Recruiting Win: Tap to Capture, Tap to Connect, Tap to Close

Grow your business and stay connected with today’s buyers and sellers.

An executive at a very large firm recently mentioned these factors when considering customer experiences and market share:

  1. 71% of internet time is now mobile [Link].
  2. Unlock your room with the Hilton app. Order room service. [Link]

  3. Unlock your rental car doors & flash the headlights using the Avis App [Link]
  4. Snapchat, a very fast growing app only experience [Link]
  5. Turkey’s President Erdogan communicated via iPhone FaceTime recently [Link].
  6. The old and new: [Link]
  7. Pokemon Go, a very popular “AR” (augmented reality) app [Link news]

Does your brokerage have the right tools for today and tomorrow?

One app, one system from leads to closings.

1. Tap to Capture

2. Tap to stay connected

3. Tap to close

Money as Message How WeChat got users to adopt payments as a way to grow its network

Connie Chan:

Network effects — where a product or service becomes more valuable to its users as more people use it — are one of the key ways software businesses maintain a better product and more defensible market position. This is especially true of messaging apps like WeChat — which, as I’ve argued before, is not just a messaging app but is actually more of a portal, a platform, and a mobile operating system. However you label it, WeChat is an entire ecosystem in and of itself, especially as it’s used in Asia. This is largely enabled by the sheer amount of payments credentials attached to user accounts, which significantly reduces friction in transacting across the marketplace, both online and offline.

Criminal Advertising Fraud

Bob Hoffman:

we mentioned last week, there are many types of online ad corruption. Here is what the FT had to say about bots:

“The most pernicious and common variety of ad fraud involves computer programs, or “bots”, that simulate the activity of a real person browsing the web or using an app. Hackers build an army of bots, known as a botnet, by sneaking the software on to vulnerable household computers.

The malicious software runs quietly in the background of the infected computer without making its presence known to the owner. Then, under the hacker’s remote control, the botnet — which can be rented through black-market internet forums — is directed to visit certain websites. The most sophisticated bots are programmed to click from one website to another, watch videos for their duration, and even add items to an online shopping basket.”

In other words, it is not impossible that you are running a criminal enterprise from your laptop without knowing it. And the criminal portion of your laptop may be on sale right now on the online black market.

Of course marketers, who always think they’re smarter than everyone else, believe they know how to protect themselves. A big shot media exec at Unilever — a company that spends 2 billion Euros a year on online advertising — thinks he knows the solution, “You need to do the homework and go to the highest level of granularity to understand what’s going on.”

The Majority Illusion in Social Networks

Kristina Lerman, Xiaoran Yan, Xin-Zeng Wu:

Social behaviors are often contagious, spreading through a population as individuals imitate the decisions and choices of others. A variety of global phenomena, from innovation adoption to the emergence of social norms and political movements, arise as a result of people following a simple local rule, such as copy what others are doing. However, individuals often lack global knowledge of the behaviors of others and must estimate them from the observations of their friends’ behaviors. In some cases, the structure of the underlying social network can dramatically skew an individual’s local observations, making a behavior appear far more common locally than it is globally. We trace the origins of this phenomenon, which we call “the majority illusion,” to the friendship paradox in social networks. As a result of this paradox, a behavior that is globally rare may be systematically overrepresented in the local neighborhoods of many people, i.e., among their friends. Thus, the “majority illusion” may facilitate the spread of social contagions in networks and also explain why systematic biases in social perceptions, for example, of risky behavior, arise. Using synthetic and real-world networks, we explore how the “majority illusion” depends on network structure and develop a statistical model to calculate its magnitude in a network.

Pokémon Go Shatters Apple App Store Record

Jonathon Vanian:

Whereas Angry Birds 2 and Candy Crush Jelly Saga brought in 2.2 million and 1.8 million downloads respectively during their first week on the App store, Pokémon Go had a whopping 7.2 million downloads, according to the Sensor Tower data.
 Additionally, Sensor Tower’s mobile insights head Randy Nelson told Fortune that since being released, Pokémon Go has been downloaded on both the App store and Google Play over 40 million times “and has earned more than $45 million in net revenue worldwide” from the two app store services.
 “[Pokémon Go] is still being played an average of 30 minutes per day in the U.S. on iOS, which is more than Facebook’s average of 22 total minutes per day in the country,” wrote Nelson in an email.

The 24 ways we’re tracked on a regular basis reveal something disturbing about the future

Kevin Kelly:

This list, instead, tallies the kind of tracking an average person might encounter on an ordinary day in the United States. Each example has been sourced officially or from a major publication.
 Car movements – Every car since 2006 contains a chip that records your speed, braking, turns, mileage, accidents whenever you start your car.
 Highway traffic – Cameras on poles and sensors buried in highway record the location of cars by license plates and fast-track badges. Seventy million plates are recorded each month.
 Ride-share taxis – Uber, Lyft, and other decentralized rides record your trips.
 Long-distance travel – Your travel itinerary for air flights and trains is recorded.
 Drone surveillance – Along U.S. borders, Predator drones monitor and record outdoor activities.
 Postal mail – The exterior of every piece of paper mail you send or receive is scanned and digitized.
 Utilities – Your power and water usage patterns are kept by utilities. (Garbage is not cataloged, yet.)
 Cell phone location and call logs – Where, when, and who you call (meta-data) is stored for months. Some phone carriers routinely store the contents of calls and messages for days to years.

Tons of data, not an ounce of sense

Ad Contrarian:

 One of the great advantages of online advertising is that it generates lots of very valuable data. This data helps us make excellent media and marketing decisions. Or so I’m told.
 But I’m afraid I may be suffering from that ailment called “cognitive dissonance” because from what I can see we have lots of data about online advertising and we’re making astoundingly dumb decisions.
 Let me give you an example.
 Google tells us that here in the U.S. the average click rate for an online banner ad is about .07%. That means for every 10,000 ads we run we get 7 clicks. This is beyond alarming.
 But we also know that about half of those clicks are accidental. So that gets us down to 3.5 real clicks per 10,000 ads served.
 Then we have to account for fraud. Now nobody knows how much click fraud there is, but there is responsible research that estimates it as high as 90%. I’m frankly skeptical that it’s that high, but I think most knowledgeable people agree that it’s probably no less than 35%. So let’s go with that more conservative number.
 Now we’re down to an effective click rate of about .02%.
 Since all the amazing data we have at our fingertips has allowed us to target only highly worthwhile consumers, we can assume that those 2 people we have induced to click with our “precisely targeting” compelling message are really valuable to us.
 But wait a second…
 We also know that 85% of clicks are generated by 8% of the population. The probability of inducing a click is not so much related to the preciseness of our targeting or the relevance of our message, it is related to the likelihood of having reached a click maniac.
 So it’s unlikely that the two measly legitimate clicks we’re getting are even prospects.

Why Land and Homes Actually Tend to Be Disappointing Investments

Robert Schiller:

But over the long run, it hasn’t been. Despite solid price increases over the last few years, land and homes have actually been disappointing investments. It’s worth considering why.
 Let’s start by looking at the numbers. The best long-term data on land in the United States is for farmland, which is valuable in its own right and can also be considered a great reservoir that can be converted to housing and other purposes at opportune times.
 Over the century from 1915 to 2015, though, the real value of American farmland (deflated by the Consumer Price Index) increased only 3.1 times, according to the Department of Agriculture. That comes to an average increase of only 1.1 percent a year — and with a growing population, that’s barely enough to keep per capita real land value unchanged.
 According to my own data (relying on the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which I helped create), real home prices rose even more slowly over the same period — a total increase of 1.8 times, which comes to an average of only 0.6 percent a year.

The ‘Uber Effect’ on the Property Market

Sam Lessin:

Real estate is one of the few industries in the world that’s bigger than transportation. But in the coming decades, companies like Uber and Lyft—eventually super-charged by self-driving cars—are likely to change living patterns and upend property markets in ways that we’ve only begun to understand.

The most interesting thing to me is that the shift is already beginning to happen in some urban areas, and I expect that residential and commercial real estate values are going to start adjusting much faster than people expect.

Google’s ad business “breaches” EU rules, says antitrust chief

Kelly Fiveash:

Google has been hit with a brace of fresh charges in the European Commission’s long-running antitrust case against the search and ad giant.
 Brussels’ competition chief Margrethe Vestager confirmed that her office would “reinforce the first Google case on search” relating to price comparison, by issuing—as rumoured earlier this week—a supplementary statement of objections against the company.
 Google also faces another round of charges against its dominant business practices in Europe relating to its ad placements on its own sites, and that of third party websites. The commission said, in a preliminary decision, that Google’s AdSense had breached EU antitrust rules in relation to its exclusivity contract with a limited number of the largest third party websites—so-called direct partners.

We now know exactly when ‘peak PC’ happened

Matt Rosoff:

to get online and run apps was with a personal computer — a box with a keyboard and mouse or trackpad. Most of those computers ran Microsoft Windows. That old definition of a “computer” is outdated. Most computing these days is done on phones, or on computers with touch screens and simpler but less sophisticated operating systems from Apple (iOS) and Google (Android or Chrome).
 But how outdated? This chart from Statista, based on the latest quarterly global sales data from Gartner, shows that the PC market peaked almost exactly five years ago — in Q3 2011. (Gartner excludes iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks from its measurements.)

The Sun Will Set on Electric Utilities

Leonard Hyman and William Tilles:

Why do electric companies spend so much on new plants when consumers show so little inclination to buy more of the output?
 From 2000 to the present, investor-owned utilities doubled their equity base while kilowatt-hour sales rose less than 10%. The more they invest, the more they can earn, so they have an incentive to invest when regulators allow them to earn more than the cost of capital.
 If sales do not increase, how will they earn additional profits to cover the cost of the new investment? They can cut costs or raise prices, of course. They have cut costs for two decades. Now it looks as if they will have to raise prices, working through the slow state-regulatory process.
 They might have to raise prices for a kilowatt-hour just as the introduction of disruptive technologies might give consumers an alternative to the legacy electricity provider. That’s the death spiral: Utilities raise prices, making an easier entry for competitive products, then utilities lose sales and must raise prices more to pay for all of the overhead they installed unnecessarily, and competitors take still more of the market.
 That brings up the electric company’s peculiar relationship with its customers. Electricity consumers do not line up the night before to buy power. They have no thoughts about the electric company while the lights are on and only the worst thoughts when the lights go out. They may stick to the local utility’s electricity retailer—but largely out of inertia, or because they never heard of the competitors, or they don’t believe any action offers anything worth the effort of switching.

Analyzing the Facebook News Feed

Wall Street Journal:

Facebook’s role in providing Americans with political news has never been stronger—or more controversial. Scholars worry that the social network can create “echo chambers,” where users see posts only from like-minded friends and media sources. Facebook encourages users to “keep an open mind” by seeking out posts that don’t appear in their feeds.

Browsers’ bid for relevance is turning them into time-bombs

Cory Doctorow:

It gets worse: one of the DMCA’s major targets is security researchers, who face legal threats when they disclose defects in DRM (because knowing a defect makes it easier to break the DRM), and security researchers report that they are routinely prevented from disclosing grave defects in everything from medical implants to critical software because of this threat.
 The W3C’s strategy for “saving the web” from the corporate-controlled silos of apps is to replicate the systems of control that make apps off-limits to innovation and disruption. It’s a poor trade-off, one that sets a time-bomb ticking in the web’s foundations, making the lives of monopolists easier, and the lives of security researchers and entrepreneurs much, much more perilous.

The Home Buying Map


released an article comparing 27 metropolitan areas and the salary someone would need to earn in order to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home. According to pricing data collected by the National Association of Realtors, a single family home in the U.S. will cost you approximately $223,900 as of 2015 median estimates. The median sales price of existing single-family homes in the U.S. has increased steadily since 2013 ($197,400) and 2014 ($208,900). That equates to a 13% increase over two years! Below is a breakdown of the median home prices for 2015 across four U.S. geographical areas:

Why Lawns Are Shrinking in the U.S. as Homes Get Bigger

Andrew McGill:

growing. These days, the average new home encompasses 2,500 square feet, about 50 percent more area than the average house in the late 1970s, according to Census data. Compared to the typical house of 40 years ago, today’s likely has another bathroom and an extra bedroom, making it about the same size as the Brady Bunch house, which famously fit two families.
 This expansion has come at a cost: the American lawn.
 The first diagram below shows what the average house looked like in 1978, when it measured 1,650 square feet and sat on 0.22 acres. The second shows its counterpart from 2015.

Surveillance: Google collects meta data (phone calls, SMS) from Android phones

Born’s Tech:

Today’s Renters Really Are Worse Off Than Their Parents

Laura Kusisto:

Inflation-adjusted rents have risen by 64% since 1960, but real household incomes only increased by 18% during that same time period, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released by Apartment List, a rental listing website.

Ghost in the machine: Snapchat isn’t mobile-first — it’s something else entirely

Ben Basche:

But we are beginning to see some cracks appear in both Facebook and Instagram. Earlier this year (ironically?) the Twittersphere was abuzz over a report in Bloomberg about sinking original (i.e. user generated) sharing on Facebook in what the company refers to internally as “context collapse.” Anyone who has been on Facebook for long time probably didn’t need numbers to back up the general feeling that they and their friends weren’t posting big photo albums from the weekend’s events anymore, let alone sharing a cool song on someone else’s wall. VentureBeat reported around the same time that Instagram engagement had dropped a whopping 40% in 2015. The Instagram numbers I take with a bit of a grain of salt as they don’t entirely pass the sniff test, but I think that while Instagram continues to grow (recently passed Twitter in a big way) and maintains a very privileged place in mediating our social hierarchies, people (especially young people) seem to be posting less frequently and are starting to spend their time elsewhere. It remains to be seen if Instagram’s algorithmic feed will fix this. To be sure, Facebook and Instagram are still part of people’s hourly (ok — every 15 minutes) routine of “checking your phone,” but I don’t think anyone can deny that their apparent evolution into more passive consumption experiences doesn’t raise a few red flags.

Ghost Boxes: Reusing Abandoned Big-Box Superstores Across America – 99% Invisible

Kurt Kohlstedt:

Big-box stores promise convenience and jobs for suburbs and small towns, but have a mixed reputation with designers and citizens. Many see big boxes as icons of unsustainable sprawl, reinforcing car culture with highway-oriented access and expansive parking lots. These boxy buildings not only take up vast amounts of land but often also require infrastructure around them to be overhauled. Later, when their super-sized occupants leave: a giant empty structure is left in their wake, which can be difficult to reuse unless a similar retailer takes its place.

A Young Lady’s Primer to Technical Decision Making

Charity Majors

Software is eating the world and probably your brain.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen an explosion of complexity in areas like polyglot storage, composable infrastructure, containerization and microservices, and coupling platforms (*aaS). Even five years ago, there were a set of fairly widely accepted best practices (virtualization, config management, RESTful services, and DBMS), but now every element of your stack is a never-ending rabbit hole of possibilities and questions.

Solid technical judgment is more important than ever. You can’t anticipate every problem, but you can identify and head off many of them in advance.

Technology Serves the Mission

Reuse Solutions

Have a Process for Major New Components

Choose Boring Technology, When You Can

Spend Your Risk Tokens on Key Differentiators

The Longer You survive, The More Operational Impact Trumps All

How Housing’s New Players Spiraled Into Banks’ Old Mistakes


But much of this investment has not benefited poor neighborhoods. Banks are expected, under the Community Reinvestment Act, to help meet the credit needs of low-income neighborhoods in areas they serve. Private equity has no such obligation.
 The idea is that banks should follow an implicit social contract: In return for government loans and other support, they are expected to serve a community’s needs. Private equity, which unlike the banks does not borrow money from the government, is answerable to its investors. Those investors include some of the nation’s largest pension plans, whose members — teachers and police officers among them — may support improvements to such lower-income areas.
 Times found, private equity has focused on buying newer homes in middle-income areas like the suburbs of Tampa, Fla. They have largely avoided more urban communities with older homes, because doing so would be less lucrative for their investors.
 “There has been a missed opportunity here,” said Dan Immergluck, a professor of city and regional planning at the Georgia Tech College of Design, who has studied the effect of the financial crisis on housing. “They are pushing the market up at the top end and neglecting the bottom end.”
 Government officials are also concerned that private equity’s mortgage firms face less scrutiny than banks. While banks are examined by regulators for financial soundness, no similar testing occurs for private equity’s companies.

‘Be aware of context, and maybe start using Google AdWords’

Danny Page:

They note that searches about the EU tripled. But how many people is that? Are they voters? Are they eligible to vote? Were they Leave or Remain? Trends doesn’t tell us, all it does is give us a nice graph with a huge peak. More likely, it’s a very small number of people, based on this graph that puts it in context with other searches in the region:

Dispelling the myth that “business leaders don’t need to be technical”

Andrea Coravos:

We expect our executives to have a strong understanding of the financial performance of their companies. Shareholders would find it strange – or more likely, unacceptable – if a CEO said, “I’m not financially-inclined” and passed along financial performance inquires to his or her CFO. Similarly, CEOs in an increasingly digital world will struggle to say, “I’m not technical” and hand over mission-critical business questions for the engineers to answer.
 Would you, as an employer, hire an MBA who graduated from a program that taught strategy, marketing, leadership, and operations — but did not teach finance or accounting? An MBA program that lacks a computer science curriculum is like a program that lacks finance or accounting.

Who owns the news consumer: Social media platforms or publishers?

Emily Bell:

The relationship between news organizations and platform companies has become far closer far more quickly than anyone predicted. The increasing influence of a handful of West Coast companies is shaping every aspect of news production, distribution, and monetization.
 In the past 18 months, companies including Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google have moved from having an arm’s length relationship with journalism to being dominant forces in the news ecosystem. By encouraging news publishers to post directly onto new channels, such as Facebook Instant Articles and Snapchat Discover, tech companies are now actively involved in every aspect of journalism.

“location-related searches are growing 50% faster than all mobile searches”

Linda Kinstler:

Of all Google searches, says McClendon, approximately 30% are local in nature, and 10% are maps- related. These days, the company reports, location-related searches are growing 50% faster than all mobile searches. In 2013, a report commissioned by Google estimated that the value of Geo services is between $150 to $270 billion in revenue annually—in addition to 1.1 billion hours saved per year by keeping people from getting lost or “avoiding wasted journey time.”

Toyota to build artificial intelligence-based driving systems in five years

Google’s stock slid today and it might be because of this report on a search ad decline

Volkswagen to Boost Electric Vehicles, Pursue Self-Driving Cars

William Boston:

Shortly after he took command, Mr. Müller hired an Apple Inc. executive, Johann Jungwirth, as the company’s new Chief Digital Officer. Mr. Jungwirth is building a team that will have about 100 members tasked with redesigning the interior of the car to improve the passenger experience in an age of digital services and self-driving cars.

All LinkedIn with Nowhere to Go

Ann Friedman:

Of course it has. If you click over to Kerpen’s all-time most commented post, you see yet another listicle culled from the chapter headings of his book Likeable Business. There’s this comically self-deconstructing morsel from Oprah Winfrey, for instance: “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” Or perhaps you’d prefer something more aggressive and imperial in the way of business advice, such as this Navy SEAL mantra: “Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” Not quite spiritual enough? All right, how about G. K. Chesterton, reminding you that “gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder”?

Spotting bots in Google Analytics

Insights & Metrics:

92% of my traffic was bots. Historically, I used to create a segment where in I would exclude all bot traffic with the referral data, but it was a tedious task. More importantly, you can’t trust “google/organic” too. You will see bot traffic coming from “google/organic” but with spammy keywords, here is an example

New Energy Outlook 2016


Cheaper coal and cheaper gas will not derail the transformation and decarbonisation of the world’s power systems. From today until 2040, $11.4tn will be invested in power generation. Of that, $2.1tn will be spent on fossil fuels. But an astonishing $7.8tn will be invested in renewable energy.

The Great Facebook “Boost”: How Click Farms Make Facebook’s Paid Promotion a Scam

Grey Squall:

After about three weeks worth of advertising on Facebook, which included reviewing and applying Facebook’s Blueprint guide, as well as multiple email correspondences and an actual conversation with a Facebook advertising specialist on how best to improve my targeting, I’ve come to the conclusion that 1) click/like farms help Facebook siphon money away from unsuspecting Facebook page owners who are lured into pressing one of Facebook’s “Boost Today” or “Promote your Page” buttons thinking that they can easily promote their page or post to their target audience, but instead have their ad money misappropriated towards ad placements on fake or garbage accounts that won’t yield any further action or engagement, and 2) Facebook doesn’t want to do anything about it.

McDonald’s: you can sneer, but it’s the glue that holds communities together

Chris Arnade:

the morning of their wedding, Omar and Betty shared a breakfast of egg McMuffins at a small McDonald’s table, dressed in their finest clothes. Before driving to a Houston courthouse to be married, they walked into the attached child’s play area and joked about one day bringing their kids there.
 Few understand celebrating at a McDonald’s, but for Omar and Betty it made sense. They don’t have a lot of money, and McDonald’s is part of their life. It is that way in many poor and middle-income neighborhoods, where McDonald’s have become de-facto community centers and reflections of the surrounding neighborhood.
 When many lower-income Americans are feeling isolated by the deadening uniformity of things, by the emptiness of many jobs, by the media, they still yearn for physical social networks. They are not doing this by going to government-run community service centers. They are not always doing this by utilizing the endless array of well-intentioned not-for-profit outreach programs. They are doing this on their own, organically across the country, in McDonald’s.

The era of big infrastructure is over

David Levinson:

There are new systems emerging. The internet and wireless telecommunications are pretty important. Combine these with transport and we can construct an on-call ride-hailing system that has updated the traditional taxis. This may eventually become substantial with Autonomous Vehicles. But this latter element is not a conventional physical infrastructure investment (not much of one, some servers, some software), rather it redeploys existing (and soon new) vehicles in a useful way.
 The new information-enabled systems that ride on-top of the classic physical layers are the products of Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists, not great Civil Engineering works. We can imagine some things that might become useful. For instance we can think of space civil engineering, things like Space Elevators and Dyson Spheres. But these are not on the near horizon.
 Unless we can find an infrastructure that increases connectivity massively the way the railroad and the interstate did (doubling speeds, e.g.), there is no point in spending resources for that given the increasingly high costs and diminishing returns that civil infrastructure faces. We have enough trouble maintaining what we have with its proven connectivity (or lack thereof), the value of future infrastructure systems is speculative at best.

71% of internet usage now happens on mobile but TV still dominates global media consumption

John McCarthy:

Mobile internet consumption will rise by more than a quarter in 2016 across the globe, according to a new study.
 Zenith’s Media Consumption Forecasts reports [PDF] that desktop web consumption continues to fall mobile established itself as the dominant platform in 2015.
 A total 71 per cent of internet consumption occurred on mobile, with Asia Pacific the most mobile friendly at 73 per cent followed by the US at 72 per cent.

A few months ago, I complained about the insane state of today’s advertising …

Artem Russakovskii:

performance, leech bandwidth by 10s of megabytes, and are served by major ad networks, including Google’s own AdX and AdSense.
 Today, these VPAID ads are as popular as ever – and that is just disgusting. They’re the real cancer of the advertising industry.
 To showcase just how evil they still are, I took a single AdX ad tag and put it on an otherwise empty page. A static image ad loads, but it’s secretly a VPAID one. It then randomly switches to a video, then back to a static image, then back again – it’s like a never-ending self-reloading cascade of garbage.

We’ve Hit Peak Human and an Algorithm Wants Your Job. Now What

Hugh Son:

Consider venerable State Street, a 224-year-old custody bank that predates the steam locomotive and caters to institutional investors such as pensions and mutual funds. In February, State Street executives told analysts that after spending five years upgrading technology systems, they realized how much more could be done. “We have 20,000 manual interventions on trades every day,” said Michael Rogers, president of the Boston bank. “There’s a huge opportunity to digitize that and move it forward electronically.”
But one person’s opportunity is another person’s exit package. State Street had 32,356 people on the payroll last year. About one of every five will be automated out of a job by 2020, according to Rogers. What the bank is doing presages broader changes about to sweep across the industry. A report in March by Citigroup, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank, said that more than 1.8 million U.S. and European bank workers could lose their jobs within 10 years.

Why even driving through suburbia is soul crushing

Alax Balashov:

I’ve written some in the past about how the predominant suburban design in the US is among the worst features of life here—viewed from the perspective of a European immigrant like me, at any rate.
 Far from posing a mere logistical or aesthetic problem, it shapes–or perhaps more accurately, it circumscribes–our experience of life and our social relationships in insidious ways. The destruction of the pedestrian public realm is not merely an economic or ecological absurdity; it has real deleterious effects. For just one small example of many: life in a subdivision cul-de-sac keeps children from exploring and becoming conversant with the wider world around them, because it tethers their social lives and activities to their busy parents’ willingness to drive them somewhere. There’s literally nowhere for them to go. The spontaneity of childhood in the courtyard, on the street, or in the square gives way to the managed, curated, prearranged “play-date.” Small wonder that kids retreat within the four walls of their house and lead increasingly electronic lives. (The virtues of a private backyard are easily exaggerated; it’s vacuous and isolated, and kids quickly outgrow it.)

Newspapers and department stores once thrived together. Now? …

Ken Doctor

Macy’s has recently slashed its “run of press” newspaper advertising by about 50%, I’ve learned in numerous interviews with publishers. In total, the newly lost newspaper revenue this year will exceed $100 million.

Asked to comment on the budgeting changes, Macy’s hasn’t yet responded. But challenges in the department-store business, as well as the dilution of value to clients in print advertising, are surely the twin factors driving this decision.

The Macy’s cut, in turn, helps explain the deepening print ad losses recently reported by public newspaper companies in the first quarter. For that quarter, publishers reported double-digit year-over-year declines in print advertising. McClatchy reported a 14.7% drop in the first quarter, Tribune (pre-tronc) 12.4% and even the New York Times, its nose seeming a bit above the storm, came in at 9% below last year.

How much money are we talking about?

In a large metro market, Macy’s ROP – or run of press, the ads running with the newspaper pages – would generate $1 million to $1.5 million in ad revenue a year. Now, with that number cut 40-60%, depending on the market, a publisher would see a drop of as much as $900,000. Figure that’s the equivalent of at least 10 newsroom jobs. In fact, at some companies, these cutbacks will mean a fairly commensurate cut in newsroom jobs, unless digital ad growth can offset the print losses.

UK startup offers landlords continuous, deep surveillance of tenants’ social media

Cory Doctorow:

Here’s Source Assured’s pitch: landlords, if you write a requirement for tenants (and prospective tenants) to let us access their social media accounts into your lease/application process, we’ll scrape all that data, use an unaccountable system to analyze it, and produce libelous, life-destroying dossiers on them that you can use to discriminate against people who seek shelter, the most fundamental human need after sustenance.
 And this is the UK, where 40% of the national wealth is in the form of property in the southeast, where whole neighborhoods are being razed and replaced with high-rise safe-deposit boxes in the sky for offshore millionaires, where defined-benefits pensions are a laughable memory of the distant past, where the entire country is leveraged to the eyeballs to afford shelter, and where, consequently, even the tiniest, eensiest bobble in the value of property threatens the entire nation.

21 ways to make your site look professional and super attractive

Pierre Bastille:

we are visual creatures. Like it or not, people will react instantly to your website based on how it looks. In fact, a study revealed that it takes people just 0.05 seconds to decide whether they like your site.
 It means that even with the best content in the world, people won’t read your work if the design of your website sucks. You could have the most amazing product/service – something that would help your target audience enormously – and nobody will buy it if your site doesn’t look good.
 It’s that simple.
 Good web design has become more important than ever. Thousands of new websites are created every day, and the amount of content available on the Internet could crush us! Web design is one of the most effective ways to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.

Android Social Media Usage Declining

Pavel Tuchinsky

Across the board, people are spending less time on their Social Media apps. In a study conducted using SimilarWeb data on Android apps, we compared app data from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016, and found that in almost all countries, time spent on the 4 leading Social Media apps is down. On Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, Android users seem to be cutting down on their Social Media app usage time.

In very few cases, such as Facebook’s usage in Spain did time spent within an app rise. In some cases, the drop was minimal, with Snapchat usage in Brazil dropping from 11.23 minutes to 11.10 minutes. However, in other cases, the drop was more substantial, such as time spent on Twitter in France. Over Q1 2015, the average in France was 19.80 minutes and in Q1 2016, that number dropped to 13.12, a drop of 34%.

Why Housing is About to Eat the US Economy


-Capital will flow increasingly towards the housing sector, starving other sectors of capital. If construction can’t achieve productivity gains then labor shortages in other sectors (agriculture, manufacturing, entry level services/fast food) will mean more and more incentives to automate labor-intensive tasks to free up those workers to work in construction.
 “Software eating the world” implied that digital upstarts were going to create low cost solutions to take demand away from older, high cost analog firms. Amazon eating big box stores, Facebook eating print and TV. Demand was going to shift. “Housing eating the US economy” implies that housing is going to steal your inputs. They’re coming for your workers and capital on the supply side. It’s a different dynamic but a similar outcome – housing is poised to reassert itself as the main driver of the US economy.

Kevin Kelly on Soft Singularity and Inevitable Tech Advances


industry, which right now is the fundamental engine for most of the internet wealth and all the businesses from Google to Facebook. Their billions are coming basically from advertising. I think it’s going to be very ripe for destruction because, in a curious way when we have this abundance of materials, commodity, everything, just super abundance, that the only scarcity we have is human attention, which is limited.

Bait and Switch: The Failure of Facebook Advertising — An OSINT Investigation


Clearly someone has figured out how to game the Facebook system in order to run ads that look like they lead one place ( and ultimately lead to somewhere vastly different. Not only that but they are repeatedly using trademarked names, terms, and false information to sell product. This violates a number of Facebook advertising policies. My guess is that you sign up for the “Free Trial” and you are going to get dinged once a month for life. Or worse.

The TV industry will unravel faster than you think.

Alex Tausig:

I appeared on Cheddar TV a few weeks ago to talk about venture capital, virtual reality, and a few other topics with Jon Steinberg and his team. Cheddar is building an internet-native news network: it broadcasts live on Facebook via its new Live product, and then archives footage on social platforms like Medium. It seeks to reinvent financials news for the millennial generation.
 I took a few moments after the broadcast to wander around the NYSE floor, peeking into booths of Fox News, Squawk Box, and their brethren. The experience got me thinking about the future of the TV industry, and how much of it would look more like Cheddar in a few years.

As Facebook Focuses on Video, Engagement for Top Publishers Declines

Matthew Ingram:

Over the past year, Facebook has set its sights on becoming a platform for video — in particular live video, something it has been paying a number of media companies to produce, in order to promote its streaming feature. But the flip side of that increase is that non-video content produced by some of the leading publishers is getting less and less interaction.

Google Maps is about to get a lot more ads

Katherine Boehret:

Get a good look at Google Maps now, because it may soon start filling up with lots of company logos. In a blog post today, Google says it will start experimenting with showing logos for physical business locations on Google Maps, both in your desktop browser and on the mobile app.
 These are what Google calls “promoted pins,” or companies that paid to appear in your map. Logos could appear as you look at a map, or could show up in your driving route. For example, the logo for Walgreens might appear as you follow on-screen directions from your office to a meeting. The business page, which appears at the bottom of the screen when you tap on a logo, could display coupons for items at that store or let you browse the store’s inventory.

The U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls Again, Nearing a 48-Year Low

Laura Kusisto:

The homeownership rate fell slightly in the first quarter of 2016, dashing hopes that it had finally hit a bottom.
 In the first three months of this year, the rate was at 63.5%, not seasonally adjusted. That is down from 63.8% in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to estimates published on Thursday by the Commerce Department. That puts it back near its 48-year low of 63.4% in the second quarter of 2015.
 At the end of last year, economists had said the homeownership rate appeared to have stabilized and might begin to tick upward after falling for years following the housing crisis. When adjusting for seasonality, the homeownership rate in the first quarter also fell slightly to 63.6% from 63.7% in the fourth quarter of last year.