Bundling, Unbundling and Ebook Subscription Services

August 5, 2014

How to Succeed in Business by Bundling – and Unbundling is a thought-provoking interview with Marc Andreessen and Jim Barksdale online at the Harvard Business Review. Marc Andreessen was the co-founder of Netscape. Jim Barksdale is a veteran of IBM, FedEx and AT&T Wireless “brought on a few months after Netscape’s founding to provide adult supervision as its CEO.” Both are now tech company VC investors. Barksdale, in his early 70s, is one of those rare executives whose advice reflects a depth of experience, much longed for in this age of the “serial entrepreneur.” (more…)

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Flash vs. HTML 5: The Early Years

October 14, 2010

The future of Adobe’s Flash format is murky. I first glanced at Flash technology’s murk when Steve Jobs launched an attack last April. Jobs stated that “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice…. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Jobs pointed to HTML5, a W3C proposed standard, as the preferred alternative. The W3C released a new working draft of HTML5 on October 12. The development work is continuing at a near-feverish pace (by W3C standards of developing standards).

HTML5 is hot. In a May blog entry I covered Scribd’s dramatic commitment to HTML5 in lieu of Flash.

In September Computerworld offered:

The W3C is investigating the possibility of incorporating voice recognition and speech synthesis interfaces within Web pages. A new incubator group will file a report a year from now summarizing the feasibility of adding voice and speech features into HTML, the W3C’s standard for rendering Web pages. AT&T, Google, Microsoft and the Mozilla Foundation, among others, all have engineers participating in this effort.

html5-affect-seoSource: Varologic SEO Blog

But not all the news is positive. ZDNet reported this week that Facebook found that Flash still outperforms HTML5 for video on mobile devices (albeit modestly), “a zinger of sorts” in the Flash war.

And InfoWorld found a W3C official who stated that despite the hype, the HTML5 specification isn’t yet ready due to interoperability issues.

I guess I’m just the show-me tech guy. Here’s all I know about the technical limitations of Flash:



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More Trouble for Adobe: Scribd “Betting the Company” on HTML5

May 6, 2010

Scribd is the largest social publishing company in the world. It has more than 50 million readers each month. Tens of millions of documents have been published on the site, containing over 100 billion words. Until today those tens of millions of documents have been published using Adobe’s Flash. Starting today, they will be published in HTML5.

In an interview with Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch, Scribd co-founder and chief technology officer Jared Friedman said “We are scrapping three years of Flash development and betting the company on HTML5 because we believe HTML5 is a dramatically better reading experience than Flash. Now any document can become a Web page.”

To see the impact of the change, go to the Scribd site and check out “Scribd in HTML5.” You’ll understand the thinking behind the decision very quickly.


Schonfeld’s article continues:

Friedman has been working secretly on this project for the last six months. You can tell he’s excited about it. He believes the Web is finally ready to ditch Flash for documents. Unlike video players, the parts of the HTML5 standard that impact documents have to do with support for fonts, vector graphics, and rotating text. Friedman estimates that 97 percent of browsers will be able to read Scribd’s HTML5 documents because those parts of the standard are older and more widely adopted. HTML5 documents will still be embeddable in other sites using an iFrame.

Poor Adobe. Even as it too embraces HTML5, the Web is moving away from Flash.

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Please Free Me from Reading More About “Free”

July 12, 2009

If, like me, you check in frequently for the “hot” topics floating around the Internet, you’ll have run into a near-nauseating avalanche of articles, reviews, blog postings, interviews and tweets about Chis Anderson’s new book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price.” (Curiously the publisher lists the title as “Free: The Past and (emphasis mine) Future of a Radical Price,” while the past has been dropped from the published title). The book was officially published on July 7th, and is #82 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

The book originated as an article in Wired magazine (where Anderson is Editor-in-Chief) in February, 2008.

The theory of “Free” has been attacked by the bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker. (The link is still live today, but may not be for free tomorrow!). This has been rebutted by Anderson on ad-supported Wired.com, and defended by Seth Godin in a blog entry called “Malcolm is Wrong.”

The book itself may be read for free on Scribd.com, but only for a few more weeks. As econsultancy.com notes, Anderson:

“is offering the full text of the book online at Scribd until August 10. But if readers want to download the contents or hold it in their hands, they’ll have to shell out for the ($27) hardcover. Anderson has also recorded two audio versions of “Free.” The full-length, six-hour version is free. But listeners will have to pay for the three-hour abridged recording.

“‘If I can give you 90% of the book in half the time, I’m giving you back three hours of your life,’ says Anderson. ‘Time is money.'”

Enough! Basta! Finito!


The point of this blog entry was to draw you to Virgina Postrel’s excellent, concise and non-inflammatory review of the book in the July 10th New York Times.

 After all the bafflegab I’ve encountered in the last few weeks, Postrel’s review is an oasis of non-rhetorical and balanced calm, and reveals all you need to know about this small flash-in-the-pan.

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