Jay Doesn’t Give a Fuck

I love Jay Leno. I love him for different reasons. I love his YouTube show. I love his car collection. I love his enthusiasm for cars. I love his knowledge of cars. I loved that he worked at a car shop as a kid. I love that he’s from New York.

I also love his lack of pretension.

Here’s a quick screen grab from the promo for the series premiere of his new show on NBC, Jay Leno’s Garage:

Make up? No.

Comb your hair? No.

You going take off that stupid blue shirt? No.

Jay doesn’t give a fuck and I love that.

Ads for Itself

Vlad Savov on Google’s new Nexus phones:

I’ve spent the past couple of days desperately trying to puzzle out the purpose behind Google’s newly announced Nexus 5X and 6P smartphones. Unlike predecessors such as the Nexus One and Nexus 5, these phones don’t have a clear reason for being, and are not in themselves terribly unique. That’s led me (and others) to question Google’s overall aim with the Nexus line of pure Android smartphones, and I think I’ve finally arrived at an answer. The Nexus program is not so much about carrier independence or purity of Android design as it is about presenting Google in an overwhelmingly positive light. In other words, Google, the ultimate ad seller, sells Nexus phones as ads for itself.

Think about how different Apple and Google are. Google knows there’s no chance in hell they’ll ever have a blockbuster hit with their own phones and Apple sells their phones to pull in 92% of all smartphone profits.

I also love this MarketWatch headline (via Daring Fireball):

Google unveils everything Apple launched, only cheaper

Sounds about right.

Soft Sales

Microsoft’s flagship NYC store opens at the end of October:

Microsoft is opening its first flagship store in New York City later next month. Located just a few blocks away from Apple’s iconic cube on Fifth Avenue, Microsoft’s new retail location will replace an old Fendi store at 677 Fifth Avenue and serve as the company’s first full retail store in Manhattan. “These flagship stores have been in the making for six years,” explains David Porter, Microsoft’s head of retail and online stores. “We are eager to open our doors to those in Manhattan. The five-floor, 22,269 square foot location will be a premier venue to learn about, experience and shop for the products and services from Microsoft and our partners.”

Guys, it’s time to end the charade.

Focus on what you do best—software.

Steve Albini

Over at Pitchfork, Jazz Monroe on an email Steve Albini wrote that was turned into a billboard:

Diagonal label boss Oscar Powell also releases music as Powell via XL. His latest single, “Insomniac”, (coming soon on XL), features a vocal sample from Steve Albini that dates to his time fronting Big Black. Ahead of its release, Powell emailed Albini to get sample clearance and explain how much Big Black’s music meant to him. However, as the Quietus reports, Albini gave more than his approval—he also included a long rant on how much he hates dance music.

If you don’t know who Steve Albini is, here’s a bit:

As of 2008, Albini is most active as a record producer; however, he dislikes the term and prefers to receive no credit on album sleeves or notes. When credited, he prefers the term “recording engineer.”

Albini estimated that he has engineered the recording of 1,500 albums, mostly by obscure musicians, in 2004. More prominent artists that Albini has worked with include: Foxy Shazam, Nirvana, Pixies, The Breeders, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, The Jesus Lizard, Don Caballero, PJ Harvey, The Wedding Present, Joanna Newsom, Superchunk, Low, Dirty Three, Jawbreaker, Neurosis, Cloud Nothings, Bush, Chevelle, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Helmet, Fred Schneider, The Stooges, Owls, Manic Street Preachers, Jarvis Cocker, The Cribs, The Fleshtones, Nina Nastasia, The Frames, The Membranes, Cheap Trick, Motorpsycho, Slint, mclusky, Labradford, Veruca Salt, Zao, and The Auteurs.

The dude is no joke.

Fake Traffic

Fake traffic has become a commodity. There’s malware for generating it and brokers who sell it. Some companies pay for it intentionally, some accidentally, and some prefer not to ask where their traffic comes from. It’s given rise to an industry of countermeasures, which inspire counter-countermeasures. “It’s like a game of whack-a-mole,” says Fernando Arriola, vice president for media and integration at ConAgra Foods. Consumers, meanwhile, to the extent they pay attention to targeted ads at all, hate them: The top paid iPhone app on Apple’s App Store is an ad blocker.

Bloomberg: The Fake Traffic Schemes That Are Rotting the Internet

Today’s Schadenfreude is Blackberry-Flavored

Guess what: Blackberry still makes phones and apparently their CEO doesn’t know how to use them:

Last week, BlackBerry confirmed plans to launch the Priv: an Android-powered slider smartphone that it says combines the best features of Google’s mobile OS with “BlackBerry security and productivity.” It’s a sensible selling point, but as this hands-on with the Priv featuring BlackBerry CEO John Chen shows, the Android operating system isn’t familiar territory for the company. Chen repeatedly says that the Priv “runs Google,” and falters during the demonstration, opening up Chrome (which is slow to respond) before closing the app when realizing the phone isn’t logged in to a Google account.

Hey Chen, at least act like you give a shit.

Compete Asymmetrically

Horace Dediu on the potential to disrupt the automotive industry:

Executives at car companies have suddenly had to answer questions about potential entrants into their business. This is a big change. I don’t recall a time when this was necessary for over 30 years. For decades the questions have been about labor relations, health care costs, regulation, recalls and competition from other car makers. To ask questions about facing challengers posing existential questions must seem terribly impertinent.

For this reason, Bob Lutz, in his dismissal of Apple’s entry is not alone. The industry, with a century of history and has seen little disruption in the classic sense. I wrote a long piece on the fundamentals of the industry titled “The Entrant’s Guide to the Automobile Industry” which explained why this industry has been so resistant to disruptive change. At best a massive effort over multiple decades usually leads in a small shift in market share.

However, one should read that post as a thinly veiled threat. Just because disruption seems hard does not mean it isn’t possible. Indeed, the better you understand the industry the more easily you can observe its vulnerability and the more rigid the industry seems the more vulnerable it may be to dramatic change.

The formula for successful entry is the same for all industries: compete asymmetrically. This means introduce products which change the basis of competition and deter competitive responses by making your goals dissimilar from those of the incumbents. This is classic “ju-jitsu” of disruptive competition.

Here’s how it would work.

Apple has succeeded in disrupting:

  • the music industry
  • the (smart)phone industry
  • the PC (and post-PC) industry

And while the Apple Watch is still very young they’re beginning to chip away at the watch industry.

Why would anyone think it’s not possible they eat up the automotive industry too?

Apple’s success in any new industry is far from guaranteed but to count them out seems extremely short-sighted.

Kickstarter is now a Benefit Corporation

News today from Kickstarter:

Benefit Corporations are for-profit companies that are obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders. Radically, positive impact on society becomes part of a Benefit Corporation’s legally defined goals. When a company becomes a Benefit Corporation, it can choose to make further commitments. In our new charter (shown below) we spell out our mission, our values, and the commitments we have made to pursue them.

Pretty cool.

“you can scramble an egg, but can never unscramble it”

Gizmodo: Physicists Discover “Hidden Chaos” Lurking Everywhere:

It appears that the standard tools used to identify chaotic signatures might be missing lots of hidden chaos — especially in systems that seem like they’re not chaotic at all.

Chaos theory is famously associated with so-called “strange attractors,” marked by a telltale butterfly-wing shape (see above). But according to a new paper by two University of Maryland mathematicians, sometimes chaos looks more like “a strange repeller,” or something else entirely.

I’ve been saying this forever.