The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it. It's not a practiced, polished turd of prose that pleases everyone on the board and your marketing team, it's a little fractal of the entire story, something real.
Over a Dangerous Minds, a trenchant critique of Facebook's gonad-crushing "Sponsored Stories" strategy:
The worse the platform performs, the more advertisers need to use Sponsored Stories. In a way, it means that Facebook is broken, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users. In the case of Sponsored Stories, it has meant raking in nearly $1M a day.This will hit small publishers, mom-and-pop businesses, and non-profits like Kitten Associates hardest.
At Dangerous Minds, we post anywhere from 10 to 16 items per day, fewer on the weekends. To reach 100% of of our 50k+ Facebook fans they’d charge us $200 per post. That would cost us between $2000 and $3200 per day—but let’s go with the lower, easier to multiply number. We post seven days a week, that would be about $14,000 per week, $56,000 per month… a grand total of $672,000 for what we got for free before Facebook started turning the traffic spigot down in Spring of this year—wouldn’t you know it—right around the time of their badly managed IPO.
Ashkan Soltani introduces MobileScope, an innovative approach to online privacy.
According to the Wall Street Journal,
Marketers are tracking smartphone users through "apps" - games and other software on their phones. Some apps collect information including location, unique serial-number-like identifiers for the phone, and personal details such as age and sex. Apps routinely send the information to marketing companies that use it to compile dossiers on phone users.
More, including a data visualization animation, here.
Now one of the researchers involved has announced MobileScope.
MobileScope is implemented as a web service - not as an app on your phone - I'm liking this approach.
Why is this kind of service necessary at all?
First off, most users probably do not realize their information is being transmitted to third parties — who they’ve never heard of or had a relationship with. Since there’s little transparency on these platforms, it’s unlikely anyone would know.
Second, these third parties often receive extremely sensitive information, such as your precise location information (latitude/longitude) and your device identifier, which is persistent for the life of your device and can often be tied to your actual identity.
I'll be signing up - see link below - and we'll see what turns up.
(Via Bruce Schneier.)
In U.S. Smartphone Market, Android is Top Operating System, Apple is Top Manufacturer | Nielsen Wire
Here's a chart summarizing Nielsen's recent findings on OS and device share in the US market.
So how does this compare to the worldwide scene? We're not sure yet, but (again according to Nielsen) apparently we're to look for a massive growth in smartphone use in Asia, Real Soon Now.
GE has this very intriguing Tumblr blog, with pix of various cool stuff from their labs. I have to admit just spending twenty minutes on this site totally changed my attitude about GE. Maybe they do have something going on after all...
In the early 1900s, electric cars outsold gas cars. We found this electric car charger in our archives - it was used in both parking and home garages.
A pulse-detonation actuator from our Energy & Propulsion lab. It produces high-pressure, pulsating supersonic jets, which help with airflow control in high-speed travel. Active airflow control reduces the drag, noise, and fuel consumption of an aircraft, making for smoother and more efficient flight.
An X-ray control panel from 1921. It was built by Victor, which was owned by GE and became GE Medical Systems.
Looks like the Chinese government is pushing internet controls a lot harder - and perhaps testing to see how much Chinese citizens can tolerate. I'll bet several Middle East governments wish they had this level of control right about now. But the question of when this sort of thing ultimately backfires is a fascinating one. So far in China's case the answer may be, "Not soon, if ever".
A host of evidence over the past several weeks shows that Chinese authorities are more determined than ever to police cellphone calls, electronic messages, e-mail and access to the Internet in order to smother any hint of antigovernment sentiment. In the cat-and-mouse game that characterizes electronic communications here, analysts suggest that the cat is getting bigger, especially since revolts began to ricochet through the Middle East and North Africa, and homegrown efforts to organize protests in China began to circulate on the Internet about a month ago.
“The hard-liners have won the field, and now we are seeing exactly how they want to run the place,” said Russell Leigh Moses, a Beijing analyst of China’s leadership. “I think the gloves are coming off.”
BSPCN has a gallery of 20 interesting Facebook fan pages, with brief commentary.
Our experience - especially with Covered in Cathair and Kitten Associates- has been that a Facebook fan page can be a great way of keeping your community involved and engaged - much better than a forum or blog, though those are great too. CiCH's fan page has become a key location for Robin's readership, and the Kitten Associates page has been invaluable especially in fundraising for the fosters.
What's frustrating about the BSPCN post, though, is there's no detailed indication of how the fan page is used, how it relates to the brand's web site, any cross-communication with Twitter, etc. I'd also be interested to know who in the brand marketing organization is populating these pages. I imagine it's different for each brand...?
I'd love to see an in-depth look at one of these pages, the team behind it, the community, and the overall communications strategy.
Although only 15.4% of respondents to an eMarketer survey felt that Facebook had a significant ROI, this number is growing. Now is the perfect opportunity for your business to take advantage of the opportunities that social media offers for getting found by prospects and interacting with prospective customers. While other companies struggle with whether or not to participate you can be out in the trenches gathering fans and gaining evangelists.
In case you missed it, Chinese protesters have been calling for "Jasmine Revolution" for the last week, while Internet censors, predictably, try to stop the idea from spreading. See recent events in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, etc. for comparison.
Thus far officers seem to have outnumbered protesters in some locations (photo left, above), while it's not clear that any of the rallies have been attended by more than security officers, journalists and the curious (above right, and here). Naturally, genuine protesters are shy under these circumstances. Some foreign journalists report being roughly handled.
Today, a manifesto was published at Exile Diary. Don't some of these questions apply here in the land of the free as well?
Every good and honest Chinese person, please think: So much public housing has been sold to individuals, so many state-owned enterprises and so much land have been sold, and nearly all state-owned property has been sold off. But where has all the money from these sales gone? It goes without saying that state-owned property belongs to the entire people. But what did the people get? Led by an authoritarian regime, the opaque process of privatization has made a small number of people rich, but what did the vast number of ordinary people get?
Every good and honest Chinese person, please think: When Japan, Korea, and Taiwan were in the process of industrializing, they were able to make the overwhelming majority of their people prosperous. Why is it that during China’s industrialization the ordinary people are becoming poorer? Why is it that in just the last few decades China has gone from being a country with the smallest gap between the rich and the poor to one with the largest? It is because the unfair system has made a small number of people incredibly wealthy, and the vast majority of people remain poor.
Meanwhile, Boxun seems to be either under attack or Slashdotted...
Here's a fascinating look at how the Libyan opposition in Benghazi have been hacking their internet access and other means of communication, in spite of the regime's efforts to create a blackout across the country.
The top-floor internet centre began operating on Tuesday, explains Sanalla, a dual British and Libyan citizen who has spent the past four years studying medicine at Benghazi's Garyounis University.
Ahmed Sheikh, a 42-year-old computer engineer who works in civil aviation, rigged the room's internet system. A cable leads from a large satellite dish on the roof through a hole in the wall to a receiver, which then connects to wireless routers. Most of the laptops connect directly to the routers by Ethernet cables, though on Saturday afternoon, the connection was hampered by heavy wind, intermittent rain and cloudy skies.
"You're getting two kilobytes a second, it's worthless," Sanalla told one of the other men trying to upload videos to YouTube.
At another laptop, 26-year-old Ahmed Yacoub was setting up an Arabic-language Wordpress blog: "The Voice of the February 17 Revolution" – named after the “day of rage” when the protests in Libya began to turn into a violent uprising.
Yacoub, who studies media and programming at Garyounis, said he and other Libyans gained "courage and guidance" from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Egyptians have been assisting the Libyan uprising, not only by ferrying aid across the liberated eastern border between the two countries, but by carrying media out of the internet blackout in Libya to upload in Egyptian border towns and by sharing tactical advice on how to confront a repressive government crackdown, Sanalla said.
Between the onset of heavy fighting on the 17th and the 21st, he said, protesters in Benghazi were suffering under a total internet blackout. Then Sheikh came and arranged his ad-hoc system. On Saturday, they had just arranged to make phone calls through the satellite connection and could now conduct Skype phone calls with the outside world. Sanalla had been reaching out to international media organisations such as CNN and the BBC using the program’s chat capability.
The crew in the room also administers the “Libyans” group on Facebook and tweets from the account "endtyranny01" – Sanalla's from when he wanted to remain anonymous.
"eCoupled intelligent wireless power is so flexible it can actually be printed directly onto packaging. A low-cost enhancement to product packaging, printed coils allow real-time communication from the package to the store shelf, and then to the store’s inventory management system. Product quantities can be identified and tracked, expiration dates monitored, and new stock automatically ordered when supplies are low to help reduce lost sales."
Wait - weren't RFID tags supposed to make that problem go away?