“The first GSA meeting after homecoming drew more students than ever before, and transgender guys have been messaging him on Facebook and Tumblr, asking him for advice and thanking him for being so vocal.”—Meet the First Trans Homecoming King in Texas
Over on his excellent website, Extension 765, Soderbergh has uploaded a black-and-white version of the 1981 blockbuster in an effort to prompt cinephiliacs to think about how an impressive talent like Spielberg was able to convey so much of the story merely through length and composition of shots. He also removed all sound from the video, instead replacing it with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for The Social Network, so that viewers can solely focus on the staging of the film.
I don’t think we need another social network. But every few years or so, a new one comes up, and by virtue of their newness alone, they get a few early adopters. And when there are a few like-minded people in a sparse network, you can be forgiven for thinking that the product design is good enough — after all, the there’s no noise and conversation can be had! The hard part will be to create value for users who don’t buy into the early hype.
Early adopters don’t care so much about longevity of a service. They’re happy to spread their reputation around on all corners of the web. But for a service that “won’t sell my data”, how will Ello make money to cover server, staff and maintenance costs? I can only imagine subscription fees coming into play. Or some sort of gamification. But even then, as a user, do I really want to devote more time and energy to create content for a service that may or may not be around in a year’s time? Scale costs money and freemium can only get you so far.
Despite all that, I can’t help but love upstarts.
Ello is doing most things well. Launch by supporting a few rabid users. Limit supply to increase demand via invite codes. Provide the illusion of activity by displaying vanity metrics that reflects the user’s own actions. Keep the feature set simple.
And here’s a huge “BUT” - can a social network succeed in 2014 by launching only on desktop and have no mobile app presence?
“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt, describing the startup ethos pretty well, at a time when the govt also behaved this way, to pull the country out of the Great Depression.
Crazy. They have a few properties (they call them that instead of products) that have usage: Fantasy Sports, News.
But where is growth coming from? Their acquisitions result in founder flight, their mobile experiments haven’t made a dent, and their largest properties see growth flatlining (my best guess) while sucking in more resources. And their display ad rates belie some serious weakness when Facebook captures more of advertisers’ budgets — and mobile display is the future of the industry. They’ve given up on search ads to Google in 2009 and it’s too late to resuscitate search tech. They’re clearly betting on a future of being a media company despite Marissa’s public announcements w the Tumblr acquisition, original content programming, and mobile news efforts.
Dead company walking?
Update: here’s an interesting analysis from Bloomberg about Yahoo’s core business.. arguing that breaking them up may unlock more value then any economies of scale could be had from remaining together. Kind of ironic for their newly acquired properties.
“After Kitchen Confidential came out, I was 44. I was uninsured, I was broke and I was dunking fries into a fast food fryer. I understood that I got a pretty lucky break here and that it was statistically unlikely to happen again. I’ve been pretty careful about not f@cking up the opportunities that have comes since.”—
“I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.”—
Best concrete advice I’ve heard. And hell yeah to have a place to write only for yourself. Not your parents, not your wife, not your god, not your Twitter or Tumblr or Medium audience, not even the person or writer you want to be, but for yourself - imperfect perfect self - like right now.