This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.
It’s warmer today, but cloudy. It hasn’t been above 32 since the snow fell, yet the snow is going away. Perhaps the earth has enough stored heat to melt it, but that battery is running down. Anyway, here’s some stuff from around the internet this morning.
WORTHWHILE FRENCH VIDEO:
You’ll have to trust me on this. Listen to the introduction and wait until the song starts at :59. That’s right: you have to wait almost an entire minute for the amusement to commence, which makes this thing almost like 19th century literature. Stick with it.
CATS I’m immune to most cute cat pictures, but there’s something about Grumpy. If Carl from “Up” had a cat this would be his cat. Now Grumpty has a Christmas Card:
Ho ho whatever. More here.
SCIENCE Tell me you haven't said this at one time or another:
"We all had a good giggle at Google as we sailed through the island," Steven Micklethwaite, a scientist at the University of Western Australia.
Well, giggle at Google at your peril, chum. The whole story’s here - a tale of old maps, a phantom island, satellite data, copyright traps and general cartographic nerdery. It actually contains the phrase “intrepid librarian” used without mocking irony. Which I applaud wholeheartedly.
From the same site, the latest UFO footage, waiting to be debunked. Or, if you don’t believe in UFOs, it’s waiting to be bunked.
Denver Redditors headed out with cameras to prove a weird, completely nutso proposition: it’s not extraterrestial beings in an engineered craft, it’s bugs. Flying in front of the camera.
MOA IN THE NEWS I can vouch for this, from cultofmac:
On Black Friday, Gene Munster and his team of analyst from Piper Jaffray spend eight hours counting heads at the Apple Store. They also spend two hours monitoring the Microsoft Store and found that Microsoft didn’t sell a single Microsoft Surface tablet.
Sunday I went to the MOA Microsoft store to play with the Surface, but they were all busy. There was a minder standing over most of the customer; only one seemed to be playing with the device unmolested. I rolled out of the store and went across the road to the Apple store, where I think they had about 40 iPads out. In contrast to the Surface displays, people were picking up iPads and playing with them. You can’t pick up a Surface at the store, as far as I could see; they wanted you to sit and type, since the keyboard is part of the experience.
Perhaps. Maybe that’s a killer feature. But no one gets excited about a new gadget because it lets them sit and type. The people who picked up the iPad knew just want to do - point, touch, swipe, tap. The Surface just sits there. I know, I know - it’s a different type of device, and the keyboard gives it a distinct advantage over the on-screen keyboard, but compared to the nimble new iPod Mini, it’s like an IBM mainframe.
I seem to have strayed from the subject. Which is:
the consumer web has matured. we are almost 20 years into the consumer web and we have large platforms that are starting to suck up a lot of the oxygen. google, facebook/instagram, amazon, microsoft, apple, twitter, ebay, yahoo, AOL, craigslist, wordpress, linkedin together make up a huge amount of the time spent online, particularly in the english speaking world. there are still occasional new entrants into this list and departures too. tumblr and pinterest have risen a lot in the past couple years while myspace has declined. but consumer behaviors are starting to ossify on the web and it is harder than ever to build a large audience from a standing start.
That’s Fred Wilson, a New York VC, talking about the difficulties start-ups face today. People are locked into various platforms; mobile trumps the desktop, but the mobile space is difficult to break into. Verge.com, writing about Wilson’s post, notes: “In the private market, Color blew up despite its impressive investor slate and $41 million in funding.” Oh, man - Color. I remember the hype around that. Something to do with people . . . sharing . . . color. I don’t know. It was a ghost-town after its launch, and according to its site it’s shutting down at the end of the year.
What happens to your Color.com content, then? I don’t know. There are a few video / photo apps I’ve played with, only to dump when I discovered I had to sign up for an account, and store my stuff on their servers so I could share it. I could invite my friends! We could all share little 5-second videos!
Here’s my suspicion: the majority of people who sign up for these things are between the ages of 12 and 19. They have the attention span of hummingbird in a hailstorm, and they join and abandon with nonchalance. Find a way to make the kids stick around, and find a way to make them pay, and you have something. The problem: they bore easily and don't want to pay for anything.
Other than that, there's a clear and easy path to profitability.