Imagine that you are the husband in a long term marriage. You have been married as long as you can remember and it’s been a successful partnership that’s created enormous strength, power and influence, some would say the forth best in the entire world. One or two would even say - the best.
Your wife though starts to want more independence from you, she knows life will be tougher on her own but somehow believes that the benefit of being in sole control of her destiny makes up for the loss of power, influence and the hardship of going it alone.
She tells you that she is trying to decide whether to go it alone and that she’ll make her mind up in the autumn of 2014. You ask her if you have a say in the decision but she says, no - it’s a matter for her alone.
Then she says she thinks she wants to leave you but she expects to keep your money, use you for security and be able to come and go whenever she pleases. She is not saying that she has fully decided yet but this is what she is minded to do and you’ll just have to lump it.
Of course there comes a point in this sort of dialogue when the Husband says, enough - actually I’m deciding that I don’t want to be treated like this so you can bugger off and by the way I’m keeping my own money and you can work out your own security.
The Scottish people need to be very careful right now as this is the way the SNP’s dialogue is starting to feel to the rest of the UK. Citizens outside of Scotland have so far been very patient in allowing the people of Scotland to have a rather selfish rumination as to whether they wish to divorce the UK for two real reasons; 1) Because most feel it’s unlikely that the majority of Scottish people would want to do such a foolish thing and 2) Not may folks outside of Scotland really care.
But things are changing as the debate evolves. The rest of the UK is getting a growing sense of unease at being excluded from the decision about the future of their nation. More importantly, the arrogance of thinking that anyone (or nation) in a long term partnership can chose to keep the best bits of the relationship, reject the rest and have it their own way is starting raise anger outside of Scotland and there is a real danger here.
I hear increasingly voices along the lines of:
I don’t really care whether Scotland is independent or not. I’d rather things stayed as they are but I’m not that fussed. However if they do want to be independent then they can sort out their own currency, not piggy back on Sterling (good luck with Euro by the way), they can re-apply for EU membership but if that involves having to join the Schengen agreement then it means a physical boarder to the rest of the UK. They can sort out their own security and we’ll relocate Trident back to Devonport but don’t expect UK or NATO support if you are not prepared to take your fair share of Army and Nuclear responsibilities and finally, the clue to who is accountable for the 50 Billion in remaining liabilities of Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland is in their names, so don’t expect any of the UK’s financial might to help you with that.
In short if you want to go, then Bugger off but don’t expect any love, help or support - that’s what happens when relationships end in the real world.
There is just a danger that as the sensible majority of Scotland vote to remain in the UK - the rest of UK (and remember that outside of Scotland - that has been a Tory majority UK for more than 20 years) will decide that they are fed up with such selfish behaviour and ease them toward the door anyway.
I love Scotland, I love the UK. I’m proud to be Scottish and more proud to British, so let’s hope not.
With the latest polls showing more than 70% of us want to stay in the UK, it might be wise for the sensible majority of Scots to have a louder voice in helping the our fellow UK citizens understand that Mr Salmond’s selfish demands are not representative of the nation as a whole.
In the UK the debate around what to do with large multinational corporations that make plenty of money but don’t pay any corporation tax in the UK rumbles on. Apple, Amazon, Google and Starbucks have been in the firing line with politicians lining up to criticise the practice of domiciling a European operation in the lowest tax location and then using inter-company charging to ensure that profit is only materialised in the lowest tax domain (normally Ireland or Luxembourg)
The Daily Mail reports today:
Ex-UK [Starbucks] boss Cliff Burrows who now oversees the firm’s Americas operation and has shares worth £7.2million, earned £6.5million. UK director John Culver was paid £3.8million over two years and owns £4.7million in shares.
Last week Starbucks, Amazon and Google were slammed over measures they have taken, within the law, to reduce their tax liabilities. Bosses of the three giants were grilled by MPs over how they managed to pay little or no corporation tax on their UK operations. All three denied they were engaged in aggressive tax avoidance.
Business secretary Vince Cable yesterday indicated that action can be expected from Chancellor George Osborne, who delivers his Autumn statement on December 5.
Speaking on BBC1, Mr Cable told The Andrew Marr Show: ‘Our own tax authorities have got to be very tough on things like royalty payments, which is where a lot of the subterfuge takes place.’ He said it was ‘completely unacceptable where there is systematic abuse taking place’.
It would be great if one politician had the courage to come forward with the truth. We live in a globalised economy. If you want the tax income, you have to reduce your tax rates to beat the competing countries - otherwise moan all you want but the world’s biggest and best will just locate (and pay their taxes) elsewhere.
I guess it’s fair to say that I love tech. A quick rummage through my cupboards would betray my enthusiasm (some might say obsession) with boxes full of old Psions, Palms, Newtons and laptops - even a couple of Sony micro PC’s. But whilst its is true to say I love tech, there are actually only very few individual products that I love. There are many that I enjoy using, admire, respect but to love a device, for me, it has to have 2 unique attributes; firstly it has to constantly exceed my expectations in it’s daily use and secondly, it has to have a design that stirs certain feelings when you cast your eyes on it or when it sits in your hand.
That perfect combination of function and form.
For this reason, even though I think they are brilliant devices, I don’t love my iPhone or iPad. They pretty much nail the form part of the equation but don’t exceed my expectations every day because of the compromises they make. Just today, for example, my iPad let me down when someone sent me a zip file I couldn’t open and even after all this time I’m still mad with it for not having a file system and for changing every lower case i to an upper case I without asking me! And the phone, well the audio quality always disappoints me when I listen to it - which I do every day. I’m prepared to live with the compromises - I just don’t love them.
If I had to name three devices that I love. My top three would be: The Linn Sondek LP12 turntable, my Sony Walkman pro cassette player and my Apple 11” MacBook Air. I don’t even use those first two items every day (in the Sony’s case - ever) but like old girlfriends, they will always have a special place in my heart.
I bought my 11” MacBook Air in Vegas whilst attending CES 2010. It was replacing one of the first generation Airs, which whilst a masterpiece of thin design was pretty much unusable for anything other than a bit of email. Even a few minutes of flash video from the web made the original Air hotter than a fox in a forest fire so I didn’t have high expectations for the 11” but I was prepared to try the compromise as it was a brilliant design and unbelievably light.
From the moment I turned it on, it exceeded my expectations. This was my first SSD experience and despite it’s modest processor and RAM specs, it was the fastest computer I had ever used including the big clunking Mac pro computer on the desk in my office, which at that time was still using spinning drives. The way I’d define fast is a little different from the benchmark specs about how fast a computer can render in photoshop, It’s about the every day speed of the little things - changing a wifi network, launching iPhoto, how many tabs can load sensibly in Safari and in this respect the modest 11” Air rocked. It’s display was a higher res than anything I’d had before and I was thrilled with how usable the small screen was.
A couple on months in, I found myself on a plane between the UK and the USA doing radical last minute changes to a presentation I was due to give when I got off. I was simultaneously rendering new titles & overlaying new audio into video in iMovie, embedding the the results into Powerpoint along with images from a USB stick and the humble Air just did it. No failing batteries, no spinning beach balls, no overheating, no hysteria. This became a device I loved. I take it everywhere when I travel and when I’m not at my desk at home, more often than not I’m carrying around with me like small magazine. I prefer it to the iPad for everything except reading newspapers and books.
The machine I had was the absolutely lowest spec, memory & storage and for about a year I have been looking to upgrade it. (Every time I download a movie - I get the dreaded your startup disk is almost full message) Minded to the Mac release cycle, I decided to wait until the summer of this year when I planned to buy a maxed out 11” and that’s when the 15” Retina spoiled my plans. I spent serious time in the Apple store with a 15” Retina in one hand and the an 11” Air in the other and came to the tough decision that neither would now do. The 15” was just two big to travel 2/3 days a week and I knew that having a non-retina display was too much to give up so I made the very grown up decision to wait for a 13” Retina to come along. 4 months latter it did. I got mine today - the mid point 256GB i5 - and here are a few first impressions.
The punchline - It’s not a 13” Retina MacBook Pro it’s a 13” Retina MacBook Air.
I don’t mean this in a pejorative way. I don’t need my mobile machine to be a pro machine so I’m cool with it. I just think it’s a function of Apple’s naming conventions that they’ve ended up in a funny place here. If you look at the specs and say to yourself what would I change if I was making a 13” retina machine that had decent battery life, that was the thinnest we could make it and had the minimum specs to still work - you would end up with this machine. It’s not an Air because of the physics of the battery requirements but to all intents and purposes - it is. Conversely, Apple could have made this machine a lot more “Pro” - Quad core processors, discrete GPU, 16/32 GB of Ram could all have been included, but haven’t been. These things are in the 15” model with better value for money than the 13”.
For power/business users - If you want one machine that can replace a desk top and be used in different locations around the home and occasionally travel then the 15” is the no-brainer option but if you want a machine that can be genuinely mobile and perhaps be used in combination with a big machine at home then I think there is a real choice between which compromise suits you best:
An 11” Air which gives you super light weight at the cost of display.
A 13” Retina which gives you super display at the cost of weight and bulk.
After 1 day I can report that the display is bloody brilliant. It works fine at the top scaled spec of 1680 by 1050 and for the first time I can use two major apps side by side without tabbing which is much more productive for me. There is an ominous warning - “Using scaled resolution may affect performance” on the settings screen which pertains to that written above about how far away this really is from a Pro machine.
It’s also a lot heavier to my hands than the 11” Air. It feels like a computer again. The best way I can describe it - I wouldn’t think twice, if I was standing a metre away from the sofa about tossing my Air onto it like a magazine, it feels light enough that it will never come to any harm but I’d never toss this machine, it feels heavy enough to bounce off and make a hole in floor.
How these two compromises will trade off over time - I have no idea. It will take a month or two to know and least one go of that long run between terminals at O’Hare with my case hanging off my shoulder.
In terms of speed and heat, so far so good. I have had chance to run some HD video with no noticeable warming. Battery life is loads better than my 11” Air. Speed is a bit more difficult to judge as I have been doing all those set up jobs you do on a new laptop and that’s a reminder of one of Apple’s two present deadly sins - more stuff being modal in it’s operation. (The other being skeuomorphism of course)
As I set up 10 or 15 email accounts in preferences, I just want to bang in the SMTP and IMAP server settings and move on. I don’t want to have to wait whilst each one is tested over a slow internet connection watching a spinning beach ball. This OSX not iOS - use a background process not a modal process. It used to be that the only app that gave me the beach ball of death was MS Office suite but actually the latest version is almost faultless. Now it’s only Apple settings apps (which all seem to keep you on hold whilst the app communicates with the server), Safari and iTunes giving me the dreaded ball - in iTunes’ case for about half of my total use time. Hopefully this is about to be fixed but I digress.
It generally feels pretty snappy, faster than my Air and about the same as my New/old Mac Pro which runs a 500GB SSD. The first time I opened iPhoto it took 25 seconds to launch but subsequent times it’s about 1.5 seconds.
One other thought - When switching from reading this draft which I typed on the Retina to my desk top to post it. Suddenly the 27” cinema display looks really rough. I’d never noticed this before but today I can see all the flaws in the text.
Much more to report after a few weeks use rather than a few hours but to the question of will I ever love this device? We’ll see, I doubt it - I can already foresee a 10/11” retina device, weighing less than a kilo and sexier than Keira Knightley landing somewhere in 2014 and I think that will probably be the next love.
In the sprit of all proficient reviewers - I first should declare an interest. Aimee Mann has been an important part of my life for the best part of twenty years or more accurately, her music has.
Like many, I discovered Aimee Mann through her, ‘4th of July’ single and the accompanying album, ‘Whatever’. The music from this and the follow up album, ‘I’m with Stupid’ was essentially a key part of the sound track to my twenties. I have lost count of the number of people I introduced to these two works, explaining that they were quite simply the work of the best female singer song writer around.
Most folk agreed. Occasionally, someone didn’t, which meant they didn’t have enough taste to remain a good friend.
Mann’s early work had a quality that’s almost impossible to describe, a balance of melody and energy combined with a poignancy of lyrics, delivered with a lightness of touch that allows instant accessibility but with an impact that gets deeper, more fascinating and more captivating the more you listen. Others achieve this, Bernard Butler, Van Morrison, Mike Scott and of course, Lennon & McCartney but 99 % of artists don’t. Or at least don’t consistently.
The albums that followed, Bachelor No2 & Lost in space continued this brilliant evolution, delivering songs that stand the test of time and still make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, even after the 1000th listen. If you want to fill yourself with energy listen to ‘Longshot’, if you want to make yourself smile listen to ‘Ghost World’ or ‘Stupid Thing’ and if you want to take a moment to dwell on the raw reality of human relationships listen to ‘Par for the course’ or ‘Wise up’
‘I’ve Had It’ is my permanent sound track for New York. I have never travelled in from JFK without this piping from my phone to my headphones or back in the day, ….my Walkman.
Lately though, Aimee and I have grown apart a little. Her two most recent works prior to ‘Charmer’, ‘Smilers’ and ‘The forgotten Arm’ just did not have the same impact. They are both proficient works and ones you should have in your collection but there were two things that kept them off my frequent play list; The style of the melody moved a little from California pop to a more country feel and the songs themselves became a little too heavy or bleak in their lyrical content. I can admire a story about a drug addict loser, with dissipating health and a tendency to beat his wife but I don’t enjoy listening to it every day in my daily commute.
So, it was with more than a little apprehension that I pressed play on ‘Charmer’, Mann’s latest release. I’d seen the fantastic video release of ‘Labrador’ and dared to hope that this album could be a return to her brilliant best. It’s better than that. It filled my heart with joy at the thought of the pleasure most of the simple tracks of ‘Charmer’ will bring in years to come.
There are some instant dazzlers in addition to ‘Labrador’. ‘Disappeared’ has a chorus that falls right in with Mann’s best work and a retro synth line that’s mesmerizing and ‘Crazy Town’ is another of her super pop works that would crack a smile on the face of the coolest hipster. It’s worth getting the iTunes version for the bonus track, ‘Brothers’ Keeper’ which is delivered in the vaudeville style of the best of the 90’s work.
The standard of musicianship on all of Mann’s work has always been incredibly high and ‘Charmer’ is no exception. What makes it so enchanting is that it’s delivered with a tone of understatement - you just never feel anyone has to try - and it’s all the better for it.
It isn’t perfect, ‘Slip and Roll’ recalls some of the issues I described about ‘Forgotten Arm’ and ‘Gumby’ is a little one paced but this is all relative. ‘Charmer’ will easily be one of the best albums you could buy this year.
If you are familiar with Mann’s work and maybe have just drifted away from it. Buy Charmer, it will remind you why she is one of the most important song writers around.
If you are not familiar with Mann’s work then I envy you. You must buy “Whatever’, ‘I’m with Stupid’ and ‘Charmer’ at once. Today. You’ll open a window into music that will change the quality of your life. Trust me, it will.
Unless, of course, you don’t have any taste.
As reported by the Daily Telegraph
Nick Clegg’s office attempts to withdraw ‘bigot’ comment about opponents of gay marriage
Mr Clegg’s comments about “bigots” were issued at 3pm yesterday and, within a few minutes, they were being widely reported on the internet. At 4.30pm, Mr Clegg’s office issued an email asking to “recall” the original statement, then sent a new version of the speech. The amended text removed the word “bigots” and replaced it with “some people”.
Colin Hart, of the Coalition for Marriage, accused Mr Clegg of “intolerance” and said he was a “coward” for withdrawing the comments. He said: “If he believes that 70 per cent of the population who oppose his plans are bigots, he should say it, rather than trying to withdraw this disgraceful comments after press-releasing them.”
Anyone who has seen an episode of ‘The thick of it’ will be able to picture the phone call in the Whitehall office.
“The PM has just seen our plans for the Gay marriage speech and he says absolutely no ‘Bigots’”
“OK. Can someone phone Vince Cable then and tell him he can’t go to tonight’s speech?”
“No, he didn’t mean that, he meant take the word out!”
It’s funny when the political correctness turns to farce in this way but imagine if politicians were actually allowed to say what they think. How much more quickly would we be able to cut to the chase? Now I know that Nick Clegg believes 70% of his electorate and paymasters are bigots, I feel a little better about thinking, as I have for some time, that he is a vacuous fool not worthy of serious attention.
Many web commentators have posted about the poor judgement shown by John Browett in his first major call since his £36m appointment as head of Apple retail - as initially reported by ifoapplestore. In a nutshell, he dramatically cut staff costs at a time when everybody in the business could see growth was more important than efficiency at this point in Apple’s growth curve.
“Even if the customer experience is compromised” are Allen’s words, summarising what he heard from his sources, not Browett’s. But if they’re accurate, it’s hard to conclude anything other than that Apple made a terrible decision hiring him.
This has the stench of a man looking to make a name for himself, not someone that’s doing what’s best for Apple or more importantly, its customers. To take one of the most heralded retail experiences in the world and gut it, stripping it of everything that makes an Apple store what it is, just doesn’t make sense.
Back in February, pencil note posted this piece with the proposition that history will show that the appointment of Browett would be Cook’s first big mistake. At the time we said:
Worryingly, Browett’s skills honed at Wharton and Boston Consulting Group, lie in those same operational areas as Cook. At Tesco, it was said, that Browett could tell you the cost per unit of any piece of the supply chain but couldn’t instinctively prioritise the right things for customers.
The next telling thing, will be the way Cook responds to his bad call. A poor leader will hang in there hoping for a different outcome, a good one will act decisively and learn from the mistake.
On joining the board of a FTSE 50 company a decade ago, I recall a wizened old director had a favourite phrase, ‘People prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.’
He would wheel this phrase out whenever we had to make difficult decisions particularly in relation to job losses and restructuring. At the time, I thought it a little trite and convenient but actually, over the years, I have come to agree with it’s underlying meaning.
It’s undoubtedly true in relation to capital markets and it’s a truth that governments should minded to when considering the next steps in the Greek and wider Euro crisis.
I predicted in this blog a couple of months ago, that the lack of political support for austerity measures would probably spell the end of the latest rescue plan and ultimately Greece’s exit from the Euro. Whilst it gives no pleasure to see that materialising as Greeks decide to return to the polls today, thoughts do turn to what should happen next.
Most of the public political comment centres around the difficulties that will be encountered by the contraction of the European market and whilst it is true that this will be a big issue, it pails into insignificance compared to the issue that politicians don’t want to talk about - which is the contagion risk of defaulting debt in the range of 500 billion to 1 trillion Euros that will be suffered by other European (and worldwide) banks, businesses and ultimately European governments.
It’s time those governments grasped the nettle, remembered that, ‘People prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty’ and took some action that reflects the truth of this very difficult situation. They should agree that each of the 17 Euro countries move to their own shadow Euro (Greek Euro, Italian Euro, French Euro etc.). On a quarterly (or monthly) basis, each of these shadow Euro’s should have it’s exchange rate to the German Euro, decided and guaranteed by the ECB, with an explicit guarantee that the resources of all sovereign nations will be used to maintain this pegged value. The starting point would have the Greek Euro at say, 60% value, the Italian Euro at 95% value, the Spanish Euro at 90% value and pretty much all others at or close to 100% value. Each time the ECB had to make it’s calls on the exchange peg, it could make a judgement on whether the fiscal and monetary measures of each nation were working sufficiently to edge it closer to 100% parity or further away from the German Euro.
Over time, each individual currency can be managed to its correct position and a natural selection will take place as to which currencies remain, in what will look more like a Florin for those nations with the will for political as well as financial integration. Those that diverge, rather than converge, could then hive off into their own currency at the right rate, in a managed way, at the right time.
This would give two things, one the capital markets the way to price the risks and over what time periods, two, the surety that the eventual break up will be managed in an orderly, non-cataclysmic way.
Of course, as all banks are forced to re-value the assets and mark to market bond and CDS exposures, it will create an immense amount of misery but as we know, people prefer…..
In the late eighties, I was in my early twenties and living in London for the first time in my life. I arrived in London aged 23, having grown up in a large city in Northern England and having spent my early working life in provincial towns. My employer transferred me to London from Scunthorpe. I was working in Hampstead and quickly bought a place by the river in Wapping.
I’d travelled quite extensively in the UK but living in London was different. Being in London was quite simply, a fucking revelation.
I’d always been a reader, a bit of a book worm. Before London, it felt like I had two different forms of consciousness; one where I escaped to my literature, the worlds of Le-Carre or Amis or Waugh and one where I plodded into work, dealt with small people, doing inconsequential things, in incidental towns. These people were nice, safe - they were people like me, I guess, but they were 1 million miles away from the exciting folks that inhabited the world of the books that I read, the music I heard and the films I watched.
On arrival in London these two worlds were smashed together with colossal force - they became one. It felt like I had stepped from the audience onto the stage. Real life was happening all around me and I could take part, participate and shape it. It became instantly obvious to me that London was where I was always meant to be. It was destiny, home, where the grown ups were, the real people. It made me giddy, cynical, experimental, more than occasionally unbearable but most of all, it inspired and excited me. It gave me a sense of potential and ambition. It made me realise that I could shape, even perhaps define events, rather than just read about them.
My days off work during those early years in London were marvellous. My girlfriend and I would wake early to the sounds of the river, stagger out to buy our first coffee to wash away the excess of the previous night and then (and this was the most delightful thing) we would wander. Wander without destination or without a plan. We’d set off on the south bank of the river, walking and talking and we would see where the city took us. Maybe to the Jazz of the Barbican, maybe to the second hand books of the South Bank centre, to the dodgy pubs of Soho, the landscapes of Turner at the Tate or to an impromptu music gig at the Worlds end in Finsbury Park.
The absolute luxury of this, it’s intoxication, was the abandon and intrigue of following your nose, letting one thing lead to another, watching the crowd, following the crowd and discovering, time after time, new experiences - art, sounds, tastes - Life. Not always good of course, some times a little scary or unpleasant but always exciting and often thrilling.
I’m older now. Living in the sticks with a couple of kids and big house in country. I still get a tiny whiff of the euphoric feeling when I pitch up in London for work but I get it more now in another place and that’s when I’m wandering through the almost infinite halls, corridors and possibilities of the web. I love having the time to lazily click from place to place, looking for the new, the innovative, the cool, the challenging, the inspiration.
It’s not quite Charring Cross road of 1989, you have make do without the smells and tastes. It’s not in 3D but occasionally - in fact, actually, most days, you come across something that’s really quite cool, that maybe changes just slightly, the way you think about stuff or the way you look at the world.
Occasionally, you come across something really cool. Like this - Theresa Couchman
Lloyds group today confirmed that their base mortgage rate at their Halifax brand in the UK is to rise and this follows on from a similar announcement from RBS.
The BBC reports:
On Friday, RBS raised the rate on two of its mortgages from 3.75% to 4%.
The Halifax said the rise - from 3.5% to 3.99% - was due to the higher cost of raising funds for mortgages from both savers and the financial markets.
The changes come just a few days before the third anniversary of the Bank of England cutting its bank rate to a historic low of just 0.5%.
The weak pound has also been making oil, which is bought in US dollars, more expensive for British buyers.The price of Brent crude oil hit a 43-month high on Thursday, peaking at $128.40 a barrel in New York.
Let this commentator go on the record and state that this is the inflection point. Today is the day that interest rates in the UK started to rise. JR
Let this commentator go on the record and state that this is the inflection point. Today is the day that interest rates in the UK started to rise.
The news this week that Twitter will be inserting Ad tweets into the time line that you view on your iPhone will not come as a surprise to most people. The punch line is called well in this Gigaom article by Mathew Ingram:
For Twitter, it’s about justifying the $8-billion market value it currently has as a result of raising funds from a host of venture investors such as Russia’s Yuri Milner.
It suddenly feels like the exciting adolescent companies Google, Facebook and Twitter, those bohemian prospects that had so much potential - companies that were helping break the mould of IBM and Microsoft, rejecting corporate drudgery and it’s inevitable side effects. These companies have grown up and started paying their mortgage like the rest of us.
At SxSW four years ago, using Twitter to communicate with fellow travellers felt cool, edgy and distinctly alternative. Now that same service will be serving up McDonald’s Ad tweets each day to the phones of 300 million users.
Of course this was inevitable, as the behaviours of ‘do the cool thing today, build the user base & pay tomorrow’ move to ‘Time to pay’. It is an analogue of the life stages of all of us.
It’s likely that the VC invested in Twitter will want to materialise a return through an IPO in 2013. It will probably IPO at a $10bn valuation and that in turn will require a bottom line of $1 bn with a 10%+ annual growth trajectory. This is all do-able but over time Twitter will feel more like watching prime-time commercial television and less like a personal, cutting edge communication tool.
The need to deliver this relentless growth to markets is probably the single greatest threat to the longevity of the popularity of Google, Facebook and Twitter as customers always ultimately dislike the things you have to do to keep growing the money machine.
But imagine if about 36 months ago, before Twitter’s valuation broke the $1 bn level, Dorsey had gone a different way and structured Twitter into a not for profit partnership or co-operative. Once you have your own $100m and your initial backers have been repaid 20 times money, legacy becomes more important to most people than the next $1,000m.
It could have been different.
I’d contend that the very best way to have secured Twitter’s enduring legacy would have been to free it from the shackles of those market economics. Once Twitter had critical mass, if all it had to do was pay for it’s operating costs and NPD, It could have grown the short messaging service, free from Ads (enough income could have generated by selling the data hose to corporates), and grown into the adjacent areas of being an invincible provider of social, email and search. Invincible because compared to Google, Facebook and others, it could have been the only one owned by it’s users, not needing to pollute it’s operations with Ads or privacy concerns, able to shape itself only worried about the needs of customers not by ‘where is the next $500m going to come from?’
It could have become the very internet itself.
It’s too late for Twitter but maybe food for though for next ‘Facebook’ where ever that might be in it’s evolution right now.