Tits Up But Breathing

Following up my last post regarding tits (or lack of), Patrick Kurp has some great sources for synonyms for “drunk”:

My boss subscribes to Harper’s, and every few months she brings me a stack. In the January 2015 issue, in the section called “Readings,” is a glossary nicely titled “Alcoholics Synonymous,” which lists twenty-four slang terms used by British students to describe “drunkenness or the effect of drugs.” I’ve heard only one of them, “sloshed.” “Swilled,” I assume, is a variation on the verb “to swill.” “Hoovered” is intriguing: president, dam or vacuum cleaner? “Hamstered” is evocative, but the Harper’s list hardly amounts to a sip compared to the ocean accumulated by Paul Dickson in Intoxerated: The Definitive Drinker’s Dictionary (Melville House, 2009). He identifies 2,985 synonyms for “drunk.” A few favorites: “staying late at the office,” “heroic,” “T.U.B.B.” (“tits up but breathing”), “back teeth afloat,” “been too free with Sir John Strawberry” and “Betty Ford-ed.” Call it folk poetry, much of it better than what passes for the certified stuff.


I like that one.

Advantage: Apple

Steve Cheney’s post on Apple’s insurmountable platform advantage is making its rounds around the Internet, because it’s good:

One of Steve Jobs’ biggest legacies was his decision to stop relying on 3rd party semiconductor companies and create an internal silicon design team. I would go so far as to argue it’s one of the three most important strategic decisions he ever made.

In 2007, when Steve Ballmer famously declared “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance”, Jobs was off creating a chip design team. If you study unit economics of semiconductors, it doesn’t really make sense to design chips and compete with companies like Intel unless you can make it up in volume. Consider the audacity back in 2007 for Apple to believe it could pull this off. How would they ever make back the R&D to build out a team and pay for expensive silicon designs over the long run, never mind design comparative performing chips? Well today we know. Apple makes nearly 100% of the profit in the entire smartphone space.

I don’t think Apple’s advantage is insurmountable like Cheney says, but I don’t think there’s any way in hell companies like Microsoft, Sony, Dell and HTC are going to make a significant dent as competitors.

Human Error

Following up on my tech slowdown post from last week, Twitter is indeed laying off over 300 people, or 8% of their staff:

“Product and Engineering are going to make the most significant structural changes to reflect our plan ahead,” CEO Jack Dorsey said in a letter Tuesday morning. “We feel strongly that Engineering will move much faster with a smaller and nimbler team, while remaining the biggest percentage of our workforce. And the rest of the organization will be streamlined in parallel.”

MakerBot is laying off 20% of their staff:

MakerBot is laying off 20 percent of its staff for the second time in the last six months, citing “market dynamics” and a failure to meet “ambitious goals.” The company is also leaving one of the two buildings it occupies in Industry City, a large-scale manufacturing complex in Brooklyn.

Layoffs like this remind me of traffic bottlenecks on the highway when there are no accidents: they’re the result of us stupid humans getting too greedy and not pacing ourselves.

I have side with HAL on this.

The problems can only be attributable to human error.

Twitter Moments

Last week Twitter debuted a new feature called “Moments”. It shows up as a new tab at the bottom of the Twitter app and features a curated list of breaking events by category.

At Statechery, Ben Thomspon is excited and sees it as (potentially) nothing less than the reinvention of the newspaper:

Well, the product launched…and it’s fantastic. Moreover, it’s not only that it’s fantastic from a product perspective — actually, there is a lot to nitpick — but that it is fantastic from a strategic perspective.


That’s right, Twitter just reinvented the newspaper. It’s not just any newspaper though — it has the potential to be the best newspaper in the world.

Startup L. Jackson is a sees a need for a strategy adjustment:

Moments should be a standalone app. Period. It can still use the Twitter namespace and shared login. Be made by Twitter, etc. But Twitter needs something it can market to users that is not Twitter.

By making it a standalone, Twitter can avoid all of the problems that exist with implementing it as a tab. There is no dual onboarding experience, no @mentions, no main feed to educate the user on, no DMs, etc. Just great content and an occasional invitation to “join the conversation” or “follow all of Bieber’s posts” at just the right time. See graphic representation below.

“Have you tried Moments? It’s like Snapchat stories meets Buzzfeed. It’s my new go to on the train.”

The important part is ‘Moments’ has launched.

Now Twitter just needs to keep refining and iterating.

White House Wants

A few weeks ago the White House reached out to Kickstarter to help raise money for Syrian refugees.

On one hand, this is very commendable (Kickstarter is donating 100% of their fee) and I think it’s great if individuals can donate but I can’t help but think that this request came from the U.S. government. A government that spends over $600 billion a year on defense.

How about the U.S. government throw a few billion to the Syrian refugees?

Tech Deflation

I’m not sure if this is going to affect more companies, but there appears to be some deflation going on in the tech world.

The Gilt Groupe is cutting 45 jobs ‘Amid A Quest For Profit‘. Money, money, need more money. Money. Then Evernote lays off 47 people and closes 3 offices in effort to build a more focused team. That damn focus! We lost it with all these extra people around! Who the fuck hired them, anyway?! GroupOn is cutting 1,100 jobs worldwide as part of a restructuring of its international operations. They had structure and now they’re restructuring it. Again, humans getting in the way.

Re/code also notes investor slowdown in 2015:

New data from Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association’s Fundraising Report show that VC firms raised $4.4 billion in the third quarter of 2015. That’s a 59 percent decrease from the second quarter and a 33 percent decrease from the third quarter of last year.

People in the world. Doing stuff with money.

Update: Twitter Is Planning Company-Wide Layoffs for Next Week

Smack Talk

Elon Musk with the smack talk to the German press:

In response to claims that Apple is poaching key members of Tesla staff to work on its long-rumoured self-driving car project, Musk joked: “Important engineers? They have hired people we’ve fired. We always jokingly call Apple the Tesla Graveyard.” But just to make sure that his comments weren’t entirely dismissed as harmless CEO-style jostling, he added: “If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

I love the smack talk that happens at the top of the corporate food chain.

It reminds me of when Steve Jobs was on stage with Bill Gates at an AllThingsD Conference and compared iTunes on Windows, “like giving someone ice water in hell.”

That Jobs quote is from 2007. Given the confusing klusterfuck iTunes is right now in 2015, I hardly think of it as a glass of ice water. Even in 2007, iTunes was more like a glass of luke warm water.

Now look at me with the iTunes smack talk. Where did that come from?

I wasn’t planning that.

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.