July 2012
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Month July 2012

“Going for Market Share”; Fall 2012 Version

Jean Louis-Gassee’s recent post on Apple’s financials along with Horace Dediu’s disappointment with their India strategy inspired a few thoughts on what a “market share” oriented iOS fall, 2012 announcement might look like.

My comment at Chateau Gassee:

Contemplating an Apple that goes for market share and does not leave a “price umbrella”, results, IMHO, the following iOS products this fall:

iPod Touch: (new name?): $199 on up. Now available in unlocked Wifi+3G (iPhone 5 is LTE/”4G”)

iPad: $299 on up with at least 2 form factors, LTE and wifi versions. At some point, there will be a larger version.

iPhone: Multiple form factors across the price points. Remember iPod starts at $49. I just gave the Samsung Galaxy SIII a spin. I understand the retail appeal of the larger screen, but agree with some that the form factor yields a “thumbless” wasteland – and I have not small hands/fingers.

Apple TV: Others have speculated far more intelligently than I.

Dear Leader’s analysis of the Sculley era’s numerous errors includes:

“The Mac-user interface was a 10-year monopoly,” says Jobs. “Who ended up running the company? Sales guys. At the critical juncture in the late ’80s, when they should have gone for market share, they went for profits. They made obscene profits for several years. And their products became mediocre. And then their monopoly ended with Windows 95. They behaved like a monopoly, and it came back to bite them, which always happens.”

http://web.archive.org/web/20040201210852/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/Default.aspx?id=4052227&p1=0

Does this year’s capex explosion imply going for market share? We will soon see.

Wild Card: 2G iPod: tiny with a few simple apps.

Journalism and Wikipedia

Doc Searls:

Wikipedia is imperfect in countless ways. But at least it works, and its unambiguous purpose is to serve as a record. Every article has a history, and every revision can be found. Searches across the whole of any article’s history (and across other variables) can be done. Again, it’s not perfect, but improving it isn’t out of the question, or in the hands of some .com or .org that might be sold.

So here’s what I’m thinking: Journalism, as a field, should be concerned with adding to the record that is Wikipedia. (Wikipedia clearly cares about journalism.) If you are a reporter or an editor, and you write something of worthy of citation in a Wikipedia article, maybe you should put it in there — or have somebody else do it — as a professional pro formality. Hey, why not?

City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age

The Economist:

AT SOME point in 2008, someone, probably in either Asia or Africa, made the decision to move from the countryside to the city. This nameless person nudged the human race over an historic threshold, for it was in that year—according to the United Nations, at least—that mankind became, for the first time in its history, a predominantly urban species.

It is a trend that shows no sign of slowing. Having taken around 200,000 years to get to the halfway mark, demographers reckon that three-quarters of humanity could be city-dwelling by 2050, with most of the increase coming in the fast-growing towns of Asia and Africa. Migrants to cities are attracted by plentiful jobs, access to hospitals and education, and the ability to escape the enervating boredom of a peasant’s agricultural life. Those factors are more than enough to make up for the squalor, disease and spectacular poverty that those same migrants must often at first endure when they become urban dwellers.

A Tiny Texas Bank Challenges Dodd-Frank

The Economist:

Into this mess has stepped Mr Purcell, who, notwithstanding the size of his institution ($260m in deposits, making it the 177th-largest bank in Texas), has suddenly turned into a rather important banker in America. On June 21st his bank became a plaintiff in a legal challenge brought with two free-market entities in Washington, DC, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the 60 Plus Association, arguing that Dodd-Frank is unconstitutional.

Mr Purcell’s business model, common among Texas rural banks, was to keep loans on its books, internalising both their returns and their risks. In practice, this meant making small loans (under $60,000) at relatively high rates (7%, because small loans suffer from diseconomies of scale) with short terms (five years, to protect the bank against interest-rate risk) and final “balloon” payments that are usually rolled over. This approach differs radically from that of the major banks, which syndicated mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bank has not repossessed a home in seven years, or cost taxpayers a penny, but balloon payments and high rates are targeted under Dodd-Frank, which grants regulators wide discretion to decide what is “abusive”. Mr Purcell has stopped issuing mortgages and, because of other Dodd-Frank rules, processing international remittances.

I’m an American and I want to watch the Olympics. What do I do?

Colin Nederkoorn:

If you’re like me, you woke up this morning and realized the Olympic Games are on and it might be incredible to watch the world’s best athletes compete for medals and national honor.

Flip on the tv

You might have a TV like me that you’ve never used to watch broadcast TV. So, plug in an antenna or spare cable cord, and try to tune yourself some channels.

I didn’t go out and buy an antenna, but I was able to tune quite a few channels. A bunch of commercials, some religious channels and Telemundo.

Telemundo’s olympics coverage comes in CRYSTAL CLEAR in HD on my TV. BUT, Telemundo’s coverage is all in Spanish, and my Spanish is poor. Surprising that it’s so clear with the spare coax cable I used as my antenna.

Line cutting: Mobile checkout headed to a store near you

Jayne O’Donnell:

J.C. Penney hopes to get rid of cashiers and cash registers by 2014, and instead have salespeople use iPod Touch devices to check out customers, or self-checkout lanes.

Starting this weekend, salespeople in Penney’s new Levi’s shops will use only iPads to check out customers. All of Penney’s 1,100 stores will offer mobile checkout by the end of the year, spokeswoman Kate Coultas says.



More than 6,000 Nordstrom salespeople are already using mobile devices to check people out, just like at Apple stores. By the end of this year, Nordstrom salespeople will be able to do everything on their handheld devices that they can at a register, says Jamie Nordstrom, president of the company’s online division.



“I believe the future of our point-of-sale systems is completely mobile,” he says. “It’s hard to know whether it’s in one year or five years because the technology is evolving so rapidly.”

Learn more about our fourth generation native iPad, iPhone and Android apps, here.

Opinion Born of Experience

Terry Teachout:

With the New Group’s ill-fated Off-Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Mourning Becomes Electra” having recently closed on account of bad reviews, the Harold Clurman Theatre will remain dark until further notice, and young playgoers will stop asking me an all-too-familiar question: Who was Harold Clurman, anyway?

Nobody had to ask that question when Clurman died in 1980 at age 78. Though his name was never to be found above the title, he was one of the half-dozen most influential figures in modern American theater. In 1931 Clurman co-founded the Group Theatre, the legendary left-wing drama company that nurtured the early careers of Lee J. Cobb, John Garfield, Elia Kazan and Clifford Odets. In the ’30s he directed the Group Theatre’s productions of Odets’s “Awake and Sing!” and “Golden Boy,” and after World War II he staged the premieres of O’Neill’s “A Touch of the Poet,” Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” and “After the Fall,” William Inge’s “Bus Stop,” Carson McCullers’s “The Member of the Wedding” and Tennessee Williams’s “Orpheus Descending.” Except for Kazan, no other director has succeeded in bringing so many serious new dramas to Broadway.

The Parable of the Ox

John Kay:

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bfb7e6b8-d57b-11e1-af40-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz21ZbdHFAa

In 1906, the great statistician Francis Galton observed a competition to guess the weight of an ox at a country fair. Eight hundred people entered. Galton, being the kind of man he was, ran statistical tests on the numbers. He discovered that the average guess (1,197lb) was extremely close to the actual weight (1,198lb) of the ox. This story was told by James Surowiecki, in his entertaining book The Wisdom of Crowds.

Not many people know the events that followed. A few years later, the scales seemed to become less and less reliable. Repairs were expensive; but the fair organiser had a brilliant idea. Since attendees were so good at guessing the weight of an ox, it was unnecessary to repair the scales. The organiser would simply ask everyone to guess the weight, and take the average of their estimates.

The Banksy Olympics

juxtapoz:

With the London Olympics set to open on Friday, July 27, everyone is getting into the celebratory/satirical mood. Banksy was going to miss this opportunity to land a few punches and comical jabs at the increasingly corporate games, and he just produced two new street pieces to show his “support” of the Olympics.

A Brief History of Title Design

Vincent LaForet:

I recently stumbled across this incredibly cool video that takes you through the ages of title design, starting with D.W. Griffith’s 1916 film, “Intolerance” and ending with the Gaspar Noe’s 2009 film, “Enter The Void” (trust me – this film is as crazy as the title sequence that it has). Throughout the progression of the piece you see how far along title design has come in terms of complexity – but you also see the creativity that has always been there, despite the limits of technology. On its own it is an incredibly interesting piece that really puts some perspective and importance on this often overlooked art form.



But there’s more. The video is really just an introduction piece to an incredible resource called “Art of the Title,” which is a website that does periodic features on various title designs, giving you a behind the scenes look at who made them, and how they were envisioned and executed. It’s incredibly fascinating. You HAVE to watch the making of the title for Boardwalk Empire (and just about every single one of them…)