Advertising Platforms As A REAL Business Model?

So I read in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that 3 major technology companies get over 80% of their revenue from advertising:

These companies and their percentage of advertising revenue are:

Facebook – 98.3%

Twitter — 86.4%

Alphabet (Google) — 86%

It’s a wonderful thing how advertising pays for the wonderful free Internet services. 

Looking back to when I was a kid, I guess that how we got all those marvelous TV shows without having to pay for a cable subscription. 

But what I always wonder in the back of my mind is whether collecting advertising dollars is a REAL business. 

Yeah, sure these companies are mammoth and have made themselves and their shareholders gazillions of dollars.  

But somewhere I keep telling myself this doesn’t quite add up. 

If you make something of value then someone is willing to pay for it. 

If it doesn’t have value then you have to give it away for free. 

If facebook or twitter actually charged money for their service, I can’t imagine anyone would actually pay squat for it.  

Google is another story, but if they started to charge, you’d just go to a service like Explorer or Safari that doesn’t.

So if the only way to provide the service is to shove advertising down your customer’s throats, again I have to ask is that really a business. 

If I can’t see how a company can sell something based on the VALUE they are providing, honestly it’s not something that I can really get myself behind. 

Out of the three companies–Google is perhaps the only one that I can see as a real something. 

As for Facebook and Twitter, despite the Presidential tweets and Russian interference in our elections, I don’t see the underlying greatness. 

Maybe I am way wrong, but if you don’t want to pay for it then what the heck is it really worth! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Two Beautiful Hearts

So a very nice elderly lady we know from synagogue took a bad fall and broke her leg really badly…like in half.


She put up on Facebook that she had undergone surgery, had a metal rod and plate inserted in her leg, and was recovering in the hospital–and she wanted visitors. 


My wife saw the message on Facebook, and we ran over to the hospital to see how she was and spend some time with her to try and cheer her up. 


Considering how badly she had been hurt, she was actually in amazingly good spirits. 


A couple of her neighbors were there in the hospital visiting her as well. 


One of them had actually heard her screams from the backyard where she had fallen by her pond and had helped keep her from going into shock, cradled her head in her lap, and called for rescue services.


When I commented how amazing she was and that she was a real hero pointing to the heart–she said it was really nothing, and went on to say”

I have two hearts!


And she pointed to one on the left and one on the right. 


I thought to myself that really we should all have two hearts like that to care and to give to others. 


One heart is us alone. 


Two hearts are when we join with others. 


“Two hearts that beat as one”–one for caring and one for giving. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Social Media Totalitarianism

The Chinese government has the most brilliant as well as frightening use and control of social media. 


I am not just talking about blocking Internet sites and free information flow. 


They actually have mastered the use of social media for tracking and rewarding or punishing citizen behavior.


Their social credit system rates people’s behavior online for everything they do!


Similar to likes and dislikes, you are either labeled a “model citizen” sought after for jobs and good housing or you can be an “enemy of the state” treated as a social outcast who can’t even leave the country anymore. 


Everything about you is now based on what you are rated (whether true or not)!


Now in China the government has added a snitching tool/app where people are encouraged through a points system that offers rewards like store discounts, coupons for coffee, taxis, and music streaming, in order to get them to report covertly on their neighbors–are their fellow citizens fighting, is there mental illness, are people cheating on their taxes, etc. 


You’re being surveilled not just by the grid system, where every 300 households are watched and checked-in on by a “grid manager,” but you are subject to daily intrusion by anyone that wants to report on you. 


Communication to “Big Brother” is way overvalued, while privacy and respect of the people are no longer important values or concerns. 


Instead of a Security Operations Center to monitor and command response to life-threatening catastrophes and emergencies, now there is a “Social Governance Integrated Command Center” to display video and biometric surveillance from throughout the country as well as to show what are the “moods” and which “issues” are trending. 


Talking about having a finger on the pulse of what’s going on…


I say this is all brilliant and malign, because social media which can be a tool for connecting people and for the free flow of information and progress is instead used for near ultimate control and enslavement of the masses–both their minds and their behaviors. 


People should not be treated as servants of the state and subjected to ever-encroaching social media surveillance and control that is not carefully balanced directly to absolutely necessary national security. 


Rather the state and its levers of people’s supreme power should be subject to the wants and needs of its people who must freely decide on their collective futures and maintaining human rights. 


Totalitarianism by police state, imprisonment, torture and “re-education” is now unfortunately facilitated by social media monitoring,  and credits system where truly you are watched by Big Brother in the flesh and in the bytes. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Faith Has To Win Over Worry

Anxiety is worry and fear on steroids.


Some people have separation anxiety.


Others have social anxiety.


And then there is good ‘ol generalized anxiety.


It was fascinating-scary to learn that nearly 1 in 3 will have an anxiety disorder before the age of 18.


Despite all the abundance, affluence, advancement and technological progress, people are nevertheless more fearful about their present and futures. 


Perhaps like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, when people weren’t able to satisfy their most basics physiological and safety needs, they didn’t know better to worry about everything else like whether they were truly loved, integrated, on the right track in life and fulfilled.  


These days, we have more money, time, and information to know that there is plenty to be anxious about. 


We know the most horrible stories of trauma, illness, death, corruption, disaster, terror, and war–it’s plastered on the news and Internet 24/7/365.


Moreover, our “friends” and connections are blabbing about it on the social networks day-in and -out.


We are aware of our mistakes and foibles in real time as feedback is given and received with both likes as well as open criticism, marginalization, and alienation at every turn we take.


You have to ask yourself–is it meant to help anyone or to degrade and destroy the others, the opposition, the ones we don’t like anymore. 


It’s not just trolls that can make your life miserable, but everyone from your bosses to your peers and social circle who give you pause with continuous reaction and footnote–much of it driven by alternative facts and fake other world self-serving reality.


Perhaps yesterday you were a genius and on top of the world, but then all of a sudden you’re low-life garbage.


Your self-worth and future are measured by likes and dislikes, connections and reactions by people who are driven by their own agendas, power, and biases. 


It’s not just local either. 


North Korea and Iran are tweeting about destroying the world and their latest rocket launches and WMD development. 


Tomorrow maybe the end of one or of many. 


There is truly plenty to worry about in society driven by selfishness, materialism, faithlessness and a moral vacuum where truly anything goes. 


Selflessness, meaning, morality, and faith have to win over all the reasons to be anxious. 


We know too much about the bad every day, and this can only be overcome by anchoring ourselves in the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Abraham Lincoln And Election IT Scandals

lincoln-and-email-jpeg

This just seemed like such a fascinating photo.


Abraham Lincoln on a tie juxtaposed next to the guy using his smartphone and email.


This election cycle has been plagued with scandals from private email servers, “extremely reckless” handling of emails, Wikileaks disclosures of corruption and collusion from hacked emails, crude denigrating language online, politicians claims of they can’t recall and IT professionals pleading the fifth, and an overall lack of transparency to the American people and Congress.


Yet, isn’t this the diametric opposite of what our esteemed President Lincoln was all about in terms of being “a man of profound feelings, just and firm principles, and incorruptible integrity.”


Is it now the technology that somehow has caused us to perform questionable deeds or is it just an enabler of what is in people’s hearts and souls?


As the man holding and controlling what he does with the smartphone in the photo, it is we who control our actions with technology and what we chose to do with it.


If we use technology for good or for evil…for raising up and helping people or insulting and hurting people…for lies and deception or for truth and transparency…for communicating principles and directives that are just and upright or for selfish and corrupt ends…these are choices of integrity that we alone control.


Lincoln fought for the democracy and freedom for all Americans and the end of slavery, and to that moral end, for whoever wins the election, we should continue towards using technology as a means to extend justice and freedom for all and not for operatives and operations that can jeopardize it’s meaning and integrity for America. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Losing Patience With Tech Progress

losing-patience

We’re so close yet so far…that’s my feeling as I grow ever impatient with the pace of technological progress. 


We have cloud computing, but still everyone has their own private computing setups everywhere. 


We have mobile computing, but still can’t get get reliable service in the Metro and all the other “dead zones.”


We have social computing, but still people are so cliquey and nasty and troll and bully each other online and off. 


We have the Internet of Things, but still things don’t really talk to each other regularly (except our smart meters).


We have robots, but still they’re relegated to factory assembly lines. 


We have natural language processing, but still can’t get a meaningful conversation going with Siri.


We have 3-D printing, but still can’t get dinner or a pair of Nikes to appear from the Star Trek like “Replicator.”


We have augmented and virtual reality headsets, but still can’t go anywhere with them without getting motion sickness.


We have biometrics, but still have to sign the check.


We have driverless cars, but still there is a driver inside. 


We have networks of information, but still it’s subject to hacking, malware, identity and data theft, and even big time EMP knockouts. 


We have immunotherapy, but still haven’t beaten cancer. 


We have nanotechnology, but still we travel through life loaded down with material possessions.


We have food and biotechnology, but still one in eight people are going hungry. 


We have space shuttles and stations, but still can’t get a colony going on Mars.


We have big data, but still information is corrupted by personal biases and politics. 


We have knowledge management, but still more than 780 million adults are illiterate. 


We have artificial intelligence, but still it’s devoid of emotional intelligence. 


We have bigger, deadlier, and more sophisticated weapons systems and smart bombs to “protect us”, but still are no closer to living in peace and brotherhood. 


All this technology and advancement is great, except that we’re left hungrier than ever for the realization of the promised technology land, and are really only halfway there, maybe. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apple Watch M~A~N~I~A

Apple Watch Mania

The Apple (Smart) Watch doesn’t go on sale for another 2 weeks…


But the Apple stores are streaming with excited customers already.


There are displays lined with the watches from the sports model to the stainless steel and even the 24-karat gold ones.


Ask the Apple salesperson and they’ll set you up at the next table for an associate to help you try on the watches including the 38 cm and 42 cm displays and various fashionable bands. 


They have this cute little rag to shine up the watch displays before you try them on over these black mats, just as if you are in a fancy jewelry store sampling diamond rings or something. 


I’ll tell you, while there is plenty of well-founded skepticism about these ranging from their not being a killer app to their inherent obsolescence (the battery is like 6 quarters thick on this version), and the watches are NOT intuitive to use, people are STILL going to buy these just to be stay current with the changing technology. 


Right now, I’m pressing down on the display (in my mind) and sending my heart beats to Apple for another transformative technology move.


One of my favorites on this watch is using the voice control to send text messages…Dick Tracy eat your heart out. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Way Things Were

Old Fashioned
So here’s the word of the day–Troglodyte.



How many of you know this word?



It usually refers to someone from prehistoric times, like a cave-dweller. 



But it is used to refer to people who are basically just old fashioned. 



A near relative of the Troglodyte is the Luddite who opposes new technologies. 



Today, a colleague said to me that he misses the old organization phone books we used to have with organization charts and readily available contacts everywhere. 



It didn’t matter that we have this electronically now, he likes the hardcopy ones that he could keep on his desk and flip through…to heck with technology. 



Then he goes that someone called him (jokingly, I think) a troglodyte for feeling this way. 



Well there is something to be said for the good ‘ol days and I understand people that appreciate “the way things were”, but in many ways, those days weren’t all that good–think poverty, illness, corruption, racism, and more. 



So I feel quite blessed to be living now, rather than say at almost any other time in history. 



In looking out towards the near future, I am prepping myself for the new smartwatch coming out from Apple later this month, and while I have my doubts about it (having gotten so attached to my smartphone especially the large screen–6 plus, Yes!), I realize…



That the next technology tidal wave is coming with wearables (and then embeddables), and if you don’t get on board and adopt early…you might as well be riding an old Timey Bike around town with a big sign on your back that says, “Troglodyte…A Stick In The Mud and Stuck In The Past!” 😉



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Marie-ll)

Smartphone or Kitty Litter

Smartphone
Interesting…Bloomberg Businessweek ran a special anniversary issue with a countdown of the 85 most disruptive ideas (in the last 85 years), and guess where they think the smartphone fell in that?



#78!!! 



Right up there with the white board (#82) and good ‘ol high frequency trading (#80).



But not as important as get this…the corporate campus (#77), the VCR (#74), Kitty Litter (#73), Singapore, literally–{Uh, and how about Israel?} (#71), bottled water (#56), High-fructose corn syrup (#48), Air Jordan sneakers (#45), Napster (#43), and junk bonds (#7).



They ranked the smartphone so low in disruption, even after giving it a two-page spread with no less than 32 “things the smartphone killed” and they probably missed a few hundred!



There is no need to list everything the smartphone does for you, because you use these functions every moment of every day



To most people now, the smartphone is one of their most prized possessions and they don’t go anywhere without it and rarely do you see anyone not “on it.” (Uh, I know more than a few people who even dropped them in the toilet!)



Honestly, Businessweek…I think you missed the significance of the smartphone big time. 



Yeah maybe Starbucks (#68) and the Pill (#9) are competitors, but not as important or disruptive as Kitty Litter…shame on you!  😉



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Lonely Bob)