Interesting links (weekly)


  • Bottom line is that you need a strong business model backing your products. Apple has one, and Amazon is just pushing into the new space, while Google is still not sure what to do.

    tags: amazon tablet ecommerce

  • So, Marx had something in his diagnosis of capitalism. Now, if we could only find a suitable prescription for the economy.

    tags: socialism capitalism politics economics communism marx

    • America’s largest private employer is Walmart. America’s second largest employer is McDonald’s
    • while Marx’s prescriptions were poor, perhaps, if we’re prepared to think subtly, it’s worthwhile separating his diagnoses from them
  • Proposed redesign of the iTunes agreement. One aspect that Apple has not been able to simplify thus far.

    tags: apple agreements design

  • Nice bunch of tips to consider for your website design

    tags: infographic design webdesign

  • More relevant now than ever before

    tags: cartoon economist capitalism

  • Communism didn’t work that well, and neither does unrestrained capitalism it seems…
    The infographic on top is particularly enlightening

    tags: jobs nytimes economics usa depression

    • Most telling of all, Washington deregulated Wall Street while insuring it against major losses. In so doing, it allowed finance — which until then had been the servant of American industry — to become its master, demanding short-term profits over long-term growth and raking in an ever larger portion of the nation’s profits.
    • Germany has grown faster than the United States for the last 15 years, and the gains have been more widely spread.
    • Yet the rich are now being bitten by their own success. Those at the top would be better off with a smaller share of a rapidly growing economy than a large share of one that’s almost dead in the water.
  • It makes you wonder how startups manage to even survive, much less grow to become Apples, Microsofts & Googles, once such “mangers” come into the picture.

    tags: startup entrepreneurship

    • What really sent him over the edge, as far as I can tell, was when I related my  response to a member of the Harvard faculty who asked me what it was like to  watch venture capitalists and professional managers run ArsDigita (I replied  “like watching a group of nursery school children who’ve stolen a Boeing 747 and  are now flipping all the switches trying to get it to take off”).
  • All the tools do is to make the weak ties more accessible, but that’s not going to lead to too many revolutions outside of slacktivism & clicktivism. Unless of course, the internet is turned off. That would be the real stimulus to get people off the armchair.
    Time to revisit the high context & low context culture definitions too

    tags: activism socialmedia facebook gladwell

    • Are people who log on to their Facebook page really the best hope for us all?
    • In the Iranian case, meanwhile, the people tweeting about the demonstrations were almost all in the West.
    • “Through it all, no one seemed to wonder why people trying to coordinate protests in Iran would be writing in any language other than Farsi.”
    • Even revolutionary actions that look spontaneous, like the demonstrations in East Germany that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, are, at core, strong-tie phenomena. The opposition movement in East Germany consisted of several hundred groups, each with roughly a dozen members. Each group was in limited contact with the others: at the time, only thirteen per cent of East Germans even had a phone. All they knew was that on Monday nights, outside St. Nicholas Church in downtown Leipzig, people gathered to voice their anger at the state. And the primary determinant of who showed up was “critical friends”—the more friends you had who were critical of the regime the more likely you were to join the protest.
    • The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on Facebook, as you never could in real life
    • By not asking too much of them. That’s the only way you can get someone you don’t really know to do something on your behalf.
    • In other words, Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice.
    • No one believes that the articulation of a coherent design philosophy is best handled by a sprawling, leaderless organizational system. Because networks don’t have a centralized leadership structure and clear lines of authority, they have real difficulty reaching consensus and setting goals. They can’t think strategically; they are chronically prone to conflict and error. How do you make difficult choices about tactics or strategy or philosophical direction when everyone has an equal say?
    • Enthusiasts for social media would no doubt have us believe that King’s task in Birmingham would have been made infinitely easier had he been able to communicate with his followers through Facebook, and contented himself with tweets from a Birmingham jail.
    • A networked, weak-tie world is good at things like helping Wall Streeters get phones back from teen-age girls.
  • Are we people or “sheeple”?

    tags: activism culture wikipedia language people

  • And so we have a proper definition & wikipedia page for it

    tags: activism socialmedia culture language wikipedia

    • posits that people who support a cause by performing simple measures are not truly engaged or devoted to making a change
    • the desire people have to do something good without getting out of their chair
  • It’s not enough to just have a vision & supreme taste. You need to be able to really refine them & make them a reality.

    tags: apple stevejobs innovation design

    • But the idea, so common in this week’s media coverage, that Jobs was an inspired savant who succeeded by taking big risks on personal hunches, is way off the mark. Rather than worship at the altar of inspiration and “going with your gut,” the rest of us should use this moment to consider the fundamental strategies that drove Apple’s success.
    • And, oh, the marketing: brilliant marketing. No one is better at creating attention than Apple. But attention without fulfillment is a straw fire. The magicians say “Presto!” and we gasp in delight. But they deflect our attention from the back-breaking labor that goes into assuring a perfect customer experience, hundreds of times a day, at 300 stores around the world, and countless conversations on the phone.
    • Under Jobs’ leadership, Apple has done 10 times the amount of relevant homework of most companies — internal competitions, supply chain training, endless deal-making, endless recruiting, training, and generating and sustaining employee excitement that you just can’t fake.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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