I don’t want my Financial TV

Fox Business News is beating the crap out of CNBC.
  • In 2Q 2018, Bartiromo’s Mornings led Squawk Box among total viewers, 109,000 to 104,000
  • FBN grew … beating CNBC by 23% (203,000 total viewers compared with CNBC’s 165,000).
  • Among viewers 25-54, the demographic most coveted by advertisers, CNBC finished ahead of Fox Business in the second quarter, with 31,000 viewers to FBN’s 25,000
  • Lou Dobbs Tonight, which won among total viewers (319,000) and among viewers 25-54 (36,000)
In reality, these numbers are so small and irrelevant that I wonder if anyone wants the so-called financial TV. It is mostly vanity television — only for business leaders to get on tv. From an advertiser perspective, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and other places offer more finely tuned audiences for much lower prices. In the plus column, these puny sized numbers should be a big boost for (former Buzzfeed President) Jon Steinberg and his Cheddar, Continue reading "I don’t want my Financial TV"

Guest Posts Gone Wild

Buzzfeed is reporting that one single contributor who wrote 700 articles for Forbes and 300 for Entrepreneur magazine, has been charging brands to mention their names in his articles. It is yet another posts-payola scheme.
BuzzFeed News also obtained an email pitch from an AudienceBloom employee to a potential client in which he offered the ability for them to review an article with a brand mention before it was published. The pitch said a mention with a link back in a “premium tier” publication like Mashable would cost between $1,200 and $2,000.
In December 2017, Outline reported that “publications such as Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Huffington Post and Forbes, wherein freelance writers were taking payments in exchange for favorable coverage.” It happens with such regularity — especially at Forbes and Entrepreneur — that I usually ignore everything these publications offer. And when someone sends me a link about themselves (or one of their articles), I make it a point to not take them seriously in the future. Continue reading "Guest Posts Gone Wild"

Does Silicon Valley have a conscience?

Silicon Valley’s recruiting pitch has long been: Work with us to change the world. Employees are encouraged to make their work life synonymous with their social identity, and many internalize those utopian ideals. “People who signed up to be tech heroes don’t want to be implicated in human rights abuses,” says a senior Google employee.

A close look at the emergence of employee dissent at big tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft over issues that matter to them. One notable omission: Facebook. Perhaps they think that their company is pristine, flawless.

Journalism Problem #1

Jill Abramson, former editor of The New York Times:
“From four years of teaching at Harvard, so many of my students are interested in journalism, but they mostly want to write first-person, highly personal narratives about themselves. That may reflect their age. But I think there’s too much of that in journalism. It’s not about us. It’s about the world, and covering the world.”

This has been my biggest gripe with the media establishment. Everything is about them, not about the news.

Past & Future

Politics, business, technology, innovation… past always tries to hold down the future. Every time I read an article about Brexit, dismissal of Tesla, or new ideas, it all boils down to our dogmas and collective memories coming in the way of the future. The past can be a great guide, but it can’t be our social destination. These days, the world seems dark at times, and as a result, I retreat into books, music, and art. Only art (including writing and blogging) allow you to remix the past and build the future. So much of our modern photography is influenced by those photos from a 100 years ago. And they were influenced by masters (painters) from before, and they got their inspiration from the giants of the Renaissance. HipHop is a remix. I don’t know whether future is good or bad, but keeping an open mind does make present pretty Continue reading "Past & Future"

What do YouTube, Instagram & GitHub have in common?

I have had a few days to think about Microsoft’s decision to buy GitHub for $7.5 billion and I am increasingly convinced that this is a good deal for Microsoft, as long as they don’t pull the same shenanigans they did with Skype. The acquisition makes a lot of sense, especially when you see it from the lens of two of the most successful “buys” of recent years. Continue reading "What do YouTube, Instagram & GitHub have in common?"

You know that thing called blogging

It has been almost ten days since I have been able to read properly. The bug I picked on my recent travels along with severe conjunctivitis turned out to be a forced vacation from screens. I am woefully behind on emails and also on my reading. And as usual, I caught up with some of my favorite bloggers, Dave Winer and John Gruber. And as I sped through their writing, it finally clicked. Continue reading "You know that thing called blogging"

Leica, ready to flip?

After five years of using Leica products, I can safely say that Leica does make fantastic products, and expensive as they might be, they are going to last what seems like a lifetime. I bought my Leica SL, about three years ago. It was so advanced and perfectly built that even today, I find it at par with recent competitive products. The lenses — especially the M class of lenses — cost a lot of money, but I am leaving those for my godchildren. In other words, the very qualities that make Leica products expensive, make it hard for the company to monetize their customer base. With overall camera market shrinking, thanks to the rise of computational photography, like all its rivals, Leica must see the writing on the wall. Continue reading "Leica, ready to flip?"

Junk

Our homes are filled with essentials (aka things we can’t live without), non-essentials (aka things that add comfort and enhance our daily life) and junk. In fact, most of our life is full of junk.
These are the artifacts we like—or, more accurately, think we like—but they don’t serve a purpose or bring us joy. The average American home contains more than 300,000 items, and most of it is junk. While this junk often masquerades as indispensable, it actually gets in the way of a more meaningful life.

It is jut not things. We have junk relationships, junk food, junk news and junk information. We also have too much junk. Over past three years, I have been slowly and slowly shedding stuff and finally as the clutter is starting to go away, I realize I have been crowding myself out of my own life.

Goodbye Anthony Bourdain

It has been six days since I got back from Iceland. And every single day has been spent in bed – dealing with conjunctivitis, cold, cough and fever. Despite all precautions, all sort of vitamins and even getting decent sleep. And yet, it has been a rough few days. Even though I have tried to keep up with work — thanks to Zoom video conference, I have fallen behind on my emails.  And if that was not enough, I have been devastated by the news of the suicide of Kate Spade, a designer who works were appreciated by millions of women around the world. But today, my world got a little darker. Anthony Bourdain, a chef and a food journalist I admired deeply committed suicide in France. His show Parts Unknown was the only show worth watching on CNN. I loved his previous travel shows as well. 
Continue reading "Goodbye Anthony Bourdain"

We are all trapped in the “Feed”

Every afternoon, during lunch, I open up YouTube, and I find myself marveling at the sheer dumbness of its recommendations. Despite having all this viewing data of mine, world’s second most popular search engine is dumb as a brick. It shows me propaganda channels from two ends of the political spectrum. It surfaces some inane celebrity videos. It dredges up the worst material for me — considering I usually like watch science videos, long conversations and interviews, and photography-focused educational videos. Continue reading "We are all trapped in the “Feed”"

May 25: Worth Reading

WorthReading
  • Remember GoTV? Or the Verizon’s much talked about the acquisition of once-very-hot Vessel? And all those press releases from Verizon where it talked up its dreams of being an OTT video giant. All those have resulted in nothing, and The company has called it quits and is now looking to partner with former competitors. The latest retreat is not a surprise – it is hard to be anything but a telecom. (LightReading)
  • Talking about Verizon. As a long time customer, I discovered that for a while my wireless network was slower than it used to be. It felt even slower when I used a T-Mobile connection. Well, now I know why. The unlimited data-plans pushed into the market by T-Mobile put Verizon on the back foot. Lately, Verizon LTE has got a spring in its step. My former colleague Kevin Fitchard breaks down the state of mobile broadband Continue reading "May 25: Worth Reading"

Blockchain Phones? Really!

It seems a whole new slew of phones that are optimized for blockchain applications are currently under development.   Sirin Labs is going to debut its Finney phone in October 2018 which runs a custom Android OS.  The phone will have built-in crypto wallets and will allow seamless behind-the-scenes conversions between different types of tokens. Blacture is also working on the Motif phone, which is supposed to launch in Fall 2018. These are exciting developments, for sure. And while they might not make sense now, but don’t be surprised to see phone makers such as Apple start to incorporate chips and OS level integration for seamless behind the scenes conversions. For me, this is a trend to watch.

5 stories worth reading

  • Facebook’s full of fake accounts. And despite it saying it stopped nearly 538 million so far this year, there are almost 80 million fake accounts on the service. And they are for sale, Charlie Warzel of Buzzfeed reports. After reading the story, it is clear that this is a much broader problem.
  • I once joked with Tony Fadell that I had so many connected toys that it looked like a Sharper Image catalog. That joke is becoming a nightmare, as we are creating mountains of waste with old devices, reports Stacey Higginbotham for IEEE Spectrum.
  • If you think coal is an environmental nightmare, then you haven’t seen the damage done by coal ash. It is as big a problem as massive oil spills. .
  • Doc Searls says GDPR will pop the ad-tech bubble. I don’t know — the ad companies are way too crafty to work around regulation.
  • Google’s employees don’t Continue reading "5 stories worth reading"

My only camera rig

I love between analog and digital worlds. My 12.9 inch iPad Pro and Logitech K811 keyboard are my preferred computer combination. For a timepiece, nothing like the artful work from masters at Grand Seiko. And for photography, I now work exclusively with Leica M-A and an f2/50mm Summicron. All my other film and digital cameras, except for my Leica SL and Fuji x100F are on their way to new homes. It is very freeing to have a handful of lenses — imperfection is my new mantra. My film of choice Kodak Tri-X 400. My camera strap (Dsptch x Stash Special Edition) is a gift from my friend, Dsptch founder Richard Liu. PS: I accidentally posted this on my photo blog instead of posting here.