technology

Fatty Industries, Lean Enterprises


“It leads to the ABYSS”

Good reads by ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief regarding the state of Silicon Valley, seeing as how some companies aren’t doing so well. There’s a lot of food for thought when thinking about your own tech startup ecosystem, and how funding and culture come together, and sometimes determine the success of companies in rather intangible ways.

There’s also no “Listen” segment today as I just hadn’t the time to listen to new music. But I’ve been listening to lots of good music while commuting, so I think I share those soon.

On to the Curated Day!

READ

Let’s all shed tears for the crappy startups that can’t raise any more money

ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief, Dan Lyons, lays the smackdown on the state of investments in Silicon Valley. Too sum it up, with too much focus on ‘social’ ideas and everyone trying to be the “next-insert Facebook equivalent here”, funding is going to be played closer to the chest from here on end.

Then Facebook went splat and Zynga went splat and Groupon went splat and now VCs are pulling back and nobody can raise money and all those people who claimed there was no bubble are reporting that guess what, something like 2,000 lame-ass companies are going to flame out, but this just means that things are coming back to normal and isn’t it great that the frothy times are over?
But if that’s the case, doesn’t it mean that we were in fact in a bubble back when all those blogs were saying there was no bubble? Apparently the answer is, No, that wasn’t a bubble. That was just frothy.
I’m sorry but the whole thing is hilarious. Or sad. I can’t decide which.

The enterprise is cool again, and Box CEO Aaron Levie is loving it

A good follow up to the previous link, again by Dan Lyons. It’s a good case study of what’s been working out for Box (Box.net), and not so much the idea of box, but the game it’s changing. The company invested early in cloud tech, and is now reaping the benefits as the enterprise industry is ready to make those big changes in cloud infrastructure. Also, enterprise customers are more mature and when they buy something, they aren’t flippant like us regular ‘ol consumers.

Five years ago, Levie figured out that the enterprise ultimately would be a better market than consumer products. He focused Box entirely on the enterprise. Back in 2007, that might have seemed like a crazy thing to do. Facebook and Twitter were the hot new things. All the so-called smart money in the valley was chasing consumer stuff.

WATCH

Ghosts of Techno: Ghostly International

Features Ghostly International Owner, Sam Valenti IV, Label Manager, Jeff Owens and Ghostly International and Spectral Sound Artists, Kate Simko, Todd Osborne and Scott Hanson. Pleasant glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes.

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in.between

Hype the Machine, and it will be good to you

Hype Machine 2.0
My big news today comes from the recently updated Hype Machine iOS app, an upgrade from version 1.0 to version 2.0

My using of the app started out great, I could listen to all the music curated by music blogs anytime by streaming the app, and it was a portal of wonderful discovery for me. Unfortunately, about the time iOS 5 came out, it started acting very buggy for me even after updates, and that’s when i started using SoundCloud more often.

Well, it pleases me that one of my favourite apps has not just been updated, but overhauled into a brand new experience. The streaming is seamless, the social sharing is one-touch, the favouriting of your favourite songs is dead simple, and the user experience and aesthetics just make you want to keep using the app and discovering more amazing music out there in the world.

Get it here. for US$3.99 or use the free web version at hypem.com.

And now, for the Curated Day!

READ
Is it time for content marketers to abandon Facebook?

Sonia Simone of Copyblogger asks the all-important question in an age when all major brands are clustered(fxxk) on Facebook, yet at the mercy of Facebook’s algorithm that determines who sees their messaging.

You can keep thinking that your relationship with Facebook is a two-way street. And you can keep being disappointed when Facebook pulls another lousy stunt and you get shafted.
Or you can use Facebook for what they’re good at — having conversations with people who might become customers. If you can do that without becoming dependent on Facebook, you’ll do fine.
Or you may decide that Facebook isn’t worth the effort. That’s fine, too. Contrary to what some will tell you, not every business “needs” to be on Facebook. It’s a tool — nothing more, nothing less. You need to make an informed decision about whether or not the tool makes sense for you.

Ypulse: What Millennials Want

I don’t normally like pigeonholing people into demographics, target audiences and inane labels.. but it’s just sooo useful when it comes to marketing / writing / communications. I suppose one of the problems I’ve always had with labels is formula or a one-size-fits-all, shotgun to the face approach to engagement. Which is why Say Media’s wake up call to the Millennials is timely and challenges the profession.

They need to having a marketing strategy that’s unique to each platform rather than just posting the same information on each site. Facebook and Twitter for example are better for posting updates, deals, and discounts, whereas Instagram and Pinterest are intended for images. Brands are getting it wrong when they bombard fans with the same information in the same ways on each medium.

Why I believe in pricing work based on value

Was having a conversation with Fernando and Marcus on Twitter regarding what a viable alternative is for people in the creative industry to price their services, apart from an “hourly rate” or “project fees”. What came up was pricing it based on “value”.

Value as toward what portion of a client’s budget has been dedicated to creative elements. Be it design, music, writing, photography, video.. etc. It makes sense to me, even though I’m usually on the client-side of the scale. If I really value the creative element in my next project, I should portion a section the budget to making that creative breathe by paying a fair rate. Plenty more discussion to follow.

I think many of you would agree that most of what we do comes natural to us. That’s why we’re good at what we do. We might not call our work “easy” because it may be very complex, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “difficult”. There are challenges and we meet them. That’s the nature of Web Design (and likely your industry too).
Does this mean I should undercharge for my work because it comes natural to me? No. I price my work based on the value it brings to my client.

Nick Oliveri reunites with Queens of the Stone Age

Pertinent news for QOTSA fans, yet somewhat curious as to why these creative “compromises” are happening.

Oliveri’s participation comes as a surprise considering he was famously booted from the band in 2004 and hasn’t worked with Josh Homme since then. Then there’s the whole lawsuit, which Homme filed against Oliveri and the rest of Kyuss Lives! in March 2012. But I guess when you’re trying to make a redux of Songs For the Deaf, anything and everyone goes.

LISTEN

We’ve Got… – Golden Grrrls

A sweet lo-fi indie tune to wind up the working week. If you’re a fan of wispy melodies that sound like a the breath of fresh air on a solo trek with snow-capped peaks to your right, this is for you.

WATCH

Turning Video Games Into Live Music

Tacit Group creates live experiences that seamlessly combine sensory elements; games that create music and an intense visual experience.

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culture

The Social Network Review

Guys with no friends make a website to get more friends.
“Y’know.. we could just be average.”

Snap: A well paced drama that tells that story of Facebook‘s origins. Directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Alien 3, Fight Club), Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and scored by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), the film doesn’t just excel narratively, but makes use of classic, well established cinematic tools to enhance the engaging plot devices in the excellent writing and directing. [4/5]

Love: If you like movies, and you like the cinematic experience and don’t need all the whizz bang, in-your-face CGI or gimmicky ideas, The Social Network is a definite must watch for you. What we have is David Fincher’s intricate crafting of an excellently written screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, about the story of what went on behind the scenes, of the most popular social network in the first decade of the 21st century, Facebook. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched such clarity in drama, acting, mis-en-scene, editing, soundscapes, cinematography, on the big screen, and to me, this is one of the modern films that work.

My favourite scenes are a toss up between the opening credits, as Jesse Eisenberg’s character runs through the Harvard campus after being dumped by his girlfriend. It’s very reminiscent of Donnie Darko’s opening credits, with careful night photography paced with a sinister soundtrack courtesy of Trent Reznor. The other scene was one of juxtaposition as the “Winklevii” were losing a rowing competition, that ran parallel with the plot of their Harvard Connection losing out to Facebook.

One would think that such ideas sound contrived, but David Fincher does these things to great effect. It really is a solid vision on the director’s part, to nail the basics, flourish when necessary and tell a story worth telling. Of losing friends, making new enemies, and the age old question of the day, was it worth it?

Hate: I don’t know if there was anything to hate? Maybe perhaps the ending, where it ended like Pirates Of Silicon Valley. Narrative almost dictates that there needs to be a sort of resolution, but in this case, the story has not ended (as of writing this), not in real life at least. And so, it does come across as abrupt, especially when the film and actors have built all these wonderful characters, when the film ended, the characters seemed to be suspended in mid-air. I suppose it’s the only effective way to end such a film, so.. the dislike is almost excusable.

PSA: This preview was made possible by Sony Pictures Singapore who invited Niki, who in turn, invited me. So thanks everyone! Also, Sony Pictures Singapore has a twitter page you can follow.

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