“just gross entitlement and that is what’s wrong”

Om Malik:

In 1990s, we had a generally upbeat economic environment around the country and there was a sense of naive optimism around the internet. Then came the gold rush and later the malfeasance. Right now we have a country that is facing an unending economic uncertainty, especially for a large swathe of people. As a result, the Bay Area stands out and finds itself living under a microscope. There is no naive optimism; just gross entitlement and that is what’s wrong.
 Our industry has boom and bust cycles that are much faster that any other industry and at the same time have unsaid but distinct barriers to entry. The internet-speed cycles lead to many more startups and more people becoming millionaires faster and at a much younger age than any other industry — even the older version of the internet industry. We also forget that the same speed which thrills, also kills. The recent retrenchment of technology stocks is a good reminder that the craziness doesn’t get to mania levels anymore.

This bubble is similar to real estate brokers offering agents 120% splits.

Google has most of my email because it has all of yours

Benjamin Mako Hill:

A few years ago, I was surprised to find out that my friend Peter Eckersley — a very privacy conscious person who is Technology Projects Director at the EFF — used Gmail. I asked him why he would willingly give Google copies of all his email. Peter pointed out that if all of your friends use Gmail, Google has your email anyway. Any time I email somebody who uses Gmail — and anytime they email me — Google has that email.
 Since our conversation, I have often wondered just how much of my email Google really has. This weekend, I wrote a small program to go through all the email I have kept in my personal inbox since April 2004 (when Gmail was started) to find out.
 One challenge with answering the question is that many people, like Peter, use Gmail to read, compose, and send email but they configure Gmail to send email from a non-gmail.com “From” address. To catch these, my program looks through each message’s headers that record which computers handled the message on its way to my server and to pick out messages that have traveled through google.com, gmail.com, or googlemail.com. Although I usually filter them, my personal mailbox contains emails sent through a number of mailing lists. Since these mailing lists often “hide” the true provenance of a message, I exclude all messages that are marked as coming from lists using the (usually invisible) “Precedence” header.

The Mysterious Death of Entrepreneurship in America

Derek Thompson:

For entrepreneurs in America, it is the best of times, and it is the worst of times. It is “the age of the start-up,” and “American entrepreneurship is plummeting.” We are witnessing the Cambrian Explosion of apps and the mass extinction of apps. These are the glory days of risk, and we are taking fewer risks than ever. Tech valuations are soaring, and tech valuations are collapsing, and tech valuations are irrelevant. “A million users” has never been more attainable, and “a million users” has never been more meaningless. It is the spring of hope. It is the winter of despair.
 The story of American entrepreneurship begins with a tale of two definitions of entrepreneur. When the press imagines the modern entrepreneur, our minds turn to tech—coders, hackers, hoodies, apps, Silicon Valley (the show), Silicon Valley (the valley). And it’s true: This sliver of entrepreneurship has grown, by all sorts of measures, for example by venture-capital funding:
 But researchers studying national entrepreneurship trends aren’t caught staring at the tip of the iceberg. When they describe “declining business dynamism” (at Brookings) and steadily falling entrepreneurship (at BLS), they’re looking at the whole block of ice. And it’s melting.

“Makes you humble, eh Nurettin?

Trici Venola:

We hiked along a narrow gorge full of bushes and rocks. The ground began to change as we walked, until we were walking among great rounded humps of rock as wide as houses. “I think we’re past the really big ones,” said the German. “Hey, maybe these are the really big ones,” said Laura. “Maybe just the tops of the big ones.” The moon burned silver and the stars pounded overhead, millions in the huge dark sky glimpsed between the moonlit towers of stone. I thought of the Romans marching through here, the Persian armies, Alexander the Great, Mithridates, Hittites, Christians and Muslims and Genghis Khan; pictured the great slumbering masses of history billeted among the knobby shadows and gullies, all through the silent grasses, under the sentinel stones.

Computer says no – why brands might end up marketing to algorithms

Toby Gunton:

Great swathes of brand relationships could become automated. Your energy bills and contracts, water, gas, car insurance, home insurance, bank, pension, life assurance, supermarket, home maintenance, transport solutions, IT and entertainment packages; all of these relationships could be managed by your beautiful personal OS.
 Brands in these categories could find themselves dealing with the digital butler (unless we, the consumer, step in and press the override button), in which case marketing in these sectors could become programmatic in the truest sense.

Wipe out rentiers with cheap money

Martin Wolf:

High-income economies have had ultra-cheap money for more than five years. Japan has lived with it for almost 20. This has been policy makers’ principal response to the crises they have confronted. Inevitably, a policy of cheap money is controversial. Nonetheless, as Japan’s experience shows, the predicament may last a long time.

The highest interest rate charged by any of the four most important central banks in the high-income economies is 0.5 per cent at the Bank of England. Never before this period had the rate been below 2 per cent. In the US, the eurozone and the UK, the central bank’s balance sheet is now close to a quarter of gross domestic product. In Japan, it is already close to half, and rising. True, the Federal Reserve is tapering its programme of asset purchases, and there is talk that the BoE will soon tighten policy. Yet in the eurozone and Japan the question is whether further easing might be needed.

What Target and Co aren’t telling you: your credit card data is still out there

Brian Krebs:

Target wants you to know that you can trust it again. Nearly seven months after the second biggest retailer in America ignored multiple alarm bells, allowing thieves to virtually hijack the cash registers at some 1,800 stores and siphon at least 40m credit and debit card records plus contact info for more than 70m customers, CEO Gregg Steinhafel is out, and the company has pledged to spend $100m upgrading the security of its checkout system.
 But Monday’s mea culpa papers over problems still endemic throughout the American retail industry: an over-reliance on in-store technology rather than cybersecurity experts in the boardroom, and a tendency to underestimate the lengths to which bad guys will go to steal anything that isn’t properly nailed down.

iPhone 5c Outdoor Advertising: Downtown Dallas, TX

While on travel recently, I wondered a bit around downtown Dallas and found the massive iPhone 5c advertisements interesting. Aimed at nearby freeway traffic, the Apple imagery was “complemented” by similar “fast follower” Samsung placements. I noticed the Samsung advertisements during a later drive. However, I lacked the time to photograph them.

Samsung’s USA mobile phone business is headquartered in nearby Plano.

Tap on the images below to view larger versions.

The Apple advertisements’ location can be seen in context via this iOS maps app screenshot:

Bitcoin and the Dólar Blue in Argentina

James Downer:

The US dollar black market doesn’t just thrive in Buenos Aires, it’s published in the paper every morning. Swinging by one of the city’s newsstands, you’ll find the official peso to dollar rates published next to the ‘dólar blue’ rates at the top of the morning edition of La Nacion, and if you walk downtown to Calle Florida, the arbolitos that stand planted on the busy commercial street greet any foreigner they see with barks for “Cambio! Cambio! Cambio!” Currency restrictions have gotten more stringent in Argentina in recent years as the government struggles to prop up confidence in the peso by restricting the dollar. The restrictions have held the official rate down to around 8 to 1, but the blue rate at around 10 to 1 is so favorable that dollars determine tourism prices and denominate everything from technology purchases to property.