An oral history of the many ways technology is changing the way we buy, sell, play, communicate...and live.

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Xiaomi is an example of a Chinese company succeeding through innovation and creativity, precisely the characteristics they’re supposed to have in short supply. The company’s phones run on Android, the operating system available free from Google and used by Samsung, among others. Lei makes his phones stand out through sleek design, software that anyone can customize and prices rivals won’t touch. He’s said that, more than revenue or profit, he wants to create products that make people “scream.”

China’s Xiaomi Plans to Give IPhone Cool at Half Price - Bloomberg

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In the early days, you would have AOL email, or Compuserve email or Prodigy email. Then SMTP came on as this underlying protocol and all of a sudden, if you are on AOL, you could email someone who was on Prodigy. It changed everything.

The thing about Bitcoin is Bitcoin is like SMTP, so you have the Chinese banking system and you have the German banking system, which is really the EU now, and you have the Brazilian banking system and you have the U.S. banking system. They all kind of sit on top of Bitcoin, but if you want to do Bitcoin in the United States, you’ve got to use a Bitcoin provider that’s connected into the U.S. banking system or there’s no way for you to get your money in and out of Bitcoin.

What’s happened is, these companies that have gotten built up on top of Bitcoin tend to be geography-focused. So Blockchain.info is really Western Europe-focused and BTC China is focused on China and Coinbase is focused on the U.S. What’s interesting about Coinbase is they have a million customers in the United States, so it’s not even a global customer base. If they go to Europe, which I hope that they will do, they could potentially double in size just by opening up a new market for them.

I just really like the technology of Bitcoin. The thing that I believe in more than anything is that when you have technologies that open up markets, lots of good things happen.

The thing that was always amazing about the Internet is that anybody could put a Web server on the Internet and then anybody anywhere in the world could open up their browser and connect to that Web server and nothing else had to happen. That was the only thing that had to happen. Bitcoin’s kind of the same way. It’s a completely open system. Nobody controls it. It’s not owned by a company. It just is. It’s Bitcoin.

I think as a platform to build stuff on, the way that the Internet was in the early ‘90s, it’s just amazing. I think the architecture with these blockchains is going to get replicated for lots of different applications. It won’t be Bitcoin. It’ll be Namecoin for identity, it’ll be Mastercoin for exchanges. There’s all these new blockchains that are coming up that support different use cases. I think this architecture is really, really important. That’s what got me excited about it.

Fred Wilson Interview - Business Insider

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I think social is here to stay. The idea that people use the Internet to connect and share with other people is, I think, a forever phenomenon.

I think a lot of what we’re seeing is a reaction to Facebook and how Facebook was so dominant as a social platform for the past 5-10 years. The things that Facebook forced you to do — to use your real name, to post something publicly that everybody could see … these are things that people ultimately had a bad reaction to.

We use the word ephemeral, but to me, part of Snapchat is the fact that it’s controllable. It’s more about the control than the ephemerality. With Snapchat, I know who’s going to see this and I know it’s not going to move out beyond that place.

With anonymity, for a long time it was all about real names. Mark Zuckerberg was like, “Real names is it, and anonymous is bad.” Now all of a sudden we see a lot of innovation happening with people using anonymity. I think all of this might be just a phase we’re going through.

Fred Wilson Interview - Business Insider

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Already, the e-commerce giant’s ad unit, which began to ramp up in 2011, is nearing a billion dollars in revenue, according to eMarketer. Media buyers say that growth has come even without an especially aggressive effort to lure them. Led by Seattle-based business development executive Jeff Blackburn and New York-based sales executives Lisa Utzschneider and Mark Mannino, Amazon’s ad division sells banner ads on the Amazon.com website and on Amazon-owned websites such as movie site IMDB, as well as on third-party sites. More recently the company has been displaying ads on the home screen of its Kindle e-readers and tablets.
Yet Amazon walks a delicate line in exploiting its most important asset: an enormous cache of shopping data that it can use to target people based on their in-store browsing history and their actual purchases. That, mixed with a corporate culture that has long valued secrecy and an insistence on making partners play by its rules, has made Amazon a controversial presence in the ad world.
Some advertising industry executives say the company is inordinately secretive about its strategy and extraordinarily stingy with any sort of data-sharing. Others say they’re comfortable with its approach, at least for now.

Amazon Ad Business Sparks Controversy—and Growth - The Information

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This is the first time Sonos has enabled this kind of third-party app support for a music service in the U.S. Up until now, users always had to use the Sonos app to play any music on their speakers. And while that app saw a significant refresh a few weeks ago, it’s still not a full replacement for native apps, which tend to have more custom features.

Sonos began its path towards third-party app integration last year, when it enabled users of China’s QQ messaging service to launch music directly from an IM conversation. Bender told me that the company plans to bring direct casting capabilities to additional services in the future.

Sonos adds Google Play Music, enables casting from within Google’s app — Tech News and Analysis

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User-generated content (UGC) is media created by your peers. It includes status updates, blog posts and restaurant reviews — any content from non-professionals without any real motivation besides adding an opinion to the sea of already existing opinions. In a more logical world, it isn’t the type of content we’d trust over a professional’s review.

Ipsos’ study, however, reveals that millennials trust UGC just as much as professional reviews. UGC is also 20% more influential when it comes to purchasing and 35% more memorable than other types of media. You can chalk that up to the fact that millennials spend five hours per day with UGC.

 (via Millennials Trust User-Generated Content 50% More Than Other Media)

User-generated content (UGC) is media created by your peers. It includes status updates, blog posts and restaurant reviews — any content from non-professionals without any real motivation besides adding an opinion to the sea of already existing opinions. In a more logical world, it isn’t the type of content we’d trust over a professional’s review.

Ipsos’ study, however, reveals that millennials trust UGC just as much as professional reviews. UGC is also 20% more influential when it comes to purchasing and 35% more memorable than other types of media. You can chalk that up to the fact that millennials spend five hours per day with UGC.

(via Millennials Trust User-Generated Content 50% More Than Other Media)

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(via Qwilt - Blog - The First Unified Transparent Caching and Video Delivery Platform)

(via Qwilt - Blog - The First Unified Transparent Caching and Video Delivery Platform)

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he way people manage their money is undergoing a major revolution, with the number of payments made through banking applications on mobile phones doubling in a year, according to research published on Monday.
Around 1,800 transactions are now conducted each minute on Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and other smartphones.
The British Bankers’ Association (BBA), whose research is the most comprehensive study of customer habits undertaken to date, said daily usage had doubled in 12 months.
In total, 12.4m people have downloaded banking apps, which allow customers to check their balance and make payments at the touch of a button. They used their devices to conduct 18.6m transactions a week last year, up from 9.1m in 2012.
Writing for The Telegraph today, Anthony Browne, chief executive of the BBA, said the pace of the growth in mobile banking was “mind-boggling” and “punctures the myth that banks innovate only for themselves”.

Banking technology brings ‘seismic decline’ in branch transactions - Telegraph

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(via Why Is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing? More Competition And Limited Attention | TechCrunch)

(via Why Is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing? More Competition And Limited Attention | TechCrunch)

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Rule 1: “The war room and the meetings are for solving problems. There are plenty of other venues where people devote their creative energies to shifting blame.”

Rule 2: “The ones who should be doing the talking are the people who know the most about an issue, not the ones with the highest rank. If anyone finds themselves sitting passively while managers and executives talk over them with less accurate information, we have gone off the rails, and I would like to know about it.” (Explained Dickerson later: “If you can get the managers out of the way, the engineers will want to solve things.”)

Rule 3: “We need to stay focused on the most urgent issues, like things that will hurt us in the next 24—48 hours.”

The stand-up culture—identify problem, solve problem, try again—was typical of the rescue squad’s ethic.

Obama’s Trauma Team: Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov — Printout — TIME (via interestingsnippets)

(via interestingsnippets)

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Silicon Valley has become one of the most ageist places in America. Tech luminaries who otherwise pride themselves on their dedication to meritocracy don’t think twice about deriding the not-actually-old

Silicon’s Valley’s Brutal Ageism | New Republic (via interestingsnippets)

(via interestingsnippets)

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(via Understanding the Internet of Things: Towards a Smart Planet)

(via Understanding the Internet of Things: Towards a Smart Planet)

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Mr. Zuckerberg clearly has an impeccable business sense for not only what’s next, but also what’s next right now. He acquired Instagram at the exact right time, when the cameras in smartphones were just good enough, and photo filters were making people feel more confident about sharing images. He bought WhatsApp when people wanted to text message and chat with friends and family without the fear of added charges from a phone provider. He’s also picked up dozens of smaller start-ups that were created at just the right time.

But I’m not convinced that virtual reality is ready for right now. I’m not even convinced that it’s ready for five years from now.

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All of Us (by Internet.org)

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(via https://twitter.com/MKBHD/status/449541635605819393/photo/1)

(via https://twitter.com/MKBHD/status/449541635605819393/photo/1)

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