A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each week, I compose a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, business, digital communications and marketing in order to keep leaders up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in your job. And now you have the option of just subscribing to this newsletter if you wish.
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- The European Space Agency (ESA) celebrated this week as craft Philae landed on a comet after a 10-year journey. Livestreams, photos, tweets, media outlets and drone lovers everywhere followed the historic event. (Rosetta)
- In China, 11/11 is known as Singles Day (because of the four lonely 1's that make up the date) - it's the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day. And it blows away Black Friday in terms of sales. (eMarketer)
- In fact, last year, Alibaba did $5.75 billion that day; this year they surged to $9.3 billion. (Yahoo)
- But at least you weren't the guy who spent $82,000 on 99 iPhone 6s, arranged them in a mall in the shape of a heart, proposed to his girlfriend - and she said no. Ouch. Someone's got a broken heart. On the plus side, does anyone need an iPhone 6? (TheNanFang)
- Inside the wild, wacky world of Shinghy, AOL's in-house "digital prophet." It's amazing that a network that's so downtrodden has the luxury of employing such an…individual. (The New Yorker)
- Forrester has noted that the average CMO tenure will rise to 60 months by the end of 2015 - a significant bump from the 45 months cited earlier this year by Spencer Stuart. It's likely that with more attention to digital and data, they need more time to make progress on these significant fronts. (WSJ CMO Today)
- Legendary racing establishment Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby) has acquired gaming company Big Fish for $850 million. (re/code)
- Net neutrality was in the news this week, as President Obama threw down the gauntlet. (USA Today)
- Naturally, the opposition was there to poke and prod (Twitter), but others provided perspective and humor. (The Oatmeal)
- To boil down the issue, we give you one of John Oliver's usual scathing videos that explains it in more understandable terms. Cable companies have been focusing on regulations and the FCC code and other arcane policy areas, because "If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring."
- Facebook's mandated use of Messenger has netted it over 500 million monthly users of the app. It's still less than half of the total Facebook population, but it just goes to show you what a forced implementation will do. (The Verge)
- Facebook began taking a stand against Ebola with a banner atop everyone's News Feed that asked if they wanted to help to eradicate it. When a user asked what Facebook itself was doing about it, Mark Zuckerberg himself jumped into the thread with the retort courteous. (AdWeek)
- Big product news: users will now be able to record and upload video natively on Twitter beginning in 2015, making it a rival of YouTube. (Variety)
- Twitter also announced they're working on an instant, personalized timeline for new users who don’t want to spend time cultivating one on their own, and the ability to make public conversations private - something that might come in handy for customer service teams. (Twitter)
- With recent high-profile departures of its VPs of product and engineering, heads of media and of news, creative director and others, some ask why do Twitter's executives keep leaving? (Slate)
- Bill Cosby misjudged his Twitter audience when he asked for a meme to be created of one of his images. The public responded with references to some unsavory allegations in his past. (NY Post)
- Instagram made some changes this week: the Explore function opens up discoverability to allow users to search people as well as photos; and users now have the ability to clean up their typos with edits after they post. (Instagram blog)
- In addition to discoverability and accessibility, Instagram is working on measures such as "time spent." (re/code)
- More top brands are gravitating to Instagram, with 86 of the Interbrand 100 having accounts. (MarketingCharts)
- Yahoo! is expanding its video footprint with its purchase of video ad company Brightroll for $640 million. The move also gives them an opportunity to close the gap in advertising revenue with Google and Facebook; Yahoo's share of the $43 billion digital advertising market has dropped to 5.8% this year. (The Guardian)
- Pinfluencers - excuse me, Pinterest Influencers - now have talent agents. (re/code)
- Had we known that bookmarking was a skill, we would have sought out representation for our Delicious feed years go. We'd settle for a Flipboard broker at this point.
- Peers.org was recently rebranded as a site that makes it easier for workers to find, compare and manage work in the sharing economy. (Peers.org)
- Quirky and General Electric are showing their vision for the connected home. (TechCrunch)
- Uber is on its way to raise between $1-2 billion, meaning the company could be valued at close to $30 billion. (WSJ)
- Whether they get there unscathed is another question. Prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson took note of Uber trying to sink funding for competitor Lyft [noted in our last issue], saying that it's not only "unethical and unsavory," but also ineffective. (A VC)
- And it looks like Fred is right: Lyft's rides and revenue grew five-fold in 2014. (Fast Company)
- See last section below for a longer read about taxis and GPS
|Uber's intention for the taxi industry|
Metrics / Measurement / Big Data
- You've heard the expression "correlation does not equal causation," right? It means that while things may be related, they are not necessarily ordered action/reaction. But flip it around and you might be surprised to learn that causation can exist without correlation. It might be a bit mind-boggling, and therefore the full article is worth a read. TL;DR version: it's the data equivalent of saying "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you." (Awaken Your Superhero)
- It's always been difficult to reach employees that aren't deskbound. And how would you measure it, even if you were able to reach them? Red E App has it figured out. (Cite World)
Legal / HR
- The banner ad was born of necessity, in a rush, and not because anyone thought it was a particularly good idea. The story of the rise of native content. (New York Times)
- 10 charts that every content marketer needs to see cover the dominant social sharing sites, the reasons people use social media, the impact of long-form content, metrics for content and more. (Contently)
When You Have Time: Essential Reading / Listening / Watching
- This is a good sign that podcasting is continuing to catch on: a producer from This American Life raised $1.5 million for a new podcast startup he's calling Gimlet. We'll drink to that. (WSJ Digits blog)
- "Serial" is one of the fastest-growing podcasts, according to Apple. It's so popular, there's a podcast about it. (Forbes)
- It came as a pleasant surprise to find MarketingPodcasts.com, a searchable database of ranked marketing podcasts.
- A fascinating look at the future of strategy from the founder of McKinsey's strategy practice, a London Business School professor and a former corporate strategist. (McKinsey)
- Amazon has long been an ally of the publishing industry; after a long feud with Hachette, the two have finally reached a deal on ebook pricing. (NPR)
- So just how did Amazon get on the wrong side of Hachette and a number of authors? (Vanity Fair)
- When you pit GPS against London's legendary taxi driver test The Knowledge - a weird city’s weird solution to the riddle of itself - how does it fare? (New York Times Magazine)
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons