Thursday 10 February, 2022

The Holy Wall?

Quote of the Day

“The battlefield of Cold War 2 extends far beyond the realm of missiles and ships. At its core, this is a struggle not over control of territory but over which set of institutions and ideas will guide the course of the world’s development. And on the economic, technological, cultural, and diplomatic fronts, the U.S. is somewhat asleep at the wheel.”

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Sony Terry and Brownie McGee | Bring it on home to me


I once heard them do this live. Unforgettable.

Long Read of the Day

The Big Short of Streaming

by Damon Krukowski

It’s  quite a short Long Read (for a change), but very efficient at getting its message across — which is that Spotify is a tech company trying to pass itself off as part of the music industry.

Nicely done.

Facebook is learning the painful lesson it taught print journalism

Good OpEd by Megan McArdle in The Washington Post. The lesson: never build your house on someone else’s land. Which is what mainstream media learned when they decided that they had to be on Facebook.

In 2015, some professors at Virginia’s Sweet Briar College faced an unusual problem. Through the college, they had purchased homes on campus. The land underneath them, however, was still owned by their employer. And now the college was closing, and presumably selling the campus to someone who might want to use that land for something else.

Happily, Sweet Briar was rescued at the last minute by its alumnae. But the financial cavalry don’t always ride to the rescue just in time, so the plight of the professors nonetheless stands as a vivid example of a wise business adage: “Never build your house on someone else’s land.”

For years, Facebook has been teaching that lesson to businesses that built their strategies around the platform. And now Facebook is itself getting schooled, which is why I bring this up.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, just had a truly horrific earnings call…

Great piece.

When, in 2012, Zuckerberg decided to do a massive pivot and orient his company totally towards the smartphone, he was widely hailed — in Silicon Valley and by the commentariat — as a genius in the Bill Gates mould. (People saw echoes from the way Gates pivoted Microsoft in the mid-1990s to focus on the Internet once he perceived the extent of the threat that Netscape represented for Microsoft.) But Facebook didn’t own the smartphone — Apple and Google did with iOS and Android, respectively. So you could interpret Zuckerberg’s new pivot to the so-called Metaverse as determination to own the next iteration of the tech world so that anyone who wants to play in it has to do so on his terms — and at their own peril).

My commonplace booklet

In case you’re wondering how Julian Assange can pay his (whopping) legal bills, here’s how, courtesy of Azeem Azhar:

AssangeDAO, a decentralised autonomous organisation set up to raise money to cover the fees and publicity campaigns towards Julian Assange’s release, collected over $20 million in three days. As of writing this, the campaign has raised 16427.8 ETH or just over $50 million. This is a fascinating act of political subversion—worth following. Source: Wikileaks

Footnote. Puzzled by the DAO idea? Here’s Wikipedia on the subject:

A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), sometimes called a decentralized autonomous corporation (DAC), is an organization represented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by the organization members and not influenced by a central government. A DAO’s financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain. The precise legal status of this type of business organization is unclear.

You bet it is.

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