18. August 2016

Date: 18-08-2016
Source: TIME
Subject: 5 Things We Learned From This Mark Zuckerberg Interview

Including the best advice he’s received from Peter Thiel

zuckerberg-300x199.jpgMark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and one of its co-founders, is widely praised as one of the tech industry’s most successful entrepreneurs. Zuckerberg started Facebook with a few friends as a 19-year-old student at Harvard as way for students to keep up with their classmates—and find out which of them are single, among other things. Today, Facebook is a $350 billion company with revenue of almost $18 billion in 2015.

So it’s not surprising that Y Combinator, the prestigious startup accelerator program, selected Zuckerberg as the first guest on its new video series, “How to Build the Future.” Here are some of the most interesting comments from the interview with Y Combinator president Sam Altman:

Yahoo’s acquisition offer in 2006 was a pivotal moment for Facebook

“One of the hardest parts for me was actually when Yahoo offered to buy the company for a lot of money. that was a turning point in the company,” said Zuckerberg. “It was the first time we had to look at the future and say, ‘Wow, is what we’re going to build be actually more meaningful than this?’” Read the rest of this entry »


The Biggest Mistakes CEOs Make With Their Personal Facebook Accounts

31. May 2016

Date: 31-05-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

No. 1: Having a passive presence, or none at all

CEOs can’t approach Facebook the way other professionals do.

Facebook ccCompanies know that Facebook is the most important social network for reaching consumers. That’s because 73% of Americans use Facebook every day, compared with 27% who use Twitter that much and just 17% who look at LinkedIn every day, according to a recent survey by Springboard America, a market research provider.

For the same reason, Facebook is a crucial platform for the leaders of those companies: When social-media usage is so overwhelmingly skewed toward Facebook, CEOs can’t afford to limit their professional online presence to what some might consider the more serious networks of Twitter and LinkedIn.

However, CEOs can’t approach Facebook the way other professionals or even other managers do. As the public face of their companies, CEOs are subject to far greater scrutiny both internally and externally. That gives them unique opportunities on Facebook—but also distinctive risks. Read the rest of this entry »


Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life for Foreseeable Future

21. January 2016

Date: 21-01-2016
Source: The New York Times

There’s a little parlor game that people in Silicon Valley like to play. Let’s call it, Who’s Losing?

There are currently four undisputed rulers of the consumer technology industry: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, now a unit of a parent company called Alphabet. And there’s one more, Microsoft, whose influence once looked on the wane, but which is now rebounding.

So which of these five is losing? A year ago, it was Google that looked to be in a tough spot as its ad business appeared more vulnerable to Facebook’s rise. Now, Google is looking up, and it’s Apple, hit by rising worries about a slowdown in iPhone sales, that may be headed for some pain. Over the next couple of weeks, as these companies issue earnings that show how they finished 2015, the state of play may shift once more.

But don’t expect it to shift much. Asking “who’s losing?” misses a larger truth about how thoroughly Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft now lord over all that happens in tech. Read the rest of this entry »


Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Bold Plan For The Future Of Facebook

16. November 2015

Fast Company, 16/11

http://www.fastcompany.com/3052885/mark-zuckerberg-facebook

Zuckerberg Facebook bold futurre

 


For Hardware Makers, Sharing Their Secrets Is Now Part of the Business Plan

30. March 2015

Date: 30-03-2015
Source: The New York Times

Facebook has shared designs for data storage, computer servers, and rack designs, among other hardware.

Facebook showed plans last week for drone aircraft that beam lasers conveying high-speed data to remote parts of the world.

As powerful as that sounds, Facebook already has something that could be even more potent: a huge sharing of its once-proprietary information, the kind of thing that would bring a traditional Silicon Valley patent lawyer to tears.

Facebook is not alone. Technology for big computers, electric cars and high-technology microcontrollers to operate things like power tools and engines is now given away.

These ideas used to be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. To the new generation of technologists, however, moving projects and data fast overrides the value of making everything in secret. Read the rest of this entry »


WhatsApp the 55-employee company taken over for $19 billion = $ 345 million per employee

20. February 2014

For info: Market Capitalization for
SONY = $17.71 billion

   Date: 20-02-2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: Facebook to Pay $19 Billion for WhatsApp

Messaging Startup to Operate Independently, Retain Brand

Facebook Inc. agreed to buy messaging company WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock, a blockbuster transaction that dwarfs the already sky-high prices that other startups have been able to recently command.

The 55-employee company, which acts as a kind of replacement for text messaging, has seen its use more than double in the past nine months to 450 million monthly users. That makes its service more popular than Twitter Inc., the widely used microblogging service which has about 240 million users and is currently valued at about $30 billion.

The transaction, which includes $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees over four years, ranks as the largest-ever purchase of a company backed by venture capital.

What'sAppBesides making its founders billionaires, the deal marks an enormous windfall for Sequoia Capital, the only venture firm that backed WhatsApp. Sequoia invested about $60 million for a stake valued at up to $3 billion in the deal, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The deal price also easily outranks any acquisition of startups in recent years, including Facebook’s purchase of photo-sharing app Instagram for more than $1 billion in 2012, and, a year earlier, Microsoft Corp.’s $8.5 billion buy of video-calling company Skype.

What isn’t clear is how much revenue WhatsApp makes—the company declined to comment on its sales. It charges 99 cents a year after one year of free use and doesn’t carry ads. On a conference call, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said he doesn’t think ads are the right way to monetize messaging systems.

Beyond revenue, the deal could help shelter the social network against the shifting tastes of teen users, some of whom have grown cool to it, and bolster its position internationally. WhatsApp is particularly popular outside of the U.S.

The transaction comes in the wake of Facebook’s failed attempt to purchase another messaging service popular with younger users, Snapchat, for roughly $3 billion last year. Read the rest of this entry »


The web giants pumping us for data

2. September 2013

Date: 02-09-2013
Source: The Guardian

As society becomes more networked, the information available to the Googles, Amazons and Facebooks of this world will increase exponentially

Rich resources … Like an oilfield, big data offers potentially huge profits for the corporations tapping into it.

Should you be looking for an example of hucksterish cynicism, then the mantra that “data is the new oil” is as good as they come. Although its first recorded utterance goes as far back as 2006, in recent times it has achieved the status of an approved corporate cliche, though nowadays “data” is generally qualified by the adjective “big”. And if you want a measure of how deeply the cliche has penetrated the collective unconscious, ponder this: a Google search for “big data” turns up more than 1.5bn results. And a search for “data mining” turns up 167m results.

The idea of big data as a metaphor for oil is seductive. It’s also revealing in interesting ways. Given that the oil business is one of the biggest industries in the history of the world, for example, the metaphor hints at untold future riches. But it conveniently skates over the fact that oil wealth overwhelmingly benefits either ruling elites in corrupt and/or authoritarian countries, or huge corporations in democratic states.

But at least oil is a physical, non-renewable resource that is extracted from the earth. Big data, on the other hand, is extracted from the activities of people and machines. As society becomes more and more networked, and as the so-called “internet-of-things” evolves, the amounts of data available to be “mined” will increase exponentially. And, unlike fossil fuels, these data reserves are infinitely renewable.

“Big data”, says Kenneth Cukier, co-author of the best book on the subject to appear so far, “will transform how we work, how we live and how we think”. He argues that, at least in the case of data, “more is not just more; more is different”, by which he means that quantitative abundance can lead to qualitative change. The availability of huge amounts of data turbocharges machine learning; for example, turning hitherto impossible tasks – like accurate, instantaneous language translation – into delivered realities.

The key question about any major technological development is: who benefits? The answer in the case of big data is: huge corporations – the Googles, Amazons and Facebooks of this world, which are the only outfits (outside of the US National Security Agency) with the computational resources to mine, analyse and process the data torrents unleashed by us as we go about our networked lives. The companies don’t talk about it this way, of course. Instead they have soothing patter about how their analytical capabilities enable them to serve you better: how the ability to analyse the web searches conducted by you and your friends enables them to provide better search results, for example; or how analysis of your online behaviour enables Amazon to suggest products that you might like; and so on.

All true, of course, but skilfully avoiding the awkward fact that you are the resource that is being mined and that the playing field that is cyberspace is tilted in favour of the corporations who have come to dominate it.

Which brings us to another aspect of the subject: open data. Since 2005, activists have been campaigning for “open government data” initiatives – demanding the publication of public datasets in machine-readable, freely reusable formats. The argument for this is impeccable: the data is collected by public bodies; it should therefore be available to the public that paid for it. The motivations behind the campaigns are likewise admirable: if the data is available, then civic-minded geeks can do useful things with it.

The open government data campaigns have been surprisingly successful in both the US and the UK. Huge swaths of public data are now available. I can download a vast spreadsheet containing details of every contract worth more than £500 entered into by my local authority, for example. And in many cases, people have already developed useful services on top of public data. For example, busitlondon.co.uk provides a helpful online tool for planning a journey by bus in London.

There’s lots more in that vein, and it’s all good stuff. At first sight, therefore, open government data looks encouraging. But there are a couple of flies in the ointment. The first is that there is a difference between open data and open government. The current Hungarian administration, for example, has been quite good at publishing public data, but is morphing into one of the most secretive and authoritarian regimes in Europe.

And then there’s that awkward question again: who benefits? Certainly the public, to some extent. But there are signs that open government data favours private companies bidding for local authority contracts. The companies know what it costs the authority to collect the refuse, for instance; but their own finances are opaque, so it’s impossible to judge whether they would really be more efficient than a public body.

And the moral? Be careful what you wish for.