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October 25, 2011

It has been called the longest headline in the history of the internet… #cnbc

Filed under: Movies / TV / Media,Technology & Internet — Chris Chaten @ 5:33 PM

From CNBC.com:

-Chris

Steve Jobs: Robber Baron #isaacson

For many, large portions of Walter Isaacson’s biography of  Steve Jobs will be retreads of now apocryphal tales.  In other portions, the direct narrative from Jobs and his closest cohorts proves an interesting glimpse into the man who was more a singular force of will than anything else. He cursed employee’s best efforts, and deceived his closest friends. He had few hobbies, no time for philanthropy, little time for personal relationships, and a moral code that could best be defined as opportunistic.

In this view of Jobs, we largely already knew he wasn’t the warm-fuzzy type to work with.  The personal side is nothing remarkable, and similar to that of other driven figures.  He was deeply affected by what we tend to characterize as ‘flaws.’

But we will forgive these things, because he helped create a company that churned out products that enlightened design, raised standards, and will ultimately define a generation. Society would be less forgiving of Jobs’s character had his drive created an oil products  or pharmaceutical empire.

The surly, dynastic traits exhibited Jobs are no different than the likes of Rockefeller, Morgan, and Carnegie. Jobs’s closed systems happened to create products consumers love. The others noted here will be viewed without any romance.  In some regards, they are held up as all that is wrong with capitalism.

The domineering and controlling tendencies amongst moguls spans industries.  Let’s cut the others the same slack (or condemn them equally).

-Chris

 

October 21, 2011

America’s Income Statement Net Margin is -60% #usdebt

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Technology & Internet — Chris Chaten @ 7:36 PM

KPCB partner Mary Meeker has delivered an annual ‘state of the web’ since her days as a securities analyst at Morgan Stanley.  She continues to develop this report, and her 2011 edition is out.  While her insights on mobile internet trends are interesting, her slide titled “America’s Income Statement” is a very cogent picture of our fiscal state.

We can’t continue to bleed money like we do today.  The -60% gap is very real and very dangerous. The focus of our elected officials should be 100% on growing the economy and cutting spending.  The bottom line needs to be black.  Without that, everything else we are fighting for is moot.

-Chris

Full presentation: here.

October 18, 2011

Fixing the USPS with QR Codes #usps (@OIGUSPS)

The struggles of the US Postal Service have been well documented. The looming bankruptcy is exposing the weaknesses of the union contracts and lack of competitive focus. Responding to the pressure, the USPS is raising the price of standard postage to $0.45. This is a small step in the right direction, but it’s not nearly enough to fill the $8.5 billion hole.

If the USPS wanted to accurately price the service and drive more volume, they should adapt a bar code / account system for retail users.  Instead of, or in addition to, selling fixed-price stamps, they should offer users the ability to create an account online, register a credit card (or bank account, PayPal, whatever), and order custom coded stamps.  These stamps would be read by machine, and the USPS would charge back to the account a variable price based on location and weight.

If someone is shipping a letter from New York to Casper, Wyoming, the cost (and the price) should be higher than a person shipping a letter down the street.  If someone put a stamp on a package,  they would apply extra cost for the weight and volume. This system would be flexible enough to apply those costs without making the process cumbersome to the user.

The USPS website would have a rate calculator to approximate the cost if anyone really cared to determine the difference between a $0.50 letter and a $0.61 letter.

These tools are available today for larger businesses, but they should be driven down to the consumer for letters and other small parcel, non-urgent postage.

-Chris

October 5, 2011

“Death is the destination we all share.” Steve Jobs: 1955 – 2011

Filed under: Business,Marketing & Advertising,Technology & Internet — Chris Chaten @ 10:15 PM

I posted this speech a bit ago, and it’s worthy of a re-watch today.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

-Chris