OP-EDS and ANALYSIS

Death of the New Economy, R.I.P.

It didn't make the world better. It wasn't supposed to. The trouble with the term new economy is its McLuhanesque slipperiness. It means whatever you want it to mean. Too often, that has translated to wishful thinking: new rules, new paradigms, new riches. But as those dreams dissipate in a haze of bankruptcies and book contracts, it's nonetheless clear that the US economy is fundamentally different now than just a few years ago. The point is especially relevant now, as the economic downturn enters its second year.

Let’s call ‘pivot to video’ what it really is: Desperation

At first, a pivot to video made sense. High bandwidth on mobile, mega-platforms like YouTube, and the promise of disrupting TV commercials made it alluring. This was compounded by steadily declining cost-per-click rates on text-centric content — not to mention the painful memories of what happened to newspapers that waited too long to move online. If all that left news sites feeling scared, Mark Zuckerberg terrified them. He kept saying things like video is a “mega-trend” like mobile.

Jobs gave us computers without pain

Here is the memory that came up when I heard Steve Jobs was dead, the image that’s probably stuck in my mind, the cover to the mental photo album that will inevitably be retrieved whenever someone talks about him. It’s January 2010. He’s sitting in a chair, black leather, comfy, Le Corbusier. He’s got this lonely Eero Saarinen table next to him - a mutant white tulip that failed to bloom properly - but he’s ignoring it. He’s got his dumb, eternal mock turtleneck and blue jeans flooded a few inches above his running shoes.

Post IPO, Snap's appeal may prove as ephemeral as... well... you know

Snap's IPO filing is finally here, along with a reminder to be careful what you wish for. For much of the past year, Snap had been seen as the startup luminary most likely to revive a sleepy market for tech offerings. In 2016, 21 tech companies went public, raising $3 billion. So far this year, ten IPOs have launched, none in tech. And in January, five US companies filed to go public, down from 17 in January 2016, according to Renaissance Capital. Then came Snap.

Could the Internet Become a Failed Technology?

Once a year, we alter a single digit in the number we use to name the year we all live in – a change as slight, in the grand scheme of things, as it is arbitrary – and somehow it prompts a collective examination of where we’ve been and where we’re going. As 2013 – a year in which the Internet became a much more pervasive presence in more and more lives – gave way to 2014, a new angst emerged over what the Internet was doing to us as it became a more integral part of our lives and identities.

Waiting For Yahoo's Turnaround: A four-year one act Beckett play

Above is the photo that Yahoo put up on its Investor Relations page to accompany its third-quarter, and possibly final, earnings report. It's a photo of a room, a sadly spacious room with two empty, clearly uncomfortable chairs. The room looks like it's from some outmoded, yet never quite developed TV talk show – imagine a moody six year old designing the set of The Mike Douglas Show. The predominant color is purple, the universal shade of the bruised. “I am pleased with our Q3 results,” Maris said.

Facebook’s Timeline: A catalog of nothing

We have seen the past, and it doesn’t work. Over the past few weeks, Facebook has been rolling out Timeline, its effort to remake its members’ profile pages into scrapbooks that, like nearly everything published on the social web, is told in a reverse chronology. While redesigns always inspire grumbling, the discontent seems particularly strong this time — 70 percent of users surveyed say they just don’t like it, and Facebook’s own blog page announcing Timeline is filled with complaints in the comments.

Mayer can’t save Yahoo – because Yahoo can’t be saved

Yahoo eats CEOs. The perennially ailing company lures talented managers into the corner suite of its Silicon Valley headquarters, then it sucks their good reputations out of their veins and casts them aside. They inevitably pass through the revolving door an empty shell of their former selves. Terry Semel, Jerry Yang, Carol Bartz, Scott Thompson. All took the CEO helm with visions of invigorating Yahoo into an Internet leader for the 21st century. Most became mired in Yahoo’s stubbornly byzantine corporate structure.

Facebook makes us embrace creepy

The opinions expressed are his own. Sean Parker was looking edgy. Maybe it was because he was sitting in for Mark Pincus, who bowed out of this week’s Web 2.0 Summit because of Zynga’s pre-IPO quiet period. Or because this was a chance to show a large gathering of his peers that Justin Timberlake, no matter how smooth, could never be a Sean Parker. Or maybe it was just because he was Sean Parker. He shifted nervously on a black leather sofa as he was asked about Facebook’s new power.

Did Nest just photoshop Simone de Beauvoir? And why?

History is messy. Even messier is the business of trying to erase history. Messiest of all is any attempt to rewrite literature: History may be written — and rewritten — by victors, but mess with literature and you have a problem on your hands. Nest Labs, the highest-profile company in the Other Bets category under Alphabet’s corporate umbrella, unveiled a new security camera today. As reported, it has some interesting innovations that borrow from Google’s AI.

Is Sergey Brin’s massive humanitarian sky yacht full of hot air?

Sergey Brin is not given to half measures. The company he cofounded set out a 300-year plan and aimed for nothing less than organizing all the world’s information. So now that details about the airship he’s building are coming out, it should surprise no one that it will not just be big, but the biggest. Brin hasn’t commented on his airship, but the Guardian quoted an unnamed source today as saying that Brin’s airship is “going to be massive on a grand scale,” a goal so audacious it demands redundant language to describe it.

Do tech giants really need a tax holiday?

I want a new MacBook Pro. And I’d really love to buy one. But Apple won’t let me. It’s not that I can’t afford it – the cash is just sitting there in my account. And it’s not that I don’t want Apple to have the money. I’d love to do my share to create jobs at One Infinite Loop or to reward Apple shareholders for their faith in the company’s impressive profit growth. No, Apple won’t let me buy a Macbook Pro because it expects me to pay $2,500.