Another week is in wind-down mode. I hope your week was more productive and bountiful than my continued struggle with finding a writing rhythm. Despite my best efforts, I didn’t write much this week. I have been caught between the urgent requirements of work and a nagging (and now prolonged) writer’s block. I have a growing pile of proverbial unfinished posts — thanks mainly to shifting attention from one topic to another. It is an affliction that most of us suffer in today’s hyper-information environment.
I read that a crypto-billionaire is buying a big piece of Forbes’ for about $200 million, just ahead of its public offering. Forbes, where I worked, is not really Forbes, and it is hardly a magazine worth its name. It is nothing more than a marketing site for arrivistes and self-promoters to give themselves some imprimatur. I mean, it published articles from Heather Morgan, one-half of the $4.5 billion crypto-scammers. Weirdly, the dots connect. What was I going to say about this $200 million investment? I thought no matter the source, the new money is always used to buy things from the past — art, buildings, vintage cars, and vintage publications and brands.
Like it said, swimming against the tide of information is hard, and you tend to get swept away. When I mentioned this to my friend Pip Coburn, who is in the investment advisory business, he said when it came to making investing decisions, he doesn’t look at day-to-day gyrations of the stock price of the company he likes. He suggested a similar approach to information consumption — and as a result, I am trying to check Twitter, newsletter subscriptions, and RSS feeds at the end of the day. Hopefully, this would allow me to ruminate on topics and wake up with a spark for writing early in the morning.
The entire week wasn’t a loss. I read some good articles this past week that are worth your time.
February 12, 2022. San Francisco
- The best way to prevent blackouts and save the power grid is by embracing the packetization ideology that is core to the Internet. [IEEE Spectrum]
- How Telegram became the anti-Facebook [Wired] This is a good story about chat-app Telegram, though labeling it anti-Facebook is lazy headline writing by the editors at Wired. The story, however, takes a look at the rise of this application and its growth despite the existence of WhatsApp. I was an early adopter, and I have found it to innovate faster than any other chat app.
- The rats nest that is the life of the couple that stole $71 million in Bitcoin now worth $4.5 billion. This story is crazy! Vice (Also, this isn’t the first or the last crypto-scam.)
- The web starts at page four is short personal reflection by a long time web developer who bemoans the web has morphed into a “consumption machine that creates bubbles and assumes new users to be incapable of making own decisions.” I was nodding my head in agreement when reading this piece.
- Why did Microsoft spend $69 billion to buy Activision? One-word: metaverse.
- Why Spotify needs Joe Rogan and podcasters. Ironically, the Spotify share price has halved over past 12-months and that makes it an acquisition target for a larger company.
- After reading his 24 points, I get a feeling Anil Dash is talking about Spotify, but in fact it applies to pretty much every major “platisher.”
Oh-oh! Solar storms can not only bring down the satellites but also the entire Internet. Light reading has the details based on research by Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi of the University of California Irvine. The full paper is available here!
Now that it has stopped growing in a few decades, it is very likely that there will be more dead people on Facebook.