Jaron Lanier, a Valley pioneer, saw behind the Web 2.0 totem of “collective intelligence” an insidious “digital Maoism” that suppressed individuality. Linda Stone, a former Apple and Microsoft executive, observed an unhealthy trend towards “continuous partial attention”, as people spent less time focusing on a single thing or person because they were constantly scanning so many other things—from Facebook to e-mail and their phones—for fear of missing out on some social opportunity.
Perhaps most dangerously, Web 2.0 still had only one business model, advertising, and the Valley was refusing to admit that only one company (Google) with only one of its products (search advertising) had proved that the model really worked.
Now reality is reasserting itself once more, with familiar results. The number of companies that can be sustained by revenues from internet advertising turns out to be much smaller than many people thought.
I, for one, hope to never hear the word “monetize” again.
3MG is an initiative to increase the number of givers to public radio to 3 million by Dec 2012. The project is sponsored by DEI. Their latest effort is a Ning group where list of pubradio stations list their upcoming events, including fundraising dates.
The video came out on the web a year ago and has since been viewed four-and-a-half million times. Time Magazine named Annie Leonard a 2008 Hero of the Environment. Our HV radio report is by Chase Sbicca.
“To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall.… I’d never taken an accounting course, never run a business, never even had savings of my own to manage. I stumbled into a job at Salomon Brothers in 1985 and stumbled out much richer three years later.”
Another recent HV story on NPR Day to Day— Chicago barber Rex Mitchell insists that his window display is not an anti-war statement. For the past year, the barber has kept a running tally of soldiers killed in Iraq in the window of his Gold Crown Barber Salon. By producer Christopher Booker, for HV and Chicago Tribune multimedia.
Listening to the two’s work on the new NPR Planet Moneypodcast and blog reminded me how damn good they are. AdamD‘s the econ extraordinaire guy for NPR. And AlexB of TAL and NPR, well, I gotta ask…
Is Alex Blumberg the best reporter on the planet?
His little asides make a story, like from this report on SEC Chair Chris Cox and the stock-trading practice of Naked Short-Selling:
“It gets confusing, as it often does, when you get to the naked part.”
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite having names a child might give a puppy, are… well, were…”
Planet Money “Naked Short Selling, Meet Moral Hazard” (27:27 mp3):
And there’s this AlexB blockbuster: “What’s In A Number?” The TAL topic was a report on Iraq civilian casualties. Alex transformed it into an insightful portrait of both the science and humanity in statistics.
“One of the remarkable things about the report is the absence of evildoers…”
“Market appetites for anything that resembled a mortgage pushed loan standards down: ‘No income, no asset. You don’t have to state anything. Just have a credit score and a pulse.’ (Mr. Blumberg pointed out that the pulse thing was optional: 23 dead people in Ohio were also approved.)”
Alex/Adam also just offered this cheerily titled story:
Last week’s Bernake/Paulson/Cox C-Span Congressional Extravaganza left me impressed w/:
• SEC’s Cox’s extremely educational testimony on what his agency can/can’t regulate (according to current law).
• FedRez’s Bernake’s insight on foreign banks are intertwining w/ those in USA.
• Congressional questioning, whether from D or R, seeking some/any clarification on procedures for the “proposed purchase of troubled assets”.
• Was particularly proud of my own Junior Sen. Jon Testor’s (D-MT) understanding of the implications and history of this year’s gov bailouts, and his pointing out how in past, the Fed/TreasDept has said all $X-Billion of the loan appropriation might not be used (as they’re saying now), but in fact every penny was.
Sec. of $s Paulson, otoh, met every request for clarity w/ a variation of: “We want the money and we want it now.” Heard no evidence this guy has any clue what he’s doing, what he’s going to do, or even what he did.
I gave him the benefit of doubt, tho — maybe he was hiding details in hopes of expediency. So I looked elsewhere for some sign this guy’s even mildly competent.
Found none. But along the way did run into lotsa illuminating info. What follows is an audio and url annotated travelogue of my trip thru the web. More…
Grief and guts fill the work day of Aftermath,® Inc: Specialists in Crime Scene and Tragedy Cleanup, Trauma Cleanup, Accidental Death Cleanup. Interview with Tim Reifsteck by Laura Kwerel, produced by Nick van der Kolk; an excerpt from “Aftermath,” a Love and Radio podcast. (L & R’s slogan: “What Ira Glass might make if he showed up to work drunk.”) More…
On KGOU’s Oklahoma In-Depth Scott Gurian gets a never before given answer from Ira of TAL. Turns out a pubradio series can be both aesthetically adventurous AND fiscally sound. Who knew? ToreyM, GM of WBEZ, did:
“IGlass Intervu in OK” (2:00 excerpt mp3):
Thanks to record labels’ considerable whining, government and the music business seem to have joined forces to destroy popular services like Pandora, Last.FM, imeem, and Slacker… I think many consumers are catching on that when the industry howls about defending artists, it’s really just talking about defending the major labels’ broken business model, which has been under constant assault ever since the world went digital… As far as I’m concerned, their draconian reactions to music’s continuing evolution make them great examples of the types of companies and industries I avoid… As an investor, I do all I can to avoid companies that refuse to evolve, and thus find themselves on the wrong side of creative destruction. For the most part, I think the media industry fits that niche. Any company or industry that can perceive massive opportunity as a threat should strike investors as a long-term loser.
A history of the modern shopping mall through perspectives of people living in a real, yet unnamed, city. Using a sound rich audio mosaic of observations and ruminations, all scored to Muzak, the universal mall experience comes to life, for better or for worse.
[Mr. Massett explains why the media explanations of the mortgage crisis explain nothing.]
When the US credit markets began to blow up last year, every newspaper in the country served up two explanations for the mess: “sub-prime mortgage” and “collaterized debt obligation,” or “CDO.”
A sub-prime mortgage sounds bad on the face of it, so no problem there. But CDO has no obvious meaning. Only a few days ago I watched an NPR journalist try to figure it out from the words themselves (“let’s see, ‘collateralized’ refers to ‘collateral,’ so there must be a thing like a house or a car someplace, and ‘debt’ means, well, debt, and an ‘obligation’ means, um, you have to do something, right?”) The usual fudge is to drape the riddle with adjectives like “opaque,” “complex,” and “hard to understand,” as if these were explanatory principles. The phrase “complex and opaque financial instruments known as CDO’s” doesn’t tell you anything, really, but at least it sounds bad. Dern near as bad as a sub-prime mortgage. Moving right along, in other news…
The trouble is CDO’s were never meant for the average investor, or the average journalist. They are Wall Street inventions designed for the big players, investment banks like Citi or Merill or Bear Sterns. To understand them you have to think like an investment bank. This is no harder than thinking like a Martian. More…
In The Observer, Simon Napier-Bell, manager of bands from the Yardbirds to Wham!, details a history of adversarial relationships between musicians and their record labels: “The life and crimes of the music biz:”
‘Systematic thievery,’ said the Dixie Chicks in their writ against Sony. ‘Intentionally fraudulent,’ claimed US music lawyer Don Engel.
Annie Leonard spent a decade researching where our consumer stuff comes from, how its made, who it effects, and where it ends up. Among the results is a 20min. video, The Story of Stuff (also in chapters on YouTube), made by Free Range Studios, the same folk who exposed The Meatrix.