The Browser
Cecily Cecily

Writing Worth Reading

What To Expect When Apple’s Expecting

Interview with ace Apple whisperer Horace Dediu, speculating about upcoming products including the iWatch. “They are trying to make a platform product with a novel user experience and all the power of an ecosystem run on a wrist. It’s as big a problem as getting a phone-sized device to run a touch UI was in 2007. That is the crucial contribution that Apple is making to this next generation of computing” (2,030 words)

The $19bn Poker Game

Backgrounder on Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. Jan Koum arrived at his price by measuring WhatsApp against Twitter’s market cap; then negotiated the final terms with Mark Zuckerberg in Zuckerberg’s kitchen. “Finally, on Saturday night Koum and Zuckerberg went from talking in the kitchen to the living room couch”. Which is where Zuckerberg offered $19bn, and pulled out a bottle of scotch to seal the deal (2,850 words)

The World’s Most Expensive Disappearing Act

Profile of the 23-year-old Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, who turned down $3bn from Facebook, and aims to be the next Mark Zuckerberg himself. He thinks Snapchat has found a strategy for beating Facebook, at least among younger people: Posts to Snapchat disappear after a while, whereas Facebook content haunts you for ever. The median Snapchat user is aged 18; the median Facebook user, 40 (3,980 words)

Meet The Dread Pirate Roberts

Online conversation with manager of Silk Road web site, black-market hub for drug traders. “Roberts spoke with Forbes in his first-ever extended public interview for a reason: As with physical drug dealing, a turf war has emerged. Competitors, namely a newly launched site called Atlantis with a real marketing budget and a CEO with far less regard for his privacy, are stealing Roberts’ spotlight” (3,000 words)

Optimal Civility

Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhardt accuse Paul Krugman of “incivility”, in his public attacks on their economic theories. And probably they are right. But incivility has its place, even at higher levels of discourse. We needn’t be polite about bad ideas. “If not incivility in the sense of writing rudely, there is at least a place for harshness, and writing aimed at lowering the status of a writer in everyone’s eyes” (1,174 words)

Bain Capital Might Be Bad For America

Growth requires innovation. Innovation is risky. The bigger the risk, the more you need a visionary chief executive — a Sergei Brin, a Jeff Bezos — to grasp the possibilities, quell the doubters, see it through. That’s why private equity firms are bad for growth: “They will come in, crunch the numbers, see that the whole thing is madness and put the silly business of growth to an end. Rational stagnation results” (604 words)

Prince Alwaleed And The Curious Case Of Kingdom Holding Stock

Forbes falls out with Saudi tycoon, accuses him of exaggerating his wealth, strongly suggests that he ramps up the shares of his public company. Calls him a bigger egomaniac than Donald Trump, and a mediocre investor. By Forbes’s reckoning Alwaleed is still the richest man in the Arab world — but $20bn rich, not, as he claims, $30bn rich

What Killed Michael Porter’s Monitor Group?

Consulting firm founded by business-school guru goes bankrupt. Why? Because Monitor advised clients to focus primarily on protecting themselves from competition. Not on innovation or customer satisfaction. Bad strategy

One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students

Twenty-four months ago, Salman Khan was working alone in a walk-in closet. Now it’s no exaggeration to say that his Khan Academy, funded by philanthropists, is changing the way we think about education. The potential is immense

Jack Dorsey: Leadership Secrets Of Twitter And Square

Before he co-founded Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey wrote dispatch software for ambulances, dropped out of college (twice), took up botanical drawing and became a certified masseur. Savitz discovers how he manages his time now

For Wrong-Headed Reasons, EU Leaders Are Leaning Toward A Greek Exit

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Europe’s leaders are now planning for a Greek exit from the euro. The current policy approach towards Greece appears to be based on three ideas. Each of these ideas is incorrect” (h/t @rszbt)

Leadership Lessons From The Geniuses Of Jazz

From the importance of improvising through chaos, to benefits of performing and experimenting simultaneously. And, of course, importance of embracing errors. As Miles Davis said: “If you’re not making a mistake, it’s a mistake”

Professor Billionaire

Stanford professor David Cheriton once wrote a cheque for $100,000 to two budding entrepreneurs. Their names? Sergey Brin and Larry Page. His investment turned out to be worth $1bn, but Cheriton still cuts his own hair

How LinkedIn Has Turned Your Resume Into A Cash Machine

Huge feature on LinkedIn’s astonishing success. Now makes $1.30 for every hour a single user spends on site. Remarkable, when you consider Facebook earns just six cents in comparable scenario. Here’s how they made it happen

How Self-Driving Cars Could Reshape Our Cities

For one thing, no more parking spaces. “In peak periods, virtually all cars will be on the roads driving people around. In off-peak periods, cars will still be on the roads, they’ll just pull over to the side of the road and stop”

The Future Of Facebook: Mining The Human Cloud

“Facebook has created the largest social analytics engine on the planet. They essentially know what we’re thinking before we do.” It puts them in a terrifically strong position for now. But will their star keep rising?

Food’s Biggest Scam: The Great Kobe Beef Lie

Think you’ve tasted the famous Japanese Kobe beef? You may have in Japan, but in the US? No. You can’t get it in stores, not by mail, and certainly not in restaurants, no matter how fancy, or what they claimed. You have been duped

The Fall Of Big Paper

What happened to the paperless office? The laser printer happened. But finally the tide is turning. Kindles, smartphones, iPads are post-paper tech. Paper is still needed for signatures and receipts; otherwise, it’s done

Mystery Monk Makes Billions

By name, Manoj Bhargava, producer of 5-Hour Energy caffeine drink. Princeton dropout. Part-time mystic. His recipe for success: Make something that works, sue the competition. “I’m probably the richest Indian in America”

What Happens To Old And Expired Supermarket Foods

Some thrown. Some cooked in store. Most goes to charity, or gets sold on to salvage stores. Leftovers go to urban foragers. Might not taste great, but it’s mostly safe: “We put enough preservatives in our food to embalm an elephant”

The Real Story Behind Apple’s ‘Think Different’ Campaign

How the advertising campaign that fueled Apple’s success came to be. Revealing on Jobs: “I saw and experienced his tongue lashings and ballistic temper firsthand—directed to several others and squarely at me. It wasn’t pretty”

Why There Will Never Be Another Drug Like Lipitor

Patent runs out on Pfizer’s anti-cholesterol drug. Over 15 years it has generated more in annual sales than Major League Baseball or the entire US film industry. But newer drugs are more targeted. No more category killers

With Vaccines, Bill Gates Changes The World Again

Super feature reveals “how a mechanical genius methodically tackles an abstract problem. And perhaps most of all, how power and capital — both literal and political — can be spent to maximise positive impact on the world”

The High-Stakes Math Behind The West’s Greatest River

A rare look at complexity of managing the flow of a river. In this case the Columbia. With its 27 large dams. No surprise, it takes extreme precision to generate hydroelectricity, prevent floods and irrigate farmland simultaneously

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