Boy, last week was crazy. Microsoft bought Nokia. Samsung launched a smart watch. And loads of other things happened. But on the slow web, many beautiful stories were written. We’ve curated some of them here for the weekend. Have a good read!
Microsoft to buy Nokia phones, patents for $7.2B: Microsoft is buying Nokia’s line-up of smartphones and a portfolio of patents and services in an attempt to mount a more formidable challenge to Apple and Google as more people pursue their lives on mobile devices. More here.
A Bloody Ballmer and Stalled Discussions on the Long Road to a Nokia Deal: “We are on different planets.” That was the response of Risto Siilasmaa, the chairman of Nokia’s board of directors to Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, after a team from Microsoft presented an acquisition proposal to Nokia in late April. The morning presentation, led by Mr. Ballmer, took place at the offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York City. More here.
The Truth About Marissa Mayer: An Unauthorized Biography: On the morning of Thursday, July 12, 2012, Yahoo’s interim CEO, Ross Levinsohn, still believed he was going to be named permanent CEO of the company. He had just one meeting to go.That meeting was a board meeting, to be held that day in a room on the second floor of Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters. The room was big, with a large horseshoe table and video screens on the walls. Read more.
Steve Ballmer and the art of managing a monopoly: Steve Ballmer hasn’t been getting much love recently. On Friday, when he announced that he plans to retire as Microsoft’s C.E.O. at some point within the next year, the firm’s stock had its best day in years, rising seven per cent. Since that Bronx cheer from the markets, the critics have been piling on, describing Ballmer as the tech boss who somehow managed to miss search, social networking, and mobile—the three big trends that have revolutionized the industry in the past decade and a half. More here.
The Pentagon as Silicon Valley’s Incubator: In the ranks of technology incubator programs, there is AngelPad here in San Francisco and Y Combinator about 40 miles south in Mountain View. And then there is the Pentagon. In the last year, former Department of Defense and intelligence agency operatives have headed to Silicon Valley to create technology start-ups specializing in tools aimed at thwarting online threats. More here.
A fresh and unique set of approaches to Yahoo! logo design: Yahoo! recently spent a lot of money on a new logo. In fact, they tried new logos for 30 days before settling on one that looked like a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy milk. More here.
What Microsoft and Google’s YouTube row says about the future of web development: The Google/Microsoft YouTube dispute tells you more about the way software for the mobile internet is being developed than you might have thought. More here.
Customer Support: Always easy, never necessary: Judge a company by how they treat customers, not prospects, because you’ll be a customer for a lot longer than you’ll be a lead in a pipeline. More here.
Ubuntu Edge: how many phones were really ordered – and the mistakes: How many people really pledged for a phone? And was offering an $820 phone for $600 at the start a good or bad idea? More here.
Traveling the world, playing fighting games: How a 27 year old Nicolas Gonzales left his home country of Chile, traversed foreign lands and found himself through fighting games. Read here.
Balky carriers and slow OEMs step aside: Google is defragging Android. Versions don’t matter, because Google now controls the platform behind the platform. More here.
Bitcoin in India: Drivers and Barriers to Adoption: Bitcoin’s growth in 2013 has accelerated tremendously, driven largely by economic concerns which bitcoin is uniquely positioned to solve. This has been evidenced so far this year by conditions in Cyprus, China and Argentina, and has highlighted bitcoin’s potential in less developed nations like Kenya as well. All of the countries listed above are known for high inflation rates, strict capital controls, or a combination of both – a scenario that is beginning to unfold in India. This analysis will address India’s current economic climate and the factors that would affect the population’s propensity to adopt bitcoin on a large scale. More here.
How I Run a $16 Million Company Out of My Living Room: Allison O’Kelly was on the corporate fast track: She had an M.B.A. from Harvard, had worked as a CPA at KPMG, and was climbing the executive ladder at Toys “R” Us. But everything changed when she had kids. Now, O’Kelly’s Atlanta-based staffing company, Mom Corps, is helping her–and other working moms–spend more time at home. Entrepreneur Allison O’Kelly told her story to Inc. contributing editor Darren Dahl. More here.
Traction and Sustainable Growth – A How-to Guide for Startups: So you’ve built a decent, functional product. You’re proud of it. You tell yourself that your growth curve should always look like a hockey stick—up and to the right. “If you build it, they will come.” At least that’s what you thought. That might have worked for Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams, but in the real world, that kind of thinking will make your startup fail. More here.
The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running Your Business: This is going be a bullet FAQ on starting a business. No joke. If you’re a lawyer, feel free to disagree with me, so you can charge someone your BS fees to give the same advice. If you can think of anything to add, please do so. I might be missing things. If you want to argue with me, feel free. I might be wrong on any of the items below. More here.
Future of Indian Entrepreneurship in Light of Current Worries: India is celebrating 66 years of independence with a flurry of negative coverage in the international media. The Economist leads with Made outside India (“As growth slows and reforms falter, economic activity is shifting out of India”) Fareed Zakaria’s GPS blog on CNN has an interview with Ravi Venkatesan, a former Chairman of Microsoft India: “India remains a ferociously tough place to do business, ranked #132 out of 200 countries in terms of ease of doing business by the World Bank. It’s hard to see a scenario when India can sustain its progress without addressing these issues.” Embarrassing. More here.
Uber’s Founding: It was a cold winter in late 2008. Garrett Camp and I were hanging out in Paris for a week at Loic and Geraldine LeMeur’s LeWeb conference. Amongst the amazing food, the copious amounts of wine and inevitable nightlife crawls there were all kinds of discussions about what’s next. Garrett had sold StumbleUpon to Ebay and had been doing “hard time” at a big company. I had just completed my tour with Akamai after selling Red Swoosh to them in 2007. More here.
The role of LTV in freemium: Lifetime Customer Value is probably the most fundamental conceptual struggle for freemium app developers. And while calculating LTV and integrating it into an organization’s decision-making apparatus are onerous tasks, these aren’t the root causes of firms’ anxieties over LTV. More here.
The 5 Worst Pieces of Advice for Small Business Owners. When you’re starting a business, there’s no shortage of people eager to hand out advice. It seems that everyone, even someone you’ve just met, has an opinion on how you should be developing your product, running your marketing, handling your finances and much more. More here.
Who Will Prosper in the New World: Self-driving vehicles threaten to send truck drivers to the unemployment office. Computer programs can now write journalistic accounts of sporting events and stock price movements. There are even computers that can grade essay exams with reasonable accuracy, which could revolutionize my own job, teaching. Increasingly, machines are providing not only the brawn but the brains, too, and that raises the question of where humans fit into this picture — who will prosper and who won’t in this new kind of machine economy? More here.
When Einstein Met Tagore: Collision and convergence in Truth and Beauty at the intersection of science and spirituality. More here.
Why the food bill is sound economics: AS THE National Food Security Bill inches its way back to Parliament, financial analysts are raising predictable concerns about its affordability. These concerns, however, are misplaced. The foodgrain requirements of the Bill are no more than existing allocations. More here.
A Battle for the Soul of India: At first glance, there did not seem to be anything unique, or, voyeurism aside, even all that interesting about this past summer’s public quarrel between Indian economist and political philosopher Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate who now teaches at Harvard, and his former Cambridge University classmate Jagdish Bhagwati, a Columbia University economist and law professor who has long been one of the most eloquent champions of globalization based largely on free trade as the surest, if not indeed the only sure, way for poor countries to become prosperous. More here.