Ad Blocking Is Destroying The Internet -- And That Might Be Just What It Needs

  • Published in Online Spin, September 25, 2015.

  • Psst. Over here. Yes, you. I have a secret. Promise you won’t tell? OK, here goes:
  • You know how you can get all this amazing free stuff on the Internet? You can read anything you want, learn anything you want, watch anything you want? Well, that’s the secret: It isn’t actually free.

  • It’s been said that if you’re not the customer, you’re the product -- and this is exactly what’s happening online. The free content is used to lure in the bait (that’s you, the reader), and the bait is used to catch the big fish (that’s the advertisers).

Sorry, Morgan Brown: Growth IS Marketing, Just Not The Way You Think

He wrote it back in June of 2014, but it only hit my newsfeed last week: a piece by co-founder Morgan Brown, attractively (as you’d expect) titled ”Ten Things I Learned Researching Ten of the World’s Fastest Growing Startups.”
It’s a good piece, and GrowthHackers is a good site, explicitly rejecting spam and other shady tactics. Lessons One and Two contain such worthwhile advice as, “Growth is nothing without the product” and “Growth is never ‘done.’”
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Haptic Impact Device Takes Virtual Reality One Step Closer To Disrupting Reality

“Does virtual reality disrupt reality?” That’s the question Singularity University’s David Roberts posed on a sunny spring day in Mountain View.
Roberts had just finished walking us through the story of disruption via the evolution of the spice trade. Spices, he said, were originally traded in order to cover the smell and taste of rotting meat, at a time when we didn’t have other methods of preserving it. But in 1806, when Frederic Tudor figured out how to ship frozen lake ice from New England down to the Caribbean, the spice trade was destroyed.
Not a single company from the spice industry made it into the lake ice industry.

Maybe Uber Won't Lead The Autonomous Car Revolution After All

  • Published in Online Spin, September 4, 2015.

  • Um, so, remember how last week I was saying that Uber would be the main force driving (haha) the transition to autonomous vehicles?
  • I may have been wrong.
  • Not about Uber’s motivation to get autonomous vehicles on the road, though. Uber is, first and foremost, a technology company: its magic is in the app and the algorithm. The drivers are kind of incidental, and if they can be eliminated, it would allow Uber to deploy its technology even more efficiently and even more profitably.

Because Of Uber, Self-Driving Cars Will Be Everywhere -- And Soon

Regular readers of my column will be aware that I’ve become a little obsessed with exponentially accelerating technology of late.
I blame Singularity University -- “SU,” to the converted -- where I spent a week in March becoming fully indoctrinated into the cult of inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. There I heard that Intel’s Gordon Moore was more correct than even he realized when he came up with his now-famous law about the performance pace of computing doubling every 18 months. Moore’s Law doesn’t just apply to computers. It applies to any information-enabled technology, like robotics, nanotech, artificial intelligence, and more -- all moving inexorably along an exponentially accelerating curve.
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The Two Biggest Reasons Your Content Marketing Is Failing

  • Published in Online Spin, August 20, 2015.

  • “Write a blog,” they tell you. “Create interesting content people want to read. Don’t use it to sell. Provide value first, that you may be rewarded.”
  • “It’s the wave of the future,” they go on to say. “It’s Web 2.0.”
  • And so you write a blog. Once a week, you dutifully report on some aspect of your business, or your industry, or the world. You get it: It’s not about pushing product; it’s about building relationships.

Where Has Serious Journalism Gone? Sucked Into The Vortex Of Tinder, TMZ And Fox News

Tinder is pissed.
The company has taken umbrage at a piece in Vanity Fair. And to be fair, author Nancy Jo Sales doesn’t make the app, or the culture in which it resides, sound particularly appealing. It’s all quick hookups and volumetric sex, the pleasure of gorging yourself, and the realization of the fleeting nature of such superficial satiation.

Shades Of Grey In Platforms' Content Accountability

Published in Online Spin, August 07 2015.


“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” —Edmund Burke

Here’s a quick thought experiment: if you are driving a car with four underage drinkers in it, are you responsible for them breaking the law? What if one of the people in the car was selling liquor to the others? What if it was a ride-share system, like a shuttle, where one of your customers regularly sold alcohol to other passengers, serving as a de facto liquor store? At what point do you become responsible for what happens on your platform?


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Beyond The $140 Billion: Apple's Next Big Market Opportunity

Published in Online Spin, July 31 2015.


It’s a climate commitment milestone. Earlier this week, 13 large corporations announced that they would collectively be committing $140 billion toward climate change mitigation. The commitments take various forms, from reducing emissions to shifting to renewable energy to increasing investment in renewable technology or other environmental initiatives. And the companies range broadly: Coca-Cola. Berkshire Hathaway. Wal-Mart. UPS. Bank of America.


And Apple.

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A Hacked Jeep Is Just The Tip Of A Very Scary Iceberg

Published in Online Spin, July 24 2015


My favorite new MediaPost publication is the IoT (Internet of Things) Daily. They haven’t asked me to talk about this at all; I promise. But it’s so cool. It’s the one talking about all the bright shiny things, like residents at a senior community wearing sensors so they don’t go wandering off, or a male grooming service adding virtual reality to its offering.

On Wednesday, though, there was a headline that really stopped me in my tracks. Or rather, a headline about somebody stopping something in its tracks: the specific someone being hackers, and the thing they stopped in its tracks being a jeep going 70 miles per hour.

This story is terrifying

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