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Month June 2014

The IPO is dying. Marc Andreessen explains why

Timothy Lee:

This is so powerful in the conventional wisdom right now. I love the Daily Show like everyone else does. But literally [Jon Stewart's] answer to every issue is Congress should pass a law. [People think you can] solve any problem by passing enough laws.
 
 I don’t see the world getting less dramatic. I don’t see the world calming down.
 
 The loop we’re in now is that people are getting upset and disappointed by the stock market. There are no growth stocks, which means there’s no growth. Stock market returns have been weak for 15 years, which is exactly what you’d expect if you took all the growth out. Everyone is upset the stock market isn’t performing. The worse the results get, the more regulation you get. It’s in its own kind of doom loop. Unless something happens to shock the system a lot, our assumption is it gets worse, not better.

Modern Marketing Use Case: This Internet Millionaire Has a New Deal For You

Tim Rogers:

At length, after a bit of business talk that maybe resembled a cousin of an actual breakfast meeting, Rutledge blurted out a question that had been troubling him: “Why did you buy Woot?”
 
 For the uninitiated, the term “woot” is an expression of joy that sprang from online role-playing games, a portmanteau of “wow” and “loot.” Rutledge had bought the web address Woot.com in 2003 for $6,000, and the next year launched a site that sold stuff in a way no one had ever tried. Woot offered only one item per day, usually a gadget but maybe a wheel of cheese, and priced it so low that it oftentimes sold out in a matter of hours. When the items didn’t sell out, Woot put them in a Bag of Crap, a bundle that users bought blindly. Customer service pretty much began and ended with the suggestion that the customer put any unwanted or defective item on eBay.
 
 Woot violated nearly every precept of retail. And it was wildly successful. Each weekday just after midnight Central Standard, a new item went up. It was an event. The site attracted a community of geeks who once flooded its discussion forum with 452 comments about a power adapter. At its height, Woot attracted 1 million daily visitors, to whom Rutledge was something of a rock star. By 2008, annual sales had eclipsed $164 million, and Inc. magazine named Woot the fastest-growing private retailer in the country (and the fastest-growing private company in North Texas). At that point, Amazon had already invested in the company. Then it bought the whole thing.
 
 So there sat Bezos at the breakfast table, faced with a question for which he was apparently unprepared. Many painful seconds passed without an answer. Rutledge let the pause lengthen as long as he could bear it and was just about to tell his host to forget it, when Bezos finally spoke.
 
 He looked down at his plate. Bezos had ordered a dish called Tom’s Big Breakfast, a preparation of Mediterranean octopus that includes potatoes, bacon, green garlic yogurt, and a poached egg. “You’re the octopus that I’m having for breakfast,” Rutledge remembers Bezos saying. “When I look at the menu, you’re the thing I don’t understand, the thing I’ve never had. I must have the breakfast octopus.”
 
 Not until Rutledge had returned to Dallas and related the story to his anxious employees—now Amazon’s employees—did he realize just how absurd that explanation sounded. Before it can be eaten, generally, the breakfast octopus must be killed.

Letter to a Friend

My Cup Runneth Over” – Psalm 23:5

“What should I do? What did you do? How do I know? Stay or go?”

Questions arrive from time to time. One after another in short order. Inevitably, I reflect on the gifts of my journey.

How did I get here?

Riding around in my Grandfather’s car (1957 Chevy) mowing lawns lead to working with my dad selling tractors in high school and college, which begat a lifelong mentor relationship which further begat numerous business and personal opportunities.

A flight from Chihuahua to Juarez while a student leads to a kind ride across the border from two corporate types.

A chance meeting at a ski show swerves into an introduction to my future wife.

A sermon, perhaps given ten years ago has long stayed in my mind: “Worry is rust on the saw blade of life”. The words were based on Matthew 6:25-34 which begins:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?”

Teachers, professors and mentors that went the extra mile.

A chance conversation at the gym leads to a friend in Istanbul.

My parents taught me to be opportunistic and persistent. Indeed. My cup runs over. So thankful. They also taught me that the Lord giveth and taketh away.

My answer to these questions: trust in God. Take advantage of the many opportunities that arise. Work hard.

Millennials Shunning Malls Speeds Web Shopping Revolution

Matt Townsend:

CJ Chu is a retailer’s nightmare.
 
 The 24-year-old associate for a private-equity firm does “99 percent” of his shopping online — even toothpaste. He’d rather buy groceries on the Web than walk to the supermarket.
 
 “Convenience and free time is something I value,” said Chu, who works for Bridge Growth Partners LLC in New York. “Ordering online just makes more sense.”
 
 Chu is an extreme case. Yet millions of Americans like him are abandoning stores faster than executives predicted, pushing the industry to a precipice. Traditional retailers, for the first time ever in 2014, will generate half their sales growth on the Web, according to Stifel Financial Corp. That means about $18 billion in new revenue generated this year will come from online purchases, an analysis of U.S. Census data shows.
 
 The stampede online will only accelerate as 80 million U.S. millennials start families, buying homes and filling them with stuff. Mobile shopping is giving e-commerce another boost. Next month, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) will start selling a smartphone that will allow shoppers to scan a product in a mall and purchase it from the company’s online store, giving retailers another reason to fear their most potent Web rival.
 
 It’s widely accepted that traditional chains must mesh physical and online stores into a seamless shopping experience, but “nobody is doing it well,” said Anne Zybowski, vice president for retail insights at Kantar Retail in Boston. “There isn’t any best-in-class because nobody is there yet.”

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Understanding Disruption: Insights From The History Of Business

Steve Denning:

“Before I read this book,” writes W. Brian Arthur of the Santa Fe Institute “I thought that the history of technology was – to borrow Churchill’s phrase – merely ‘one damned thing after another’. Not so. Carlota Perez shows us that historically technological revolutions arrive with remarkable regularity, and that economies react to them in predictable phases.”
 
 Pérez takes a long-term horizon: several hundred years—much longer than either Christensen or Lepore. She draws on many disciplines: history, economics, finance, technology, sociology and management. Ironically, the breadth and depth of the book is one reason why it has been neglected by academics. It’s too bold and wide-ranging for any of them to accept it as “one of theirs”.
 
 The book is guilty of other academic sins. It is clearly written and succinct—a mere 171 pages. And the succinctness is accompanied by precise details on the vast territory covered—the story of capitalism over the last 250 years.

The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% – ex CIA spy The man who trained more than 66 countries in open source methods calls for re-invention of intelligence to re-engineer Earth

Nafeez Ahmed:

For Steele, the open source revolution is inevitable, simply because the demise of the system presided over by the 1% cannot be stopped – and because the alternatives to reclaiming the commons are too dismal to contemplate. We have no choice but to step up.
 
 ”My motto, a play on the CIA motto that is disgraced every day, is ‘the truth at any cost lowers all other costs’”, he tells me. “Others wiser than I have pointed out that nature bats last. We are at the end of an era in which lies can be used to steal from the public and the commons. We are at the beginning of an era in which truth in public service can restore us all to a state of grace.”

Healthy Skepticism – My Critique of HealthKit as Both iOS Dev and Registered Nurse

Jared Sinclair:

Of the many new APIs announced at WWDC this summer, HealthKit has been particularly thought-provoking for me. At the risk of sounding like that guy, I think I have a somewhat priviledged perspective of HealthKit. There can’t be that many former registered nurses who’ve switched to iOS app development and tried to start a healthcare data company.
 
 I’ve devoted the better part of the last four years to understanding the healthcare industry, both its current problems and its possible futures. Along the way I’ve learned many things – some hopeful, some downright depressing. I ought to describe how HealthKit looks from my vantage point.
 
 Before jumping into HealthKit, let’s take a step back and look at the past and present state of healthcare information – what it is, where it’s stored, and how it’s transmitted and used. I’ll limit my description to the US since that is what I’m most familiar with.

Panorama: Union Pacific Locomotives Overlook Interstate 80 at Kenefick Park

Lauritzen Gardens:

Two of the greatest locomotives ever to power Union Pacific Railroad sit at the southwest point of the Lauritzen Gardens property, highly visible to passersby on Interstate 80 and welcoming motorists to Nebraska. On grand display are Centennial No. 6900 – the largest and most powerful diesel-electric locomotive ever built – and Big Boy No. 4023 – the world’s largest steam locomotive.

Featuring several plazas, seating areas, a grand staircase, “canyon” stone walls, interpretive signage, sculpture and walkways, the park documents Union Pacific Railroad’s role in the development of Omaha and the West.

The park bears the name of former Union Pacific Chairman and CEO John C. Kenefick, and is landscaped with native plants and grasses maintained by Lauritzen Gardens horticulture staff.

bing duckduckgo google wikipedia

Full screen panorama: tap/click then pan or zoom in any direction.

Second perspective.

“Big Boy”.

## The scenes were captured using hand-held “stabilization”. There are a few errors. Sorry.

Rise of the American Professional Sports Cartel

Everyday Systems:

There’s one thing strange about “competitive” sports teams. Although teams compete with one another for championships, they act in unison to protect one another’s business; they are a cartel. Therefore, a league should actually be considered a single, uniform entity. They vote together and present a single face towards outsiders in all business matters.
 
 We see this behavior strongly enforced when a team’s owners experience financial turmoil. In a competitive environment, the fittest survive and the weak perish; in the professional sports world, the league supports the struggling team through financial distress. For example, the MLB league office gave an emergency $25 million loan to the New York Mets owners after they struggled to pay their expenses. It also happened in 2010 when the owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, George Shinn, was struggling financially. The league purchased the Hornets from Shinn and the Hornets were jointly owned by the 29 other teams’ owners until an official purchaser could be found.
 
 Another mark of a cartel is exclusivity, No single owner can join the league or do what he wants without the approval of the rest of the league. During the Hornets sale process, many potential owners emerged who wanted to move the Hornets out of New Orleans. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had offered $350 million – far above market value – but was widely thought to want to move the team to his native Bay Area. The NBA refused to let Shinn sell his own private property at the best price. He could only sell to a person who would keep the team in New Orleans.

Entertainment in the Era of the Selfie

Gail Becker:

Selfie-mania has taken center stage at the Oscars, the Oval Office and, of course, most of our Facebook feeds. Perhaps, then, it is little wonder the once innocent form of self-expression is now transforming how we enjoy entertainment.
 
 In our eighth annual study on how and why people consume and share entertainment, we found consumers in the U.S., UK and China want their entertainment “selfie-style” – centered on the individual, immediately gratifying, engaging and shareable across social networks.
 
 We believe our selfie-obsessed world is indicative of consumers’ desire to be active participants in their entertainment, which can translate into big opportunities for brands who can help empower that engagement. Brands that can successfully deliver or enhance compelling entertainment stand to gain and grow.
 
 “Binge-Watching” Escalates
 
 The study’s findings show that with skyrocketing access to online and on-demand content, binge-watching TV shows is pervasive across all markets (U.S. – 94 percent; UK – 89 percent; China – 99 percent).
 
 The phenomenon is fueled by the availability of high-quality, engaging entertainment. Contrary to speculation that increased binge-watching is driven largely by the social currency associated with being up to date, our findings indicate that the primary drivers are actually internal factors.