi-device computing world to have the same operating system underpinning mobile-devices and low-powered laptops. Read >

The Average American Spends An Hour Of Quality Time With Their Smartphone (AllThingsD)
That’s according to a new study out by Experian. At least half that time is spent talking and texting. Read >

Apple’s iPhone Sales in India Up 400 Percent (Apple Insider)
It’s starting from a low base, but Apple is now moving 400,000 devices per month thanks to aggressive pricing strategies. However, some observers have penned articles with a contrarian take, saying that in fact, India has become a “dumping ground” for outdated iPhones 4 models. Read >

BII_GG_FunA Fun Take On Privacy In A World With Google Glass (Taptastic)
From pro-privacy haircuts, to portable anonymous lighting, to simply scaring off other Glass wearers with your own pair. A light-hearted take on a serious issue: what will happen to privacy in a world where no one knows whether you’re filming them or not? Read >

Is Silicon Valley An Echo Chamber, Or Can It Make Apps For The Rest Of The World? (The New York Times)
Nick Bilton of The New York Times muses about whether Silicon Valley creates many apps that just aren’t relevant to lifestyles outside of the privileged, engineer-choked world of Northern California. He analyzes success stories like Uber, and an a! pp calle d Twist as he considers this question. Read >

A Handy Infographic Outlining App Global Store Stats (
Interesting to note that Microsoft’s store and the Amazon Appstore, the latter with only 16 million total downloads, are dwarfed by the competition. (See below.)

How Mobile Apps Have Changed the World


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Monday, June 3rd, 2013 digital No Comments

White House taps former Twitter lawyer as first Chief Privacy Officer


White House taps former Twitter lawyer as first Chief Privacy Officer

Two months after appointing Todd Park as Chief Technology Officer, the White House has picked Nicole Wong for the newly created position of Chief Privacy Officer. Details about the job are still MIA, but she’ll likely be working closely with Park. One thing’s for sure, though: Wong brings some serious Silicon Valley cred to the table, having worked on product copyright and privacy issues at Google for eight years and, more recently, serving as Twitter’s legal director. If you recall, the EFF gave that social network high marks when it released its annual report last week — an auspicious sign if we’ve ever seen one.

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Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 news No Comments

LinkedIn Is Turning Itself Into A Very Valuable Media Company (LNKD)


jeff weiner

LinkedIn is successfully turning itself into a media company, notes Scott Devitt at Morgan Stanley.

This is fairly obvious to anyone who has been paying close attention, but it’s worth mentioning again.

LinkedIn Today started off as an aggregation of news for LinkedIn users. The content is tailored to what they enjoy. As it became more popular, LinkedIn asked people to write original content for LinkedIn. That too is proving to be successful.

Now that LinkedIn Today is an established platform, CEO Jeff Weiner revealed yesterday his plans for making money on LinkedIn’s content. He says it will be a content marketing platform. It sounds like LinkedIn will use LinkedIn Today to sell sponsored posts, doing advertising like BuzzFeed, where a marketer puts its message in the format that readers of LinkedIn Today are comfortable with.

This is the trendy ad format right now. For LinkedIn, it’s a pretty great fit. Unlike at a traditional media organization, LinkedIn’s content often involves marketing, innovation, and ideas. For big tech brands trying to connect with professionals, sponsored content will be a pretty good deal.

It’s another line of business for one of the most financially diverse tech companies in Silicon Valley.

It’s also a clever way for a social network to do advertising. Often, advertising on social networks either feels irrelevant or intrusive.

Here’s the short blurb from Devitt at Morgan Stanley on what Weiner said:


New opportunities in Marketing Solutions from original content: Jeff Weiner mentioned that Marketing Solutions was one of the opportunities he is most excited about as the company moves forward. In addition to robust opportunities in traditional B2C and B2B advertising, LinkedIn is in the early stages of establishing itself as valuable content marketing platform. Insights from thought leaders and companies sharing white papers / other valuable professional insights create incremental monetization opportunities through sponsored posts on the LinkedIn homepage.

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Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 news No Comments

CHART OF THE DAY: Apple’s Disappointing Quarter In Context (AAPL)


The sentiment around Apple has gotten so negative, you can forget how amazing the company is actually doing. This chart from Statista puts it in context.

Apple was the most profitable company in the world last quarter. In terms of tech companies, it’s more than twice as profitable as the nearest competitor, Microsoft.

That last one is a telling comparison, though. It’s not all about profits. It’s about future growth, and future products. Microsoft has always been an insanely profitable company. It’s been left for dead by investors and the cool kids in Silicon Valley because it whiffed on mobile.

Apple hasn’t whiffed on the next big thing. But there seems to be a fear that it’s not going to nail the next big thing. (Or, perhaps more reasonably, the next big thing won’t be as profitable as the iPhone.)

So, even though Apple had gigantic profits last quarter, the stock is still down. But, still, they are seriously gigantic profits.

Chart of the day shows Apple's disappointing quarter in contect, February 2013

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Saturday, February 9th, 2013 news No Comments

Google’s New Platform For Entrepreneurs Will Spark A Butterfly Effect


You’ve got to hand it to Google: they rarely do anything in a small way. “Google for Entrepreneurs (
),the search giant’s new, global umbrella initiative of programs and resources supporting entrepreneurs and startups, is genuinely impressive in its breadth, depth and thoughtfulness. They’re kicking off the initiative with Google for Entrepreneurs Week with events in 26 cities in 13 countries around the world this week.

They’ve already got entrepreneurial-support programs and partnerships set up in places as wide-ranging as Korea, Israel, South Africa, Bulgaria, London, Egypt, Australia and Kenya – not to mention activities in Portland, Austin, New Orleans, D.C., Atlanta and numerous other U.S. locations.

I appreciate several things about what Google is doing with this effort, but let me highlight three here. First, they’re taking a holistic approach, providing people support and expertise, community – both virtual and in-person – online tools, and in some locales, even incubator space and mentorship.

Second, they’re approaching entrepreneurship with an attitude of social responsibility, with special programs to assist minorities and women, and going out of their way to support activities in the developing world. And third, they’re being open and approachable, making sure it’s easy for individuals to tap into the available resources by simply perusing the clear online kiosks.

It would have been easy for a company like Google to put up a bunch of web tools and re-label them as “…for entrepreneurs” – and then hold a few live sessions in Silicon Valley. But to put feet on the ground in Nairobi and Nashville and Ho Chi Mihh City and Haifa is a different matter entirely.

Time will tell, but we may see these programs plant thousands of s! uccessfu l new seedlings.

Jim Price is a serial entrepreneur and Adjunct Lecturer of Entrepreneurial Studies at the Zell Lurie Institute at The University of Michigan Ross School of Business. ©2012, James D. Price.

NOW READ: Business Schools Need To Train Entrepreneurs >

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Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 news No Comments

Marissa Mayer Is A Founder Of Yahoo (YHOO)


Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square

We should consider Marissa Mayer a founder of Yahoo, said Square CEO Jack Dorsey at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco today.

What does that mean, since she actually joined the company some 18 years after its founding?

Dorsey, who actually is a founder of both Square and Twitter, explained that Mayer wasn’t a literal founder of Google, where she was an early employee, or Yahoo, where she’s now CEO.

He was a big fan of her hire at Yahoo.

The vogue in Silicon Valley has been to favor founders as CEOs—the great example being Steve Jobs, who stunningly revived Apple when he returned to the company in the late ’90s. 

Mayer can fill the founder’s spot at Yahoo, Dorsey said, because she has “the drive, the commitment, the moral authority to change the company.”

Older companies like Yahoo need to have “founding moments,” Dorsey argued. 

“A founder is not a job,” Dorsey said. “It’s an attitude, it’s a role, it’s an idea that can happen again and again and again.”

Yahoo still has one of its actual founders, David Filo, at the company—and one of Mayer’s first moves was to have him report directly to her. (He’d previously reported to a number of different technology exec! utives.)

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Monday, September 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Facebook And Zynga Have Finally Launched Their Ad Partnership (FB, ZNGA)


Facebook ads

It’s been more than two years in the making, but Zynga, the giant social-gaming company, has finally started running ads placed by Facebook.

Inside Facebook first noticed that the social network’s targeted ads now appear on They’re pretty much identical to the Sponsored Stories and other ad formats Facebook displays on its own site, and indeed, Facebook’s Help Center tells users that these are the “same ads you see on”

In March 2010, after resolving a dispute over the cut Facebook would get from Zynga’s virtual-currency sales, the two companies signed a long-term agreement to cooperate.

In 2011, Zynga revealed details of the agreement in an amended S-1 filing, showing that Zynga and Facebook had agreed to share advertising revenues if Facebook sold ads on Zynga websites.

AllThingsD suggests that this might be the start of a Facebook-run ad network, similar to Google’s AdSense, in which Facebook would place ads on all kinds of third-party sites. That’s not exactly a new notion: As early as 2007, speculation was rife in Silicon Valley that Facebook would launch a third-party ad network. The real surprise is how cautious the move-fast-and-break-things hackers at Facebook have been about introducing one.

Even now, caution abides: It’s not a given that this effort will expand past Zynga, but given the preexisting agreement between the companies, Zynga’s a logical place to test.

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Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 news No Comments

WOOHOO! A Giant Magazine Publisher Just Dropped $10 Million On This Startup


Advertising Shot 400x218

Unified, whose software is used by brands and ad agencies to buy, manage, and measure how ads perform on social networks, just raised $10 million from Advance Publications, the owner of magazine publisher Condé Nast.

The startup also pulled in another $4 million from Silicon Valley Bank, for a total of $14 million.

CEO Sheldon Owen’s reaction on signing up Advance: “Woohoo!”

“They own an incredible amount of media properties and understand social is the future of advertising,” said Dave Donahue, Unified’s head of communications.

Andrew Siegel, a former Yahoo dealmaker who joined Advance in 2010, is joining Unified’s board.

Unified has been around for a little over a year. Its revenues are already in the double-digit millions, Donahue said. Microsoft, BMW, and GE are among its 200 clients.

The company plans on using the funds to grow sales, ramp up its tech by doubling the engineering team in the next four months, and invest in marketing.

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Thursday, June 7th, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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