“We’re probably the last big website. As far as I know, we’re the last startup to become high-profile on the Web.
Two farmers bought a truckload of watermelons, paying five dollars apiece for them. Then they drove to the market and sold all their watermelons for four dollars each. After counting their money at the end of the day, they realized that they’d ended up with less money than they’d started with.
“See!” said the one farmer to the other. “I told you we shoulda got a bigger truck.”
Explaining the failure of The Daily, M G Siegler touches upon an interesting conundrum for content creators looking for distribution & monetization on internet & mobile:
The other element at play here is the (lack of) maturation of the distribution model…Such goals [500 million subscribers] shouldn’t be unreasonable for a popular and well-run publication, but there has to be an ecosystem that works together to make it happen. Several blogs like this one took off because other blogs would link to it and vice versa. An ecosystem formed. Perhaps Apple and other tablet makers need better syntax and tools for one tablet publication to reference another.
The advertising model works for some content, but for a lot of it, it basically sucks. And the direct payment layers aren’t anywhere near as seamless as they need to be on the standard web. Paywalls are called “walls” for a reason.
There should be an easy, quick way to directly pay a reasonable rate for content you appreciate. Apple has created that layer, but the publishers have whiffed badly when it comes to using it.
Put simply: If you build smartphone & tablet apps, you get great monetization, but poor distribution. On the other hand, plain web offers great distribution but no real path to sustainable monetization.
Excellent profile of Berkshire-Hathway’s portfolio manager in Bloomberg
Best & likely the most accurate explanation of Apple’s price action:
Suppose you were a mutual fund manager and your strategic models allowed for a maximum 8% allocation in any individual stock. What would have happened to your Apple holdings in 2012? As of September 21st, Apple was up 74.9% year-to-date. Apple allocations at the largest mutual funds had grown to between 13% and 15% of total holdings with the fiscal year end approaching on October 31st. Because of Apple’s strength, because it was such an outlier when compared to the rest of the market, these money managers were forced to re-balance their portfolios in order to comply with their risk models. The Apple slingshots, or in other words the deeper than unexpected selloffs, are caused by systematic institutional re-balancing. This is the unintended consequence of Apple’s status as the most widely held stock of most hedge funds, indexes, pension funds and mutual funds. Apple’s slingshot selloffs occur because of its strength, not because of its weakness. Apple is an outlier.
Brilliant as usual, especially on the topic of technological development:
Tinkering by trial and error has traditionally played a larger role than directed science in Western invention and innovation. Indeed, advances in theoretical science have most often emerged from technological development, which is closely tied to entrepreneurship. Just think of the number of famous college dropouts in the computer industry.
But I don’t mean just any version of trial and error. There is a crucial requirement to achieve antifragility: The potential cost of errors needs to remain small; the potential gain should be large. It is the asymmetry between upside and downside that allows antifragile tinkering to benefit from disorder and uncertainty.
Consider Britain, whose historic rise during the Industrial Revolution came from tinkerers who gave us innovations like iron making, the steam engine and textile manufacturing. The great names of the golden years of English science were hobbyists, not academics: Charles Darwin, Henry Cavendish, William Parsons, the Rev. Thomas Bayes. Britain saw its decline when it switched to the model of bureaucracy-driven science.
America has emulated this earlier model, in the invention of everything from cybernetics to the pricing formulas for derivatives. They were developed by practitioners in trial-and-error mode, drawing continuous feedback from reality. To promote antifragility, we must recognize that there is an inverse relationship between the amount of formal education that a culture supports and its volume of trial-and-error by tinkering. Innovation doesn’t require theoretical instruction, what I like to compare to “lecturing birds on how to fly.”
“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.”