Farhad Manjoo: Amazon's Tactics Confirm Its Critics' Worst Suspicions. #

Donald Sterling reportedly hands control of LA Clippers to wife.#

JSConf US 2014.#

Seth's Blog: Conventions and expectations.#

Kinsley asked a question that some people don't want to hear. But if ever you needed proof that the question needs to be asked, it's here in this Gawker piece about the debate between WikiLeaks and Greenwald about whether a specific piece of information should be leaked. The name of a country. #

All Kinsley really said, imho, is this -- how did we get to this crazy place where a person like Glenn Greenwald is deciding what government information gets released and what doesn't.#

A few people when they read this on my site assumed I was saying that Greenwald shouldn't be the person, but if you read my piece a bit more carefully you'll see I didn't say that, nor did I imply it. Just that it's worth thinking about. Maybe someday there will be a person deciding those questions who you are not comfortable with. There are already people who don't like that Greenwald is the arbiter. Okay you like Greenwald, how do you feel about Julian Assange? #

And here's the real question -- use your imagination. Is there anyone you can think of who you would not want to be deciding that. That's all. I'm not providing an answer. I know people like things tied up neatly, so they can call you a Republican asshole or a liberal wimp or a person who's clueless about new stuff, or whatever. You know that's all a bedtime story. Nothing is that neat or simple. Sorry. #

Greenwald, for all his flaws, still might be a good person to decide these things. All I know is that the ideal person would be forthcoming when asked how he arrived at his decision, and not have his first impulse be to smear the question-asker. That makes me uncomfortable.#

Interesting rant by Facebook director of product Mike Hudack.#

And a response by Matt Yglesias at Vox. #

Summary: 1. Internet news sucks. 2. It's Facebook's fault.#

I disagree. It's the news industry's fault. They were given a lot of time to compete with Twitter and Facebook for being the Internet front page for news, and they all punted. They actually promoted Twitter and Facebook as the place to sign up to get their latest. That was a huge mistake.#

Didn't they get that Twitter and Facebook were competing with them?#

To be fair to Facebook, it's not yet really a default place for real news, that's a position owned by Twitter.#

When Twitter started owning the news cycle, that's what they call in business a "competitive threat." You can choose to respond or not respond. But if you don't respond, you pretty much always lose. It's like getting sued and not showing up in court.#

There are lots of business school case studies about whole industries that failed to respond to a competitive threat. The railroad industry had no response to the airline industry. The US postal service didn't respond to email. The music industry and iTunes. And the news industry didn't respond to Twitter.#

How to tell if something is competitive: If you could use their product instead of yours, it's competitive. In this case Twitter was competing with the antiquated concept of a news front page. Instead they gave users the stream underneath the front page. News doesn't actually have a daily pulse, that's a constraint imposed on it by the print medium, that had to deliver news on paper, using delivery trucks driven by people. They could only deliver a periodic snapshot of the river. But with Internet connectivity becoming almost ubiquitous, the stream itself has taken the place of the snapshot. It's really a simple change. It could be programmed in days. Why they don't do it already -- I just don't understand. But then the rail companies didn't understand that airlines were more or less doing the same thing they were. #

To the right is a screen shot of today's NY Times front page. Here's a PDF of the page.#

Unbelievably, there's still time, because Facebook hasn't really arrived in news, and Twitter is just sitting there, as paralyzed, apparently, as the news industry. We hear from Facebook either competitive noises, or genuine frustration. Maybe a bit of both. One thing is for sure the tech industry has competitive juice. And they will own the front page of the news industry unless the news industry itself starts showing a little industry.#

Update: Cross-posted on Facebook, because the thread originated there. #

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Last update: Sat, Sep 20, 2014 at 5:42 PM.
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