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:

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.

Foundation for the Future

Completely re-written, our 6th generation apps and cloud system, introduced last fall, are the groundwork for your recruiting and retention future.

Working together, we can provide the best experiences for agents, clients, managers, staff and affiliates.

1. Speed wins.

2. Integration. Clients and agents share information in real time across apps and websites. Contacts, listings, leads, CMA’s, trends and statistics, documents, activities and showings.

3. Simple. One tap delivers useful information for agents, buyers, sellers and homeowners.

4. Voice. Spoken inquiries are growing rapidly (1). Our new apps include the ability to use voice to search and complete forms. Fast for today and ready for tomorrow’s opportunities.

[1] Ben Thompson on the strategic and tactical implications of Google’s recent voice announcements:

The problem is that as much as Google may be ahead, the company is also on the clock: every interaction with Siri, every signal sent to Facebook, every command answered by Alexa, is one that is not only not captured by Google but also one that is captured by its competitors. Yes, it is likely Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are all behind Google when it comes to machine learning and artificial intelligence — hugely so, in many cases — but it is not a fair fight. Google’s competitors, by virtue of owning the customer, need only be good enough, and they will get better. Google has a far higher bar to clear — it is asking users and in some cases their networks to not only change their behavior but willingly introduce more friction into their lives — and its technology will have to be special indeed to replicate the company’s original success as a business..

Virtual Properties’ app and cloud platform provides the best and longest lasting experience for your organization and clients.


Google: The End of the Advertising Bubble and “This is just the start for the growth of voice search, in my opinion. Before long, I would expect closer to 50% of all searches to be comprised of voice searches” – Matt Southern.

A compelling experience is the surest means to delight customers, engage employees and stand out from competitors” – , Frédéric Debruyne and Andreas Dullweber, Bain & Company.

Silicon Valley Mansions Linger on Market in Real Estate Slowdown

Alison Veshkin:

 A custom-built home in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley had its price cut by $500,000 last week after sitting on the market since the end of March — a move that would’ve been almost unfathomable a year ago and a signal that frenzied demand has peaked.
 The six-bedroom, five-bath house in Palo Alto — located blocks from Stanford University and the homes of Google co-founder Larry Page and Steve Jobs’s widow, Laurene Powell Jobs — is now listed for $7.5 million. It joins a growing inventory of high-end homes in the area that are taking longer to sell.

Messaging Apps Are Eating The World, Here’s What to Do as a Business

Chatkoo Blog:

Back to 2010, the first messaging app that i downloaded was WhatsApp. I love to use it because of its simplicity.
 Since then, many messaging apps raise with their own differentiations, like WeChat, Viber, LINE, Tango, and many more, but for me WhatsApp is like a must-have messaging app i need to install, because almost all of my friends and family are there.

Blockchain Company Wants to Reinvent Companies

Matt Levine:

One of the great joys of our modern age, with its rapid advances in financial technology, is examining the latest innovation to try to figure out what centuries-old idea has been dressed up in cryptographical mystification. Sometimes this is pretty easy. Ethereum, the fascinating blockchain/smart-contract platform, has a pyramid scheme helpfully named “Ethereum Pyramid Contract.” The innovation is calling the pyramid scheme a pyramid scheme. (Also, blockchain!)

The Science of Speaking is the Art of Being Heard

First Round Review:

For years, people have constructed cairns, a human-made stack of stones, as landmarks, monuments or tributes. These days, hikers will add a rock to a cairn as they reach a summit of a mountain or a turning point on a trail. The longer one sits across from Khalid Halim in Reboot’s San Francisco office, the more one realizes his sofa is a modern day cairn. Instead of stones, well-known tech leaders, angels and VCs have dropped their guard there—along with their stories, ambitions and fears. It marks the start of many technologists’ inflection points.

Home Builders Say They Are Squeezed by Rising Compliance Costs

Chris Kirkham:

home builders to comply with regulations for new home construction has increased by nearly 30% over the last five years, according to new research from the National Association of Home Builders.
 Regulatory costs such as local impact fees, storm-water discharge permits and new construction codes, which have risen at roughly the same rate as the average price for new homes, make it increasingly difficult for builders to pursue affordable single-family construction projects, the group argues.

Smartphones Rule the Internet Among the world’s most popular websites, most traffic comes from mobile devices.

Adrienne LaFrance:

Laptops aren’t exactly quaint yet, but we’ve officially reached the point in the mobile revolution when desktop Internet access is waning.
 The trend toward smartphones—and away from desktops—has been underway for the better part of a decade. But in recent years, the shift toward mobile has been particularly pronounced. In 2014, by several measures, total mobile Internet usage outpaced desktop Internet access. In Africa and Asia, people of all ages call smartphones—not laptops—the most important device they use to go online, according to a GlobalWebIndex survey last year. Worldwide, most people under age 34 say the same thing.

Cord cutting update

Jan Dawson:

gather data on a quarterly basis on the major cable, satellite, and telecoms companies in the US and their reported numbers for pay TV subscribers (as well as broadband and voice subscribers). I package this up into a slide deck for subscribers to the Jackdaw Research Quarterly Decks Service, but it’s also available as a one-off standalone purchase. This post analyzes the data on pay TV subscriptions for Q1 2016.
 Cord cutting continues to accelerate
 The headline here is that cord cutting continues to accelerate, a trend we’ve seen now for several quarters. As a reminder, in order to really gauge this trend, you can’t look at quarterly adds, because those are highly cyclical, and you have to look at the full set of players in the market, and not just largest, and certainly not just one type of player, such as cable or satellite companies. I’ll provide some more insight into this later in the post. On that basis, then, the chart below shows the year on year growth numbers for the industry, based on all the major public companies in the US and estimates for Cox and Bright House, two of the larger private companies.



When it comes to technology, sometimes there is a world of difference between wanting something and actually needing something. In the case of smartphones, the devices’ ubiquity in terms of U.S. penetration of 82% and cross-platform functionality definitely put them in the latter category.
 According to Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2015 Comparable Metrics Report, smartphones across all adult demographic groups are the most used platform, in terms of days per week among users of each medium—with adults 18+ using their devices nearly every day in the week (5.8 times per week), followed by television (5.5 times per week). Adult TV viewers watch an average of 5.5 days per week. Tablets are used more often by people ages 35-49 than ages 18-34. Penetration among ages 50 and over is only 19%, but those owners use tablets most often. Smartphone owners within the age range of 35-49 use their phones most often. (This includes app and web usage, not talk, text or email).

Who Pays Influencers

An anonymous crowd-sourced list of which companies/brands pay their artists/influencers and how much. Art by Julian Glander (who was paid)

After analyzing 200 founders’ postmortems, researchers say these are the reasons startups fail

Alice Truong:

It’s a common adage in Silicon Valley that 90% of startups ultimately fail. To understand why that’s the case, a pair of researchers meticulously pored over 193 blog posts—startup postmortems, if you will—written by founders examining what went wrong.
 It was a heartwrenching experience for Kerry Jones, an employees at data-marketing firm Fractl, to be involved in the project. “It’s extremely emotional, and I think it’s really obvious how much of their lives most people sink into their companies,” she says. (Here’s one sample from Zirtual founder Maren Kate: “I cry for all the employees we hurt. I cry for all the clients we infuriated. And I cry for the investors we let down.”)
 There are, of course, limitations to this data set. For starters, there are fewer than 200 posts in it, and they all were written by founders willing to share their stories—or the portions of their stories that they were willing to reveal, anyway. “There isn’t some outside entity that went in and evaluated this company,” Jones notes. “That’s something important to keep in mind.”

News Goes Mobile: How People Use Smartphones to Access Information

Nielsen and Knight foundation :

 This report is based on a research study conducted with Nielsen and commissioned by Knight Foundation to explore how people use mobile platforms for news.

Nine trends in US media consumption: in charts

Damien Radcliffe:

1. Mobile is driving digital media growth
 Desktop audiences are still significant for media publishers; but smartphones are the platform to watch. Between 2013-15 viewing of content on these devices grew by 78%, compared to 30% for tablets.
 Nonetheless, although audiences are viewing less content via their desktop, viewing (in terms of total minutes) via this platform is still more than three times that of total tablet viewing.
 Tablet use – like smartphones – is growing, but the resilience of the desktop audience should not be overlooked. It’s still a significant market.

3 charts that show the very different news audiences for mobile web and apps

Jeff Sonderman:

So, asking whether all publishers should do an app or just a mobile website is the wrong question. Each publisher must match the opportunities of the two platforms to the type of audience you intend to reach and that your business model can monetize.

Sales Slump In Malls Leaves Retail Executives “Scratching Our Heads”

Sapna Maheshwari:

Ask the executives at Macy’s and Gap to explain their brutal sales declines so far this year, and they’ll likely give you some version of the following answer: Americans just aren’t spending on clothes the way they used to.
 That’s true. But it’s not the whole truth.
 On Wednesday Macy’s reported a 6.1% sales decline for the first quarter of 2016, with CEO Terry Lundgren citing “continued weakness in consumer spending levels for apparel and related categories.” But not all apparel suffered — the company did see success when it came to the discounted stuff.
 Its finance chief noted today that two rare bright spots for Macy’s were Last Act, its new “centralized clearance areas” within stores, as well as the new Macy’s Backstage chain, which is an outlet store that competes with T.J. Maxx and Nordstrom Rack.

Advertising Eats the World

Bob Hoffman:

The squalid corruption of media is not just limited to product placements and “native advertising” (gag me) in TV, movies, print, and online. It has now infected the news.
 “We believe branded content and native solutions is a large-scale opportunity for Time Inc.,” Joseph A. Ripp, chief executive of Time Inc.,
 “Branded content” and “native solutions” are just fancy-ass bullshit for advertising disguised as editorial. (And just a word, Mr. Ripp, “branded content and native solutions” are two different things and require a plural verb. But I guess we can’t expect much from the chief executive of a major publication these days.)

Bing Says 25% of All Searches are Voice Searches

Search Engine Journal:

This is notable, but no doubt amplified by the fact that three of the world’s top voice assistants are powered by Bing. Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa all rely on Bing for their voice search queries. This is something that has to be put into perspective when reading this news.
 Google has not revealed how many of its searches are voice searches, but the search giant is clearly invested in the future of voice search. Just take this recent example of Google’s AI reading romance novels in an attempt be able to recognize conversational speech in voice searches