Posted October 30th, 2015 by Kaila
On a fall day in 2010, a young man walked into the library at MIT. He had a lithe build, a shock of black hair, thick eyebrows, and a superbly mischievous air about him. Once in the library, as is common, he connected to the JSTOR archive of scholarly journals. As is uncommon, he proceeded to unleash a bot he had written, which over the next several months downloaded 4.8 million articles maintained by JSTOR.
That young man, of course, was Aaron Swartz: Internet pioneer, co-founder of Reddit, key contributor to the development of Creative Commons, co-creator of the W3C standard. He had every right to be at MIT. The articles were freely available through the library system. Yet the activity that was legal at a micro scale became illegal at a macro scale. Swartz was persecuted by the FBI for two years on charges of hacking. On Jan. 11, 2013, facing a penalty of up to 50 years in prison, the 26-year-old Swartz killed himself.
Posted October 23rd, 2015 by Kaila
So we have established that the ad-blocking thing is a bit of a crisis. And we’ve looked at the measures the IAB is taking to make advertising more awesome for people -- too little, too late. What, then, might the solution be?
Call me a hopeless optimist, but I suspect the solution is not the one advocated by my MediaPost colleague Sean Hargrave, who earlier this week said that ad-blockers are the “digital equivalent of shoplifters” and called U.K. publication City AM “pioneering” for fighting back, only showing blurry text to anyone using an ad blocker.
Posted October 16th, 2015 by Kaila
Have you heard? Online ads are annoying. People are installing ad-blockers at an epidemic rate. It’s a crisis, not only for advertisers but also for the entire economic ecosystem underpinning the Internet. We are semi-unintentionally undermining the entire foundation of the Web world.
But of course you know this already. Everyone has heard this. Except, apparently, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which has only just been brought up to speed -- and let me tell you, its principals are stunned.
Posted October 10th, 2015 by Kaila
There is a temptation among progressive, pro-social entrepreneurs — people like Tony Hsieh of Zappos or Ben Kaufman, (formerly) of Quirky — driven, I believe, by a desire to to do things in a more awesome way. I suspect that most who succumb to this temptation are acting out of goodwill and benevolence of purpose.
Posted September 25th, 2015 by Kaila
Posted September 18th, 2015 by Kaila
He wrote it back in June of 2014, but it only hit my newsfeed last week: a piece by GrowthHackers.com 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.’”
Posted September 11th, 2015 by Kaila
“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.
Posted September 4th, 2015 by Kaila
Posted August 28th, 2015 by Kaila
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.
Posted August 20th, 2015 by Kaila