Worse Than Paying for Online Reviews

September 3, 2012

We’ve seen a lot of righteous indignation following David Streitfeld’s recent New York Times article on the occasional practice of paying for positive book reviews on Amazon. I read the story and moved on without giving it much thought: I assumed that everyone knew that the review system on Amazon was rigged. (more…)

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Facebook is Running Scared

April 25, 2012

There’s an excellent article in the London Financial Times that’s the best I’ve yet seen describing the real challenge facing Facebook and by simple extension the Internet, as it exists today. (more…)

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How Would You Save Barnes & Noble?

March 30, 2012

What is it about the anonymity of the web that turns us instantly into triumphalist armchair critics? Best Buy today announced another disappointing quarter and we-who-know-all proclaim that the company is doomed, as are all retailers, and Amazon will be the only company left on the planet. (more…)

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Amazon.com Continues to Flow

October 25, 2011

If you run a $50 billion company and announce that your sales are up 44% going into the holiday season shouldn’t Wall Street give you a standing ovation? Not if you’re Amazon and your profit margins are, once again, taking a short-term hit for the long-term gain.

What part of this 2009 message from Jeff Bezos did Wall Street fail to understand? (more…)

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Airbnb and the Comfort of Strangers

July 31, 2011

“Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”
— Cesare Pavese, quoted in The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan

The moral of my Airbnb saga is simple: this company is still using training wheels while it’s being funded like a mature adult. (more…)

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