Create Listings

Homeowners often keep track of nearby home value activity. Create useful connections and become their trusted advisor in a few steps.

1. Connect your contacts

2. Create searches that include market statistics

3. Share the searches with your contacts

4. Call them quarterly and discuss the market.

5. Annual listing presentation.

Your digital and personal connections are now top of mind.


Saved searches assist with their next residence.

Be first.

From Zillow’s 2017 10-K:

Consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices and the internet to access real estate information. With the widespread adoption of mobile and location-based technologies, consumers increasingly expect home-related information to be available on their mobile devices where, when and how they want it. According to comScore data published in December 2017, Zillow Group brands represent nearly three quarters of market share of all mobile exclusive visitors to the real estate category. More than two-thirds of our flagship brand Zillow’s usage occurs on a mobile device; on weekends it’s more than 75%. We believe that the technological platform shift from desktop computers to mobile devices benefits technology leaders like Zillow Group that are quick to innovate. In 2017, we unveiled a new, first-of-its-kind, mobile app that allows homeowners and real estate professionals to capture 3D tours of their homes from their iPhones ® and post on for-sale and for-rent listings.

We refer to the database as “living” because the information is continually updated by the combination of our proprietary algorithms, synthesis of third-party data from hundreds of sources, and through improvements by us and, importantly, by our community of users. User-generated content from owners, agents and others enriches our database with photos, videos, and additional property information. Individuals and businesses that use Zillow’s mobile applications and websites have updated information on more than 75 million homes in our database, creating exclusive home profiles not available anywhere else. Our inimitable database enables us to create content, products and services not available anywhere else, and attracts an active, vibrant community of users. As of December 31, 2017, we had published more than 3.5 million reviews, including more than 3.0 million reviews of local real estate agents and approximately 495,000 reviews of mortgage professionals submitted by our users on Zillow.

Mobile Leadership and Monetization. Shopping for a home is a far more meaningful consumer experience when it occurs curbside, untethered and on location, so we have developed and operate the most popular suite of mobile real estate applications across all major platforms. For example, on our flagship Zillow brand, during December 2017, nearly 630 million homes, or 234 homes per second, were viewed on a mobile device. More than two-thirds of our flagship brand Zillow’s usage occurs on a mobile device; on weekends it’s more than 75%. We operate one of the most popular suites of mobile real estate applications with more than fifty applications across all major mobile platforms. In 2017, we unveiled a new, first-of-its-kind, mobile app that allows homeowners and real estate professionals to capture 3D tours of their homes from their iPhones ® and post on for-sale and for-rent listings. We monetize our marketplace business on our mobile platform in the same way we do on our web platform.

Enhance Our Living Database of Homes. Enhance the information in our database of more than 110 million homes, and use it as the foundation for new analyses, insights and tools to inform consumers throughout the home ownership lifecycle. Our living database of homes provides a foundation on which we can build new consumer and professional marketplaces in other home-related categories.

Mobile Access

We operate one of the most popular suites of mobile real estate applications with more than fifty applications across all major mobile platforms. Our mobile real estate applications provide consumers and real estate, rental and mortgage professionals with location-based access to many of our products and services, including Zestimates, Rent Zestimates, for sale and rental listings and extensive home-related data. Through our mobile applications, for example, a consumer can learn about the home’s for-sale price, Zestimate, number of bedrooms, square footage and past sales, as well as similar information about surrounding homes. The consumer can call a real estate professional through our mobile applications to get more information or schedule a showing. For example, on our flagship Zillow brand, during December 2017, nearly 630 million homes were viewed on a mobile device, which equates to 234 homes per second.

Palantir Knows Everything About You Peter Thiel’s data-mining company is using War on Terror tools to track American citizens. The scary thing? Palantir is desperate for new customers.

Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson:

It all ended when the bank’s senior executives learned that they, too, were being watched, and what began as a promising marriage of masters of big data and global finance descended into a spying scandal. The misadventure, which has never been reported, also marked an ominous turn for Palantir, one of the most richly valued startups in Silicon Valley. An intelligence platform designed for the global War on Terror was weaponized against ordinary Americans at home.

Founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel and some fellow PayPal alumni, Palantir cut its teeth working for the Pentagon and the CIA in Afghanistan and Iraq. The company’s engineers and products don’t do any spying themselves; they’re more like a spy’s brain, collecting and analyzing information that’s fed in from the hands, eyes, nose, and ears. The software combs through disparate data sources—financial documents, airline reservations, cellphone records, social media postings—and searches for connections that human analysts might miss. It then presents the linkages in colorful, easy-to-interpret graphics that look like spider webs. U.S. spies and special forces loved it immediately; they deployed Palantir to synthesize and sort the blizzard of battlefield intelligence. It helped planners avoid roadside bombs, track insurgents for assassination, even hunt down Osama bin Laden. The military success led to federal contracts on the civilian side. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses Palantir to detect Medicare fraud. The FBI uses it in criminal probes. The Department of Homeland Security deploys it to screen air travelers and keep tabs on immigrants.

Police and sheriff’s departments in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles have also used it, frequently ensnaring in the digital dragnet people who aren’t suspected of committing any crime. People and objects pop up on the Palantir screen inside boxes connected to other boxes by radiating lines labeled with the relationship: “Colleague of,” “Lives with,” “Operator of [cell number],” “Owner of [vehicle],” “Sibling of,” even “Lover of.” If the authorities have a picture, the rest is easy. Tapping databases of driver’s license and ID photos, law enforcement agencies can now identify more than half the population of U.S. adults.

JPMorgan was effectively Palantir’s R&D lab and test bed for a foray into the financial sector, via a product called Metropolis. The two companies made an odd couple. Palantir’s software engineers showed up at the bank on skateboards. Neckties and haircuts were too much to ask, but JPMorgan drew the line at T-shirts. The programmers had to agree to wear shirts with collars, tucked in when possible.

Style Is an Algorithm No one is original anymore, not even you.

Kyle Chayka:

The camera is a small, white, curvilinear monolith on a pedestal. Inside its smooth casing are a microphone, a speaker, and an eye-like lens. After I set it up on a shelf, it tells me to look straight at it and to be sure to smile! The light blinks and then the camera flashes. A head-to-toe picture appears on my phone of a view I’m only used to seeing in large mirrors: me, standing awkwardly in my apartment, wearing a very average weekday outfit. The background is blurred like evidence from a crime scene. It is not a flattering image.
 Amazon’s Echo Look, currently available by invitation only but also on eBay, allows you to take hands-free selfies and evaluate your fashion choices. “Now Alexa helps you look your best,” the product description promises. Stand in front of the camera, take photos of two different outfits with the Echo Look, and then select the best ones on your phone’s Echo Look app. Within about a minute, Alexa will tell you which set of clothes looks better, processed by style-analyzing algorithms and some assistance from humans. So I try to find my most stylish outfit, swapping out shirts and pants and then posing stiffly for the camera. I shout, “Alexa, judge me!” but apparently that’s unnecessary.
 What I discover from the Style Check™ function is as follows: All-black is better than all-gray. Rolled-up sleeves are better than buttoned at the wrist. Blue jeans are best. Popping your collar is actually good. Each outfit in the comparison receives a percentage out of 100: black clothes score 73 percent against gray clothes at 27 percent, for example. But the explanations given for the scores are indecipherable. “The way you styled those pieces looks better,” the app tells me. “Sizing is better.” How did I style them? Should they be bigger or smaller?

Google Tests Search Ads That Blend into Organic & Can Be Closed Out

Barry Schwartz:

Antony Jackson posted a screen shot on Google+ of a new user interface where the search ads and organic search listings kind of blend together. There is this little “Ads X” at the top right of the search results, that looks faded. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between where the ads end and the first organic listing.

The only reason one can tell is that the ads look completely irrelevant. Which makes me wonder if the browser has some malware on it and that this is really not an official Google test?

However, I am told when you click on the “Ads X” at the top right, the ads collapse and go away. Which is an interesting thing to do.

Google’s Plan to Fix Email Is Deeply Flawed

Vijith Assar:

On February 13, Google announced AMP for Email, an attempt to introduce some of the elements of its Accelerated Mobile Pages specification into email, putting the company’s high-performance web publishing system right inside the messages. Gmail will be the first email client to support these new features, which will give senders a way to deliver complex layouts and templates, interactive user actions, and dynamically updated content. That first implementation isn’t even ready yet, and yet already this is looking like a catastrophe. It should not be possible to design dramatic changes to our most widespread communication medium in secret and then deliver them in a surprise announcement! That completely misses the point of communicating.

AMP is a high-performance subset of established web technologies like JavaScript and HTML intended for mobile-first publishing. It was introduced by Google in 2015 as a somewhat more open competitor to Facebook’s embedded “Instant Articles” format; whereas Facebook renders third-party links right inside Facebook, Google created a zippy new quasi-standardized format for the rest of the web — and then took the additional aggressive step of serving them from URLs and promoting AMP-formatted content in its search results. It has been met with suspicion, most famously by the the Register, which called it “bad in a potentially web-destroying way.” But it is certainly fast!

Hard Questions: What Data Does Facebook Collect When I’m Not Using Facebook, and Why?

David Baser:

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Congress. He answered more than 500 questions and promised that we would get back on the 40 or so questions he couldn’t answer at the time. We’re following up with Congress on these directly but we also wanted to take the opportunity to explain more about the information we get from other websites and apps, how we use the data they send to us, and the controls you have. I lead a team focused on privacy and data use, including GDPR compliance and the tools people can use to control and download their information.
 When does Facebook get data about people from other websites and apps?
 Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant. These services include:
 Social plugins, such as our Like and Share buttons, which make other sites more social and help you share content on Facebook;
 Facebook Login, which lets you use your Facebook account to log into another website or app;
 Facebook Analytics, which helps websites and apps better understand how people use their services; and
 Facebook ads and measurement tools, which enable websites and apps to show ads from Facebook advertisers, to run their own ads on Facebook or elsewhere, and to understand the effectiveness of their ads.
 When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook.

Why digital strategies fail

Jacques Bughin, Tanguy Catlin, Martin Hirt, and Paul Willmott:

Most digital strategies don’t reflect how digital is changing economic fundamentals, industry dynamics, or what it means to compete. Companies should watch out for five pitfalls.

The processing power of today’s smartphones are several thousand times greater than that of the computers that landed a man on the moon in 1969. These devices connect the majority of the human population, and they’re only ten years old.1

In that short period, smartphones have become intertwined with our lives in countless ways. Few of us get around without the help of ridesharing and navigation apps such as Lyft and Waze. On vacation, novel marine-transport apps enable us to hitch a ride from local boat owners to reach an island. While we’re away, we can also read our email, connect with friends back home, check to make sure we turned the heat down, make some changes to our investment portfolio, and buy travel insurance for the return trip. Maybe we’ll browse the Internet for personalized movie recommendations or for help choosing a birthday gift that we forgot to buy before leaving. We also can create and continually update a vacation photo gallery—and even make a few old-fashioned phone calls.

Digital rewards first movers and some superfast followers

In the past, when companies witnessed rising levels of uncertainty and volatility in their industry, a perfectly rational strategic response was to observe for a little while, letting others incur the costs of experimentation and then moving as the dust settled. Such an approach represented a bet on the company’s ability to “outexecute” competitors. In digital scrums, though, it is first movers and very fast followers that gain a huge advantage over their competitors. We found that the three-year revenue growth (of over 12 percent) for the fleetest was nearly twice that of companies playing it safe with average reactions to digital competition. Our research confirms this.

Incumbents moving boldly command a 20 percent share, on average, of digitizing markets. That compares with only 5 percent for digital natives on the prowl. Using another measure, we found that revved-up incumbents create as much risk to the revenues of traditional players as digital attackers do. And it’s often incumbents’ moves that push an industry to the tipping point. That’s when the ranks of slow movers get exposed to life-threatening competition.

Retail’s New Fork In The Road: Understanding Buying Versus Shopping

Steve Dennis:

More recently, platform businesses like Alibaba and Amazon have made the buying process far more efficient in many categories, leading to major market share gains and the demise (or teetering on the brink) of many brands that could not keep pace. But let’s be clear: Amazon is not “the everything store.” It is, however, quickly becoming the anything you want to ‘buy’ store. Absent a far greater brick & mortar presence, Amazon will continue to struggle in its quest to dominate shopping.
 Innovation and growth in ‘buying’ has occurred outside of the purely digital world. Brands such as Aldi, Lidl, Dollar General, Ross, TJX and others have re-worked and expanded their business model by delivering ever greater ‘buying’ value. If there is a retail apocalypse someone needs to tell these brands, as they will collectively add thousands of new stores this year alone.
 The same is true in the ‘shopping’ world. Sephora, Ulta, Apple and many others that continue to offer a remarkable shopping experience are growing both online and offline. Moreover, many high profile pure-play e-commerce players have basically started to run out of customers that would approach their brands in ‘buying’ mode and thus they needed to go seek out ‘shoppers’ with brick & mortar locations In fact, several once stated that they would never open stores. This is because they didn’t understand how the buying vs. shopping dynamic would inevitably play out over time. It now turns out that Warby Parker, Peloton and Bonobos are seeing the majority of their incremental growth come from their physical locations.

Zillow surprises investors by buying up homes

Katie Roof:

This is a marked business change for the website, which is mainly a hub of information about real estate properties. Buying up homes will provide added costs and risks, so some investors didn’t like it.

Yet Zillow says it has been testing out this program for about a year and that it is optimistic about its future success.

In an interview with CNBC, CEO Spencer Rascoff said, “we’re ready to be an investor in our own marketplace.” He believes Zillow has “huge advantages because we have access to this huge audience of sellers and huge audience of buyers.”

Rascoff acknowledged that Zillow will be taking on debt to execute on its new mission.

Unethical growth hacks: A look into the growing Youtube news bot epidemic


In fact, the opposite is happening. Because these are video format, they often get preferred treatment in Google’s search results, as it helps their search results seem more diverse when including video, images, and other non-link content.
 So in a time when countless news publications and blogs are barely scraping by, they now also have this growing obstacle deal with.
 And if you think it’s tough now, just wait a few more years before it gets out of hand as AI inevitably becomes smarter, faster, and more efficient.
 Thanks for reading.

Zillow Launches Home-Flipping Program in Phoenix and Las Vegas

Patricia Clark:

Unlike traditional home-flippers who bet they can make money on home appreciation, Zillow plans to profit by charging sellers a fee in addition to agent commissions. Wacksman said most owners who use Instant Offers wind up selling their homes the old-fashioned way, but that people like to have choices.

“What drove us here is the seller demand,” he said.

Zillow joins a field of companies using tech platforms to make fast decisions to buy homes. Opendoor and OfferPad have similar business models. To run its new operation, Zillow hired Arik Prawer, a former executive at single-family landlords Colony Starwood Homes and Invitation Homes.

Berlin tops the world as city with the fastest rising property prices

Patrick Collinson:

Berlin has emerged as the frothiest property market in the world, with the city engulfed by expensive highrise developments and speculative buying that threatens its traditionally low rents and hip arts scene.
 Prices in Berlin jumped by 20.5% in 2017, according to the property consultancy Knight Frank, with other German cities also displacing cities in China in terms of rising prices.
 Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt were ranked in the top 10 in the world for price rises, with several Dutch cities not far behind.
 London was ranked 101st, with a 2% gain, while Auckland in New Zealand, once gripped by a property frenzy, dropped to 99th with a 2.2% increase.
 But attempts by the authorities in Vancouver to quell its soaring prices – including a 15% foreign buyer tax – appear to have stalled, with prices in the Canadian city jumping by 16% in 2017, the fourth fastest in the world.

How Will Automation Affect Different U.S. Cities?

Morgan Frank, Manuel Cebrian, Hyejin Youn, Lijun Sun and Iyad Rahwan:

In new research, Youn and colleagues seek to understand how machines will disrupt the economies of individual cities. By carefully analyzing the workforces of American metropolitan areas, the team calculated what portion of jobs in each area is likely to be automated in coming decades.

They found that, in general, small cities will have higher portions of their workforce replaced by machines than large cities. The reason: While cities of all sizes have many easily automated jobs (like card dealers, fisherman, cashiers, and accountants), large cities like Boston also have larger shares of managerial and knowledge professions (like lawyers, scientists, and software developers). Since these jobs require knowledge and skills that cannot easily be taught to a machine, they will offset the total impact of automation. In smaller cities, fewer of those offsetting jobs exist.

Based on this finding, Youn says small cities could see an exodus of workers, as well as exacerbated income inequality, since robots are likely to hollow out the middle class there. And large cities are not entirely immune. Las Vegas, for example, has two million people in its metropolitan area, but its economy relies heavily on an industry whose jobs are likely to be automated.

Empowered America: Why the Age of Disruption May Usher in an Era of Reform

PDF, via Bruce Mehlman:

Reform movements succeed when the methods, motivation & moment converge. We are reaching such a time.

Survey: 82% of U.S. teens have an iPhone. 84% want one.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt:

From a note to clients that landed in my inbox Tuesday:

Apple’s share of smartphone ownership increased for the sixth consecutive Piper Jaffray Taking Stock With Teens survey. Of ~6,000 respondents, 82% have an iPhone, the highest percentage we have seen in our survey (up from 78% in Fall-17). The iPhone may have room to move higher with 84% of teens anticipating their next phone to be an iPhone, also the highest ever recorded in our survey (up from 82% in Fall-17). Android was the runner up with 11%, down from the fall. The Apple Watch was the top smartwatch among teens, garnering 15%, with the Samsung Gear next on the list at 2%. About 20% of teens plan to purchase an Apple Watch in the next six months, up from 17% in the fall. Overall, we view the survey data as a sign that Apple’s place as the dominant device brand among teens remains intact…

App downloads and revenue again broke records in the first quarter of 2018

Sarah Perez:

Global app downloads and consumer spending in apps had yet another record quarter, according to a new report from App Annie, out on Monday. In the first quarter of 2018, iOS and Google Play downloads grew more than 10 percent year-over-year to reach 27.5 billion – the highest figure to date. In addition, consumer spending on iOS and Google Play grew 22 percent year-over-year to reach $18.4 billion – also a record number.

Reputation inflation explains why Uber’s five-star driver ratings system became useless

Alison Griswold:

How did Uber’s ratings become more inflated than grades at Harvard? That’s the topic of a new paper, “Reputation Inflation,” from NYU’s John Horton and Apostolos Filippas, and CEO Joseph Golden. The paper argues that online platforms, especially peer-to-peer ones like Uber and Airbnb, are highly susceptible to ratings inflation because, well, it’s uncomfortable for one person to leave another a bad review.
 The somewhat more technical way to say this is that there’s a “cost” to leaving negative feedback. That cost can take different forms: It might be that the reviewer fears retaliation, or that he feels guilty doing something that might harm the underperforming worker. If this “cost” increases over time—i.e., the fear or guilt associated with leaving a bad review increases—then the platform is likely to experience ratings inflation.
 The paper focuses on an unnamed gig economy platform where people (“employers”) can hire other people (“workers”) to do specific tasks. After a job is completed, employers can leave two different kinds of feedback: “public” feedback that the worker sees, and “private” reviews and ratings that aren’t shown to the worker or other people on the platform. Over the history of the platform, 82% of people have chosen to leave reviews, including a numerical rating on a scale from one to five stars.

Cellular traffic makes up a sixth of all Internet traffic

John Rula, Fabián E. Bustamante and Moritz Steiner:

We find that cellular traffic represents 16.2% of all global traffic in December 2016. We show that the fraction of traffic traversing cellular links varies widely across countries and continents. For example, while only 16.6% of U.S. traffic is cellular, cellular composes 63% of all traffic in Indonesia and 95.9% of all traffic in Ghana.

Why the crypto-backdoor side is morally corrupt

Robert Anderson:

rypto-backdoors for law enforcement is a reasonable position, but the side that argues for it adds things that are either outright lies or morally corrupt. Every year, the amount of digital evidence law enforcement has to solve crimes increases, yet they outrageously lie, claiming they are “going dark”, losing access to evidence. A weirder claim is that those who oppose crypto-backdoors are nonetheless ethically required to make them work. This is morally corrupt.

How Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook targeting model really worked – according to the person who built it

Matthew Hindman:

The researcher whose work is at the center of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data analysis and political advertising uproar has revealed that his method worked much like the one Netflix uses to recommend movies.

In an email to me, Cambridge University scholar Aleksandr Kogan explained how his statistical model processed Facebook data for Cambridge Analytica. The accuracy he claims suggests it works about as well as established voter-targeting methods based on demographics like race, age and gender.

If confirmed, Kogan’s account would mean the digital modeling Cambridge Analytica used was hardly the virtual crystal ball a few have claimed. Yet the numbers Kogan provides also show what is – and isn’t – actually possible by combining personal data with machine learning for political ends.

Regarding one key public concern, though, Kogan’s numbers suggest that information on users’ personalities or “psychographics” was just a modest part of how the model targeted citizens. It was not a personality model strictly speaking, but rather one that boiled down demographics, social influences, personality and everything else into a big correlated lump. This soak-up-all-the-correlation-and-call-it-personality approach seems to have created a valuable campaign tool, even if the product being sold wasn’t quite as it was billed.

This is how Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook targeting model really worked — according to the person who built it

Matthew Hindman:

The researcher whose work is at the center of the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data analysis and political advertising uproar has revealed that his method worked much like the one Netflix uses to recommend movies.

In an email to me, Cambridge University scholar Aleksandr Kogan explained how his statistical model processed Facebook data for Cambridge Analytica. The accuracy he claims suggests it works about as well as established voter-targeting methods based on demographics like race, age, and gender.

If confirmed, Kogan’s account would mean the digital modeling Cambridge Analytica used was hardly the virtual crystal ball a few have claimed. Yet the numbers Kogan provides also show what is — and isn’t — actually possible by combining personal data with machine learning for political ends.

More Housing For Better Public Transit

Alex Armlovich:

New York City needs lots of additional private housing, but restrictive regulations make building it difficult. The city also requires better subways and buses, but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), America’s largest public transit agency, is hampered by funding shortages as well as by poor management.

This paper suggests a housing–public transit “grand bargain”—used successfully, on a smaller scale, for Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development and elsewhere—that would help tackle both problems: it would allow larger residential buildings near public transit hubs across New York City in exchange for more money for the MTA. Specifically, it would relax zoning rules in return for one-time fees (“incentive zoning”) and the continuous higher property-tax revenue generated by larger buildings (“tax-increment financing”).

“Selling things people want to buy vs surveillance business models”

Leonid Bershidsky:

The only real guarantee that companies won’t go overboard in invading customers’ privacy is that they have large revenue streams which make it an unnecessary risk. Apple is reliable in this regard: It’s a hardware company that also sells content and software on commission and on a subscription basis. Microsoft, with its cloud, software licensing and subscription businesses, is even less likely to go rogue in data collection because it no longer has a mobile platform to speak of.

On surveillance business models

Bruce Schneier:

But for every article about Facebook’s creepy stalker behavior, thousands of other companies are breathing a collective sigh of relief that it’s Facebook and not them in the spotlight. Because while Facebook is one of the biggest players in this space, there are thousands of other companies that spy on and manipulate us for profit.

Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff calls it “surveillance capitalism.” And as creepy as Facebook is turning out to be, the entire industry is far creepier. It has existed in secret far too long, and it’s up to lawmakers to force these companies into the public spotlight, where we can all decide if this is how we want society to operate and — if not — what to do about it.

There are 2,500 to 4,000 data brokers in the United States whose business is buying and selling our personal data. Last year, Equifax was in the news when hackers stole personal information on 150 million people, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers.

Why the hunger for food photos is insatiable

Anya Metzer:

Food media collapses elaborate, perfect food into the lifestyle it is made to seem to promise. This means it turns our unfulfillable desires into a normative protocol for vigilance over one’s appetites. We can consume as many images of food as we want, but with them we ingest rules for self-management.
 These rules are typically yoked especially to the disciplining of female pleasure and appetite, urging the consumer to believe herself at her best when her desires are sublimated rather than indulged in immediate and visceral pleasure. Attitudes toward food are generally divided along a gender binary: privation for women; plenitude for men. As food writer Ruby Tandoh notes in Eat Up, “the boundaries between consumption and self-denial, power and passivity often trace the crude line dividing men and women.” Likewise, in Distinction, Pierre Bourdieu argues that “the accession to manhood” is symbolized by abundance, the need for heaped sustenance to propel a boy through, while “a girl’s accession to womanhood is marked by doing without.” Instagram allows her to do without and like it too — a world of pleasure without calorie content or long-term physical effects, a glossy sanctuary in which food is divorced from anxieties around polluting or adulterating the body or risking social transgression.
 Tandoh argues that “a media saturated with images of idealized bodies, and by a pervasive culture of female guilt around food” coerces women into complying with the “superhuman” injunction to transcend physical urges. Online food is an extension of this: women are associated with peripheral, sugary or light foods (salad, cupcakes, iced coffee), acceptable if “naughty” delights. The food must be lean, pretty, attractive, charming — a synecdoche of the invisible woman it champions. This contrasts with food coded male: large, messy portions of meat or the barbecue, a ritual of fire and flesh beyond the feminized kitchen space. These messages normalize the gendering of food, of male desire with primality and women’s with delicacy. Women are expected to conceal their appetites for food and sex unless they can be constructed as providing for the needs of others.

Fraudulent Web Traffic Continues to Plague Advertisers, Other Businesses

Alexandra Bruell:

Non-human traffic can create an “inflated number that sets false expectations for marketing efforts,” said Mr. Weinstein.
 Marketers often use web traffic as a good measure for how many of their consumers saw their ads, and some even pay their ad vendors when people see their ads and subsequently visit their website. Knowing more about how much of their web traffic was non-human could change the way they pay their ad vendors.
 Advertisers have told Adobe that the ability to break down human and non-human traffic helps them understand which audiences matter “when they’re doing ad buying and trying to do re-marketing efforts, or things like lookalike modeling,” he said. Advertisers use lookalike modeling to reach online users or consumers who share similar characteristics to their specific audiences or customers.
 Ad buyers can also exclude visitors with non-human characteristics from future targeting segments by removing the cookies or unique web IDs that represented those visitors from their audience segments.
 In addition to malicious bots, many web visits also come from website “scrapers,” such as search engines, voice assistants or travel aggregators looking for business descriptions or pricing information. Some are also from rivals “scraping” for information so they can undercut the competition on pricing.

How Facebook Helps Shady Advertisers Pollute the Internet

Zeke Faux:

It was a Davos for digital hucksters. One day last June, scammers from around the world gathered for a conference at a renovated 19th century train station in Berlin. All the most popular hustles were there: miracle diet pills, instant muscle builders, brain boosters, male enhancers. The “You Won an iPhone” companies had display booths, and the “Your Computer May Be Infected” folks sent salesmen. Russia was represented by the promoters of a black-mask face peel, and Canada made a showing with bot-infested dating sites.
 They’d come to mingle with thousands of affiliate marketers—middlemen who buy online ad space in bulk, run their campaigns, and earn commissions for each sale they generate. Affiliates promote some legitimate businesses, such as Inc. and EBay Inc., but they’re also behind many of the shady and misleading ads that pollute Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the rest of the internet.

How Facebook Helps Shady Advertisers Pollute the Internet

Zeke Faux:

It was a Davos for digital hucksters. One day last June, scammers from around the world gathered for a conference at a renovated 19th century train station in Berlin. All the most popular hustles were there: miracle diet pills, instant muscle builders, brain boosters, male enhancers. The “You Won an iPhone” companies had display booths, and the “Your Computer May Be Infected” folks sent salesmen. Russia was represented by the promoters of a black-mask face peel, and Canada made a showing with bot-infested dating sites.

After another privacy bombshell, Facebook tells horrified users, “it’s explained right there in the app.”

Maya Kosoff:

After embarking on exactly the kind of cringe-inducing apology tour one would expect following the revelation that Cambridge Analytica plundered the data of millions of Facebook users, Mark Zuckerberg has yet another mess on his hands. Over the weekend, Android owners were displeased to discover that Facebook had been scraping their text-message and phone-call metadata, in some cases for years, an operation hidden in the fine print of a user agreement clause until Ars Technica reported. Facebook was quick to defend the practice as entirely aboveboard—small comfort to those who are beginning to realize that, because Facebook is a free service, they and their data are by necessity the products.
 In its current iteration, Facebook’s Messenger application requests that those who download it give it permission to access incoming and outgoing call and text logs. But, as users discovered when prompted to download a copy of their personal data before permanently deleting their Facebook accounts, a certain amount of data was covertly siphoned without explicit permissions. Buried inside those data caches was an unsettling amount of specific, detailed information—in some cases, every phone call or text message ever sent or received on their Android device. Dylan McKay, who apparently owns an Android phone, reported that for the period between November 2016 and July 2017, his archives contained “the metadata of every cellular call I’ve ever made, including time and duration” and “metadata about every text message I’ve ever received or sent.” When people like McKay agreed to share their contacts with Facebook, it appears they didn’t know the extent to which they were giving Facebook access to their personal information.

4 Radical Real Estate Ideas To Fix Our Broken Housing System

Eillie Anzilotti:

At the core of the American housing system of today is the fundamental belief that housing should be a vehicle for private wealth creation. Privately owned housing on the market makes up 96.3% of the total housing stock in the U.S. Homeownership, once one of the surest ways for a family to accumulate wealth, has declined across the country; rates dropped to 63.4% in 2016, their lowest since 1967. Big banks and mortgage companies attach stringent criteria and high interest rates to loans that often lock lower-income people out of buying a home.

So instead, they’re forced into the rental market. As wages have stagnated and property costs have continued to rise, an astonishing number of Americans struggle to afford monthly payments. Almost half of all renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent, which is the ratio the federal government deems affordable. One in four renters shell out half their income to hold onto a place to live. Homeowners aren’t any better off: Around 41% are struggling to make mortgage payments, and risking foreclosure as a result. Across market-based housing, people of color, gender nonconforming people, and those with a criminal record routinely face barriers to securing housing.

The shady data-gathering tactics used by Cambridge Analytica were an open secret to online marketers. I know, because I was one

Alexandra Samuel

The recently revealed Facebook data “breach” that allowed Cambridge Analytica to get access to millions of users’ worth of Facebook data has been greeted as a shocking scandal. Reporters and readers have been surprised to learn about the ability to gather personal data on the friends of people who install a Facebook app, the conversion of a personality quiz into a source of political data, the idea that you can target marketing messages based on individual psychographic profiles, and the surreptitious collection of data under the guise of academic research, later used for political purposes. But there is one group of people who are mostly unsurprised by these revelations: the market researchers and digital marketers who have known about (and in many cases, used) these tactics for years. I’m one of them.

Back when the Cambridge Analytica data was getting collected by an enterprising academic, I was the vice president of social media for Vision Critical, a customer intelligence software company that powers customer feedback for more than a third of the Fortune 100 companies. Our enterprise clients wanted to know how social media data could complement the insights they were getting from their customer surveys, and it was my job to come up with a way of integrating social media data with survey data.



Dear All CMOs, everywhere

Hope you don’t mind me writing to you all like this but here’s a brief note, some data-points and a slide deck that could help with an issue more and more of us seem to be having these days.

Have you got a CEO or CFO who just doesn’t seem to ‘get’ brand? Are they happy to allocate budget to performance activity but likely to run a mile before giving you what you need for brand-building? Are you confused about why they devote so little attention and resources to your company’s most valuable commercial asset, its brand? Maybe you even get people saying things like ‘we don’t talk about BRAND here’?

Well you’re not alone. Whilst many of us believe that brands have never been more important, successfully making the case for investing in them has never felt harder.

There are of course loads of reasons for this (quarterly reporting and short-termism chief amongst them) but it’s also partly because, to quote Jeremy Bullmore, ‘brands are fiendishly complicated, elusive, slippery, half-real, half-virtual things. When CEOs try to think about brands, their brains hurt’.

Brands are probably the most powerful and versatile business tool ever invented. And yet there’s a growing breed of business leaders who behave as if creating a famous, preferred, distinctive brand is an unnecessary luxury. Who think it’s enough to pay for PPC, sort the SEO, create content, build a digital eco-system, communicate one-to-one with existing customers ‘for free’, or re-target prospects who’ve signalled some level of intent. Of course there are individual businesses that seem to be ok doing things this way, but if there’s a large body of evidence (not simply a few case studies) that proves the above approach can be used to drive long-term profitable growth across a range of categories, without investment in brand-building, I’d love to see it.

If businesses aren’t investing in their brand, maybe it’s our fault? I suspect we haven’t been selling the idea of brands as a business tool correctly. Marketers have tended to dwell on the mental and emotional side of brands (the hard to value stuff in people’s heads like memories, associations, feelings, values and personality). We’ve forgotten to give enough emphasis to the stuff that really matters to CEOs and CFOs: the rational, commercial stuff about what brands do to drive commercial value. We’ve been selling the magic but forgetting the logic.

Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica problems are nothing compared to what’s coming for all of online publishing

doc searls:

Giant Irony Alert: the same is true for the Times, along with every other publication that lives off adtech: surveillance-based advertising. These pubs don’t just open the kimonos of their readers. They treat them as naked beings whose necks are bared to vampires ravenous for the blood of personal data, all ostensibly so those persons can be served with “interest-based” advertising.
 With no control by readers (beyond tracking protection which relatively few know how to use), and damn little care or control by the publishers who bare those readers’ necks to the vampires, who knows what the hell actually happens to the data? No one entity, that’s for sure.
 For one among many views of what’s going on, here’s a screen shot of what RedMorph, a privacy monitoring and protection extention in Chrome showed going on behind Zeynep’s op-ed in the Times:

On Facebook and Privacy

Mark Suster:

Everybody knew 3rd party apps had access to data on you, your friends & family. I’ve been highlighting this publicly for years. Nobody cared because every app company benefited. My presentation to Caltech nearly 8 years ago…

After years of testing, The Wall Street Journal has built a paywall that bends to the individual reader

Shan Wang:

visitors to now each receive a propensity score based on more than 60 signals, such as whether the reader is visiting for the first time, the operating system they’re using, the device they’re reading on, what they chose to click on, and their location (plus a whole host of other demographic info it infers from that location). Using machine learning to inform a more flexible paywall takes away guesswork around how many stories, or what kinds of stories, to let readers read for free, and whether readers will respond to hitting paywall by paying for access or simply leaving. (The Journal didn’t share additional details about the score, such as the exact range of numbers it could be. I asked what my personal score was; no luck there, since the scores are anonymized.) “I think back to maybe eight months ago, when we were looking at all these charts with a lot of different data points. Now we’ve got a model that’s learned to a point where, if I get a person’s score, I pretty much know how likely they will be to subscribe,” Karl Wells, the Journal’s general manager for membership, told me when we spoke last week, with a Journal spokesperson on the call. “What we’ve found is that if we open up the paywall — we call it sampling — to those who have a low propensity to subscribe, then their likelihood to subscribe goes up.” (The Journal’s model looks at a window of two to three weeks.)
The Journal has found that these non-subscribed visitors fall into groups that can be roughly defined as hot, warm, or cold, according to Wells. Those with high scores above a certain threshold — indicating a high likelihood of subscribing — will hit a hard paywall. Those who score lower might get to browse stories for free in one session — and then hit the paywall. Or they may be offered guest passes to the site, in various time increments, in exchange for providing an email address (thus giving the Journal more signals to analyze). The passes are also offered based on a visitor’s score, aimed at people whose scores indicate they could be nudged into subscribing if tantalized with just a little bit more Journal content.

Brand Building: 2018, With acquisition of ModiFace, L’Oreal enters next phase of digital evolution strategy

Bethany Biron:

L’Oréal announced today that it acquired the augmented reality platform ModiFace, becoming the first technology company purchased by the global beauty conglomerate and serving as a testament to the rapid growth of AR within the industry.
 Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer of L’Oréal, said the acquisition marks the next phase of L’Oréal’s digital growth plan, with a focus on investing in research and development after concluding a recent overhaul of its e-commerce and marketing strategies. Though L’Oréal has partnered with large technology companies in the past such as Google and Alibaba, the acquisition will bring ModiFace in-house and give the company a significant edge over its competitors. Since it was founded in 2001, ModiFace has worked closely with L’Oréal, as well as brands like Covergirl, Sephora and Ulta on a variety of mobile app and in-store activations.
 “We believe brands, products and services will come together to create a store of the future using technology such as AR, artificial intelligence and conversational commerce,” she said. “This is why, for us, this is a natural step to acquire ModiFace. By doing so, we create an internal R&D capability for digital services.”

Who maps the world?

Sarah Holder:

“For most of human history, maps have been very exclusive,” said Marie Price, the first woman president of the American Geographical Society, appointed 165 years into its 167-year history. “Only a few people got to make maps, and they were carefully guarded, and they were not participatory.” That’s slowly changing, she said, thanks to democratizing projects like OpenStreetMap (OSM).
 OSM is the self-proclaimed Wikipedia of maps: It’s a free and open-source sketch of the globe, created by a volunteer pool that essentially crowd-sources the map, tracing parts of the world that haven’t yet been logged. Armed with satellite images, GPS coordinates, local community insights and map “tasks,” volunteer cartographers identify roads, paths, and buildings in remote areas and their own backyards. Then, experienced editors verify each element. Chances are, you use an OSM-sourced map every day without realizing it: Foursquare, Craigslist, Pinterest, Etsy, and Uber all use it in their direction services.
 When commercial companies like Google decide to map the not-yet-mapped, they use “The Starbucks Test,” as OSMers like to call it. If you’re within a certain radius of a chain coffee shop, Google will invest in maps to make it easy to find. Everywhere else, especially in the developing world, other virtual cartographers have to fill in the gaps.

Say goodbye to the information age: it’s all about reputation now

Gloria Orrigi:

The paradigm shift from the age of information to the age of reputation must be taken into account when we try to defend ourselves from ‘fake news’ and other misinformation and disinformation techniques that are proliferating through contemporary societies. What a mature citizen of the digital age should be competent at is not spotting and confirming the veracity of the news. Rather, she should be competent at reconstructing the reputational path of the piece of information in question, evaluating the intentions of those who circulated it, and figuring out the agendas of those authorities that leant it credibility.
 Whenever we are at the point of accepting or rejecting new information, we should ask ourselves: Where does it come from? Does the source have a good reputation? Who are the authorities who believe it? What are my reasons for deferring to these authorities? Such questions will help us to get a better grip on reality than trying to check directly the reliability of the information at issue. In a hyper-specialised system of the production of knowledge, it makes no sense to try to investigate on our own, for example, the possible correlation between vaccines and autism. It would be a waste of time, and probably our conclusions would not be accurate. In the reputation age, our critical appraisals should be directed not at the content of information but rather at the social network of relations that has shaped that content and given it a certain deserved or undeserved ‘rank’ in our system of knowledge.
 These new competences constitute a sort of second-order epistemology. They prepare us to question and assess the reputation of an information source, something that philosophers and teachers should be crafting for future generations.

“A tenet of the Estonian system is that an individual owns all information recorded about him or her”

Nathan Heller:

It was during Kotka’s tenure that the e-Estonian goal reached its fruition. Today, citizens can vote from their laptops and challenge parking tickets from home. They do so through the “once only” policy, which dictates that no single piece of information should be entered twice. Instead of having to “prepare” a loan application, applicants have their data—income, debt, savings—pulled from elsewhere in the system. There’s nothing to fill out in doctors’ waiting rooms, because physicians can access their patients’ medical histories. Estonia’s system is keyed to a chip-I.D. card that reduces typically onerous, integrative processes—such as doing taxes—to quick work. “If a couple in love would like to marry, they still have to visit the government location and express their will,” Andrus Kaarelson, a director at the Estonian Information Systems Authority, says. But, apart from transfers of physical property, such as buying a house, all bureaucratic processes can be done online.

Ride-hailing apps are now 65% bigger than taxis in NYC, and the impact of “DeleteUber”


In Brooklyn, Uber is now bigger than taxis
 October 12, 2015 marked the first day that Uber made more pickups in Brooklyn than yellow and green taxis combined. As of June 2016, Uber makes 60% more pickups per day than taxis do, and the gap appears to be growing. Lyft has also surpassed yellow taxis in Brooklyn, but still makes fewer pickups than green boro taxis.

Building a Brand: 2018

The micro mobility market is getting a great deal of attention and growing piles of investor cash. To wit, Bird Rides, offering a “dockless electric scooter sharing service” provides a worthwhile look at brand building in 2018.

I became aware of Bird via a friend working in this space. I was curious about their brand and awareness building methods. That said, their initial $15M of capital, supplemented by a $100M “Series B” round certainly offers a deep pocket.

March 6, 2018, Joanna Goddard:

This year, we also discovered Bird Scooters, the new shared electric scooters. Have you tried them? They’re scattered around the sidewalks; you unlock one with an app, ride it to your destination (for a couple dollars), and then just lock and leave it wherever. Alex and I rode them to dinner one night, and it felt so fun and freeing!

March 1, 2018 Ojai Valley Inn Instagram mention.

March 6, 2018: Bob Lefsetz:

I saw two on my walk to the grocery store. All I had to do was scan the QR code and away I’d go.

But I didn’t.

They say that California is passe. That it’s too expensive to live here. That we have Blue Stateitis. Used to be California was a paradise, a Garden of Eden, the final destination. Now, if you pay attention to the media, it’s a disaster.

But it’s not.

Everything cool still starts in California. Can you say TESLA? Can you say APPLE? Can you say BIRD?

Huh, what’s a Bird?

It’s a motorized scooter.

But it’s not one of those RAZRs, it’s not for kids, it’s for adults, and a couple of months ago everywhere you were in Santa Monica you started to see people riding down the sidewalks, as if they were getting their trips for free, as if the sidewalk was the new Disneyland, WHAT WAS GOING ON?

First and foremost, Bird didn’t ask permission. You cannot ask permission in today’s world. You do your business and then you pay the penalty, assuming you’ve got any traction at all. We learned this from Napster. And the funny thing is the violators are the enemy until they’re embraced. They’ll sue you and then befriend you. Kinda strange, but that’s the way it is.

So they litter Bird scooters everywhere. And you can pull up the app and find one, or bump into one, and when you’re ready to ride, you scan the code with your phone and pay a buck plus 15 cents a minute. But this is not a monetary proposition, this is about pushing your own personal envelope, are you ready to take a risk?

Now the one thing you’ll notice is helmets are required but no one ever wears one, even though Bird will send you one for free, FOR FREE I TELL YOU! Because people think they’re immune, it’s the same kind of thinking that has folks refusing to buckle up when they’re close to home, as if that protects them from being injured. You don’t want a brain injury, it’s worse than any broken bone, but since the scooters only go 15 MPH, people somehow think they won’t fall, or that drivers will act responsibly.

Yes, you’re supposed to stay in the road or on the bike lane, but no one ever does, everybody’s on the sidewalk.

And it seems like a novelty until you think… It’s about the last mile. Getting from public transportation to your front door.

March 9, 2018, Jonathan Shieber:

“It feels like investing in Uber when it first launched.”

That’s what one investor said of the hot new Santa Monica, Calif.-based startup, Bird — an electric scooter company that’s now in the process of raising as much as $100 million on a $300 million valuation, according to several people with knowledge of the company’s plans.

Bird, which has become a phenomenon in the Los Angeles neighborhoods where it’s available, shares a lot with America’s most valuable ride-hailing and logistics company.

The company was founded by a former Uber (and Lyft) executive, Travis VanderZanden, who (like his namesake) is no stranger to controversy. Lyft sued him for allegedly breaking a confidentiality agreement when Uber hired him and the two sides later settled for undisclosed terms.

Like Uber, Bird has also rolled out its services with little regard for the regulations imposed by the neighborhoods in which it operates. When TechCrunch first reported on the company’s $15 million raise less than a month ago, we noted that the company had surreptitiously put 1,000 of its electric scooters on the streets — to the delight of the 50,000 people who have taken 250,000 rides on them, and disregarding many laws put in place by the city of Santa Monica.

As a Washington Post article notes, the Santa Monica Police Department has made 281 traffic stops and issued 97 tickets since the beginning of the year and late February — and the coastal, Los Angeles-adjacent city’s fire department has responded to 8 accidents involving Bird’s scooters — seeing injuries to both minors and adults.

February 15, 2018: Matt McFarland:

Since its September 2017 launch, Bird’s system has served more than 50,000 riders who have taken 250,000 trips — more than half of which have been in the last month. It’s since expanded to Venice, California, and some neighborhoods in Los Angeles and San Diego. Bird plans to expand to dozens of markets by the end of 2018.

Competitors, backed by Silicon Valley investors, are emerging. Two dockless bikeshare startups, LimeBike and Spin, have announced plans to deploy electric scooters in cities this year.

Meanwhile, another rival, URB-E, has sold thousands of foldable electric scooters to consumers since 2015. The company’s electric scooters range in price from $900 – $2,000.

Late last year, it began renting URB-Es on the University of Southern California’s campus. It plans to launch its own shared service in cities such as San Francisco and New York by the end of the year.

“It took a couple years for the mass market to realize this is not a toy industry or for rich people,” said URB-E CEO Peter Lee. “But this solves an everyday commuter problem, no matter your social class or how much you make. It was seen as a novelty three years ago, but now it’s seen as a necessity.”

Electric scooters have also captured the attention of Mayor Pete Buttigieg from South Bend, Indiana. The city, which has limited transit options due to its moderate density, is interested in using them as a way to improve transportation access. South Bend was one of the first to embrace dockless bikeshare systems, which allow people to park rented bikes on public land.

March 9, 2018, Tim Bradshaw:

Since it launched in September, Bird’s app-based rental system has become hugely popular in areas of Los Angeles such as Santa Monica and Venice, where hundreds of scooters are available on the street for anyone to pick up and drop off.

Hire of the scooters, which resemble the Razor and Micro kick scooters popular with children but have an electric motor that can go up to 15mph, is charged by the minute, with the devices tracked by GPS. More than half a million rides on Bird were taken in the past 30 days, the company says, doubling over the previous month.

“We believe Bird is writing the next chapter in transportation and is poised to become the next great company in this space,” said Antonio Gracias of Chicago-based Valor, who also sits on the boards of Tesla and SpaceX.

Nonetheless, $100m is an unusually large sum for such a young business. By way of comparison, Uber raised about $37m in its Series B round in December 2011, according to Crunchbase, 18 months after it first launched its car-booking app.

Bird’s iOS and Android apps.


A much smaller, but interesting example: The Ojai Valley in.

February 16, 2018 Em_Henderson

March 1, 2018 cupofjo

March 2, 2018 thebalancedblonde


There are a few, interesting email newsletters, including:

Detour in Detroit.

The State of Texas

My Little Paris

This cheap 3D-printed home is a start for the 1 billion who lack shelter

Tamara Warren:

Food, water, and shelter are basic human needs, but 1.2 billion people in the world live without adequate housing, according to a report by the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Today at SXSW, an Austin-based startup will unveil its approach to combat that deficiency by using low-cost 3D printing as a potential solution.

ICON has developed a method for printing a single-story 650-square-foot house out of cement in only 12 to 24 hours, a fraction of the time it takes for new construction. If all goes according to plan, a community made up of about 100 homes will be constructed for residents in El Salvador next year. The company has partnered with New Story, a nonprofit that is vested in international housing solutions. “We have been building homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia,” Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story, tells The Verge.

Marketers are clueless about media effectiveness – here’s the proof

Mark Ritson:

It is clear that there are four main drivers for media selection in 2018. Marketers are looking for clear targeting cut-through, the ability to show strong ROI, a positive emotional response to the message and increased brand salience at the same time. If you put Byron Sharp, Peter Field, Les Binet and the IPA in a big industrial blender this is probably the juice that the concoction would produce. So, no real surprises.

In contrast, many of the industry’s other obsessions appear to be far less important to marketers. The push for transparent third-party measurement and brand safety might be hot topics for most marketing conferences but they are not on the radar for the average advertiser. Low cost does not appear to be much of an attraction either.

If I could be critical of the sample’s responses just once it would be the relative weak performance of ‘gets your ad noticed’. There is a ton of evidence to suggest that most advertising simply does not even break into the consciousness of the target market and I would have expected marketers to push this issue higher up the agenda.

But the interesting part of the report is examining how marketers think the various media perform against these dozen demands and then looking at what the hard evidence says their actual performance is. For reasons of focus and length I will keep my assessment to the top four main drivers for this column but interested readers are encouraged to download the full report here.

Re-evaluating Media:

Re-evaluating Media is a study commissioned by Radiocentre and independently conducted by Ebqiuity which makes an impartial and robust re-evaluation of online and offline media. The results highlight a major discrepancy between perceptions of individual media and what the evidence says, suggesting that it is time for the industry to re-evaluate media decisions to optimise advertising budgets.

Selling your Location Data

Christopher Mims:

As location-aware advertising goes mainstream—like that Jack in the Box ad that appears whenever you get near one, in whichever app you have open at the time—and as popular apps harvest your lucrative location data, the potential for leaking or exploiting this data has never been higher.

It’s true that your smartphone’s location-tracking capabilities can be helpful, whether it’s alerting you to traffic or inclement weather. That utility is why so many of us are giving away a great deal more location data than we probably realize….

Why advertising always works, using science, not ———-


Its my life’s work to persuade indie game developers, computer programmers and other ‘smart’ people, that they are wrong and that advertising works. A lot of people think ads dont work, and some even arrogantly think ads work, but ‘not on them’ because they are ‘too smart’. This is totally and utterly wrong, and the reason these otherwise ‘smart’ people are so wrong is they fundamentally misunderstand how ads work.
 The top assumption about ads is that they are trying to consciously persuade you to purchase the product. Ha. No. That was maybe 50-100 years ago. Thats not how ads *actually* work, although frankly 75% of people who actually work in advertising have no idea about this. Sometimes you see really bad ads and its clear they have no idea, but there is plenty of scientific research into ads, and more importantly the working of the brain, which shows how they really work.
 Our brains are basically super-parallel pattern recognition machines. Pattern recognition is an excellent way to structure the brain, and also explains why we are so amazing at recognizing faces, but so awful at basic maths. First and foremost, we are not philosophers, scientists, programmers or politicians. First and foremost we are a lump of flesh and bone that wants to find food, and not get killed. Everything else, even sex, is secondary. By having our brains work as big pattern recognizers, we get very good, very accurate and very FAST at recognizing visual images. Computers can run rings around us at math, but still struggle to match our ability to navigate our 3D world by driving a car. We are awesome at recognizing stuff.
 If you had to write a very FAST (and thus very short) program for staying alive, and could do only on the basis of visual input, yet had amazing pattern recognition, how would you write the pseudo code? Here is the simplest (and best) code.
 IF IfSeenThisBefore() {Relax()} ELSE { RunLikeHell()}
 It makes perfect sense. Our basic, animal selves have seen fellow humans all the time, but never seen a lion. So when we see a lion, we run like hell, because it MIGHT be dangerous. Any visual pattern we have hundreds of copies of stored in our brain is a sign that we saw those things a lot AND LIVED. It really is that simple. To put this in less ‘scared mammal’ terms… Fear the unknown.

App meets bus


The Responsive Network & the Future of Cities
 Why are we so excited about this?
 The Responsive Network is INFRASTRUCTURE. We can provision mobility anywhere transportation is lacking, or needs additional capacity. Unlike cabs, which are free to roam, our technology can commit supply to an area or a time of day, at more accessible prices. Unlike buses, which are stuck on a fixed route, our network can support an entire coverage area. Unlike metros, which take years to build, we can get going quickly.
 The Responsive Network can adapt to the city. It can evolve with the expanding needs of a city, in a more responsive manner than a bus network. It can adjust to time of day, catering to the different needs of the cities around commutes, days, night and weekends. It can adapt to traffic and congestion by finding routes that are optimised. It can cater to special events like sports and festivities.
 The Responsive Network requires no physical infrastructure like bus stops or advertising. Everything can be updated and communicated digitally.
 The Responsive Network can utilise vehicles more efficiently. We can manage cars around known demand patterns. This will reduce waiting times for users. And it’s better for the city and congestion than vehicles moving around aimlessly or using outdated schedules or headway. It’s how the future smart city should operate.
 The Responsive Network can bring down pricing through sharing, making quality transportation affordable to more people.

Smartphones and the digital age

Jamie Barlett:

A couple of years back, while writing my book Radicals, I secured an interview with Beppe Grillo, leader of the Italian Five Star Movement. M5S (its Italian abbreviation) is the radical anti-establishment party that’s on track to top next week’s general election. We met in the restaurant of the hotel he always stays when in Rome. There was a small crowd outside as I walked in, hoping to get a glimpse of the man. Beppe wandered in late – he enjoys daily siestas – waving his smartphone. ‘This,’ he said, as he sat down, ‘this is what changes everything!’ Then something weird happened. Before I’d even pressed ‘record’, he picked up the small spoon that came with his espresso, and starting staring at it, making it bend like a la Uri Geller. He looked at me, and then back at the spoon, and then back at me, and laughed.

Beppe has been one of Italy’s best-known comedians since the 1980s, partly due to his wildly popular TV show. Back in 2009, frustrated with Italian politics but enamoured with blogging, he set up Five Star, hoping to spark a digital revolution in politics. Thanks to the internet we can do away with political parties and corrupt media, he said. Big decisions can be taken on my blog via frequent plebiscites. Ordinary people can set up their own local branches of the group on and select their own candidates. Five Star crashed through Italian politics like a tsunami. By the 2013 election, it won roughly 25 per cent of the vote. It has come first in the last 96 consecutive opinion polls. (Although it still might not win the upcoming election because of a centre-right alliance).

People often say that Trump is the perfect politician for the digital age. I also say that. But Grillo is a better sign of what’s coming. He’s the personification of the problems and opportunities that digital technology lays out to our ailing democracies. On one hand, he’s using all the new kit to get more people involved, circumnavigating crony party politics, and rallying people together. Bravo. But he’s also a populist iconoclast who wants to smash the system. ‘Politicians are parasites,’ he says. ‘We should send them all home!’ A few years back he held a successful ‘Fuck Off Day’ directed at the establishment. He called previous Prime Minister Monti ‘Rigor Montis’. To be fair, that’s quite a good one.

Why data science is simply the new astrology

Karthik Shashidhar:

I’ve spent most of the last six years playing around with data and drawing insights from it (a lot of those insights have been published in Mint). A lot of work that I’ve done can fall under the (rather large) umbrella of “data science”, and some of it can be classified as “machine learning”. Over the last couple of years, though, I’ve been rather disappointed by what goes on in the name of data science.

Stripped to its bare essentials, machine learning is an exercise in pattern recognition. Given a set of inputs and outputs, the system tunes a set of parameters in a mathematical formula such that the outputs can be predicted with as much accuracy as possible given the inputs (I’m massively oversimplifying here, but this captures sufficient essence for this discussion).

One big advantage with machine learning is that algorithms can sometimes recognize patterns that are not easily visible to the human eye. The most spectacular application of this has been in the field of medical imaging, where time and again algorithms have been shown to outperform human experts while analysing images.

In February last year, a team of researchers from Stanford University showed that a deep learning algorithm they had built performed on par against a team of expert doctors in detecting skin cancer. In July, another team from Stanford built an algorithm to detect heart arrhythmia by analysing electrocardiograms, and showed that it outperformed the average cardiologist. More recently, algorithms to detect pneumonia and breast cancer have been shown to perform better than expert doctors.

The Rise of Virtual Citizenship

James Bridle:

“If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what citizenship means,” the British prime minister, Theresa May, declared in October 2016. Not long after, at his first postelection rally, Donald Trump asserted, “There is no global anthem. No global currency. No certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag and that flag is the American flag.” And in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has increased his national-conservative party’s popularity with statements like “all the terrorists are basically migrants” and “the best migrant is the migrant who does not come.”
 Citizenship and its varying legal definition has become one of the key battlegrounds of the 21st century, as nations attempt to stake out their power in a G-Zero, globalized world, one increasingly defined by transnational, borderless trade and liquid, virtual finance. In a climate of pervasive nationalism, jingoism, xenophobia, and ever-building resentment toward those who move, it’s tempting to think that doing so would become more difficult. But alongside the rise of populist, identitarian movements across the globe, identity itself is being virtualized, too. It no longer needs to be tied to place or nation to function in the global marketplace.

Digital nomads are hiring and firing their governments

Danny Crichton:

The nation state has survived wars, plagues, and upheaval, but it won’t survive digital nomads, not if people like Karoli Hindriks have something to say about it. Hindriks is the founder of Jobbatical, a platform that allows digital nomads to find work in other countries and helps with the logistics of getting there.
 The company also embodies a new world of highly-skilled, global migratory workers who work wherever they please. “Our own team today is forty people and they have flown in from sixteen different countries,” Hindriks explained about a recent all-hands gathering. “One of our engineers is from Colombia, and living in Talinn, and he was hosting a Couchsurfer who flew in from Malaysia and he was our engineer in Mexico, and he was now moving to Denmark. This is the perfect example of how the world should be, and how it will be in five or ten years.”
 Benedict Anderson famously called the population of a nation state an “imagined community,” but today’s global workers have a very different community that they are imagining.