The State of Comic Book Retail - David Harper's latest comics industry survey shows bricks and mortar comic stores to be in a surprising period of opportunity and change. But are there now too many comics?
Over a decade ago, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow laid the foundations for today's effects-driven blockbusters. Why haven't its creators made a film since?
Writing at FiveThirtyEight.com, Sam Dean argues that until very recently, there has been no way to meaningfully measure web traffic. For advertisers and site owners, "just having a number that everyone can point to as an acceptable proxy of reality is more important than how accurate that number may be." [more inside]
As part of our special focus on innovation in Africa, we have developed a list of 40 remarkable African innovators. Actually, it’s more like 47 but we counted teams as one. Our decision to celebrate these idea creators and solution providers stems from our belief that the true wealth of Africa is not buried under its soil, but in the brains of its best minds. This list is a testament to that belief.
Gaming Your Brain - How to top the leaderboard of Clash of Clans, and how Freemium games rake in billions of dollars from their players.
Here's literally every single thing that goes into one night of running a Russian restaurant in Portland, Oregon: One Night at Kachka
Sony's 2011 contract with Spotify has leaked. The Verge's calculations have Sony making a pretty sizable sum off the deal, without much of it trickling down to artists. Meanwhile, Sony has begun pulling all of its artists' music from Soundcloud. [more inside]
"But the problem runs much deeper, because Silicon Valley’s amorality problem arises from the implicit and explicit narrative of progress companies use for marketing and that people use to find meaning in their work. By accepting this narrative of progress uncritically, imagining that technological change equals historic human betterment, many in Silicon Valley excuse themselves from moral reflection. Put simply, the progress narrative short-circuits moral reflection on the consequences of new technologies."
Get ready to have your insides disrupted by SmartPipe, the Venmo of pipes! (adult swim, 11:01)
China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour: "The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code." [more inside]
The Onion Is Not a Joke [The Atlantic] How a fake newspaper is turning into a real media empire.
"So what does this curious tale of a mediocre restaurant prove? It proves that in London’s modern restaurant business, the combination of furiously high costs, reputations and big egos can be explosive. Indeed only one thing is clear to me. Right now the people really making money out of Jinjuu are the lawyers." Guardian restaurant critic Jay Raynor reviews Jinjuu - and the ensuing legal storm he accidentally provoked.
Yesterday, Jay-Z's streaming music service Tidal was launched. The press event featured over a dozen celebrity musicians as signing "owners" of the service (each reportedly received 3% equity in exchange for exclusive content), and, by some accounts, was a bit awkward and content-free. At $19.99, the subscription plan is double the cost of competing services like Spotify, and no "freemium" plan is offered. The justification is two-fold: 1. Artists should be compensated fairly for streaming; and 2. The service's high-fidelity, lossless streaming is far superior to the current standard (320 kbps AAC, as Spotify and Rdio currently provide.) You can take an online blind test between 320 kbps AAC and Tidal's lossless streaming, to see if you have the "equipment and ears" for lossless music. Is there really a noticeable difference, or is this snake oil? Will the artist-forward approach change the conversation and ingrained habits of streaming music listeners? Is Tidal a sort of streaming for the 1% rather than for struggling independent musicians? Is it a walled garden for artists at the expense of fans? Or is this all simply a great vertical move for Jay-Z's Roc Nation label? So many questions.
Women often have decreased access to professional networks and mentors for a variety of reasons--men are more likely to mentor and sponsor other men, informal social networking often centers around gendered activity, women may simply not have the time to do after-work socializing. This is unfortunate, since networks and mentoring are incredibly valuable for female professionals and entrepreneurs. The obvious solution has been to encourage early-career women to network more and "better" and highly-placed women to mentor and support younger women, but this has had mixed results. It turns out that highly-ranking women do disproportionately mentor and support lower-ranking women--but only if they aren't "tokens" at their level of their own workplace but instead part of multiple women at that level. [more inside]
In 2013, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh announced plans to reorganize the company as a holacracy, or a management structure that replaces job titles and hierarchical relationships with self-organizing units. The move has generated resistance from Zappos employees; so much so that, in a long memo, Hsieh says he is going to "rip the bandaid" and give employees until April 30 to either get on board with holacracy or take a severance package. Meanwhile, Hsieh and his close associates are having difficulty saying what the principles of holacracy even are. Commentary on the memo from Andrew Hill and Kim Nash.
A few years ago, I had lunch with the head of a major motion picture studio, who declared that his central problem was not finding good people—it was finding good ideas. Since then, when giving talks, I’ve asked audiences whether they agree with him. Almost always there’s a 50/50 split, which has astounded me because I couldn’t disagree more with the studio executive. Pixar President Ed Catmull on the culture that generates Pixar's artistic and commercial success.
"We don't want them to see diversity as a burden or a moral obligation. We want them to see it as a business imperative."UCLA’s Bunche Center for African American Studies has released its 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report: Flipping The Script [PDF]. The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive story (with lots of sidebars.)
Wire: Dear RadioShack, This Is Why We Adored You. Love, WIRED. "The time is near to bid farewell to that old security blanket, RadioShack. When the remote control broke, it was there. When we needed a cable or 20, it was there. But soon, it won’t be. The company is about to file for bankruptcy. Shares of its stock have been suspended from trading. We are forced to acknowledge that the era of personal electronics championed by the franchise stores that sold soldering gear and robots and had a Battery of the Month Club is really and truly over." [more inside]
Back in November one of my primary concerns was that the general public had little to no knowledge of ocean oil drilling to begin with. I wasn't modeling the game realistically (in fact, I did little to zero research on oil drilling at all) but I knew that the focus of the game might hurt me a bit. Who the heck would know, or care, anything about ocean oil anyways?David Galindo describes what happens when you launch an oil drilling game as an independent developer just after the largest oil spill in history took place in the Gulf, in part one of his series on how much indy devs earn. [more inside]
- L.A. Weekly: I Went to UCLA, But My Real Film School Was Vidiots
- Laist: Filmmakers And Fans Mourn The Loss Of Los Angeles' Greatest Video Store
- Academy Originals: Rewind: The Story of Vidiots
Vidiots video store set to close in April after 30 years
- Vidiots Foundation
Kinja user "Curious Squid" is an Australian woman who moonlights as a prostitute. She keeps a diary of her life as a sex worker, writing about the banal (arranging jobs) to the very interesting (sexual violence against sex workers).
The End of Banking: Money, Credit, and the Digital Revolution - "Unregulated banking with access to government guarantees is an enticing business model. It offers the profits of excessive risk-taking in good times, and allows passing on the inevitable losses to taxpayers in bad times." [more inside]
We Know How You Feel Computers are learning to read emotion, and the business world can’t wait.
If you’ve ever said, “markets are conversations” you’re quoting the words of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the ’90s-era opus on the promise of the Web [previously]. David Weinberger and Doc Searls (two of the original authors of Cluetrain) are publishing another provocative work today called New Clues. [more inside]
Book publishers back then didn’t always have much interest in books as such. They were experts at merchandising. They manufactured a certain number of titles every year, advertised them, sold as many copies as possible, and then did it all over the next year. Sometimes a book would be reprinted and sold again. Print runs were modest and so, generally, were profits.
Then, one day, there was a revolution...Pulp’s Big Moment
Then, one day, there was a revolution...Pulp’s Big Moment
The New York Times looks back at the Stanford Class of 1994 and what they are all up to today.
Alamo Drafthouse aside, not many movie theater chains have reported increased attendance in the past few years. Large chains have propped up revenues with ticket price hikes, premium concessions and drinks, but the specter of Netflix and other home viewing platforms looms ominously over the industry. Annual ticket sales in the U.S. have declined to 1995 levels from their high in 2002 (although revenues have grown 3.6% annually over the same period, well outpacing inflation). This January, AMC Theaters will begin testing a new business model in partnership with MoviePass, beginning in Denver and Boston. Subscribers can pay $30-45 a month for a membership good for one film per day at any AMC location. The move echoes a 2013 effort to reopen an independent theater in Oakhurst, CA using a member subscription model. Will it be enough to get more film aficionados off their couches and into a theater seat? The jury's still out.
Art is a business – and, yes, artists have to make difficult, honest business decisions - Amanda Palmer
Business Insider: Best Tech Employers For Women [Ranked] by Julie Bort [more inside]
“The home runs have really been anything we can do to target our actual users,” Budman reflects. “You want to get as narrow as possible. If we can find Mac software developers in the Mission or in Brooklyn, it’s awesome.” Fast-growing online backup company Backblaze tried all kinds of marketing ploys to get new customers, from Adwords to an appearance on Ellen Degeneres: here's what worked and what didn't. (Previously)
In an attempt to combat years of poor public relations, Monsanto has decided to take their case directly to the people through various campaigns. On a new site called The Conversation they are answering questions directly from consumers. [more inside]
The Atlantic's Adam Chandler analyzes Taco Bell's latest "Live Más app" and how it's a result of the "Chipotlification" of fast food. [more inside]
"Defensive patent aggregator" RPX have a new line of business: selling patent troll insurance to startups.
In the 1951, impressed by the amount of Tupperware she was selling (especially compared to other outlets), Earl Tupper hired Brownie Wise to run his sales organization. As a VP of the company, she revolutionized Tupperware with her Tupperware parties, her salesforce management, and other sales and marketing techniques, thus allowing him to stay in the background, creating new designs. Sales skyrocketed and Tupperware became popular throughout the United States. [more inside]
"Enrique Martinez didn't like chocolate, but he was eating as many as 10 pieces a day, drinking chocolate protein shakes and rubbing a chocolate-based skin cream on his face. It was expensive chocolate, too. Martinez and his wife, Michelle, were going through $2,000 in chocolate a month."
Producer Michael Shamberg Wants to 'Invent the Future' With BuzzFeed Motion Pictures - "I don't think there's ever been a Hollywood R&D model like we have here." (previously 1,2,3) [more inside]
The Verge talks with current and former Comcast employees about life as a Comcast repair/install technician. [more inside]
Why are women so less self-assured and why are men so overconfident? The Atlantic takes on what they are calling the "confidence gap," the tendency of women to underplay their expertise to lack confidence in both their achievements and their potential. [more inside]
Women are more likely to be lied to at the negotiation table
Women are more likely to be lied to at the negotiation table, according to a recent study led by UC Berkeley researchers at the Haas School of Business. The study, published online July 14, determined that women are more likely to be lied to than men from a series of face-to-face negotiations among about 300 MBA students at Haas.…The cultural stereotype is that women are “too nice” to accuse someone of lying, but the study found that whether or not women were lied to was rooted in how their competence was perceived by their negotiating partner, [lead researcher] Kray said.[more inside]
Monaghan and Ilitch barely know each other. The Domino’s founder says in an interview he can’t recall ever tasting a Little Caesars pizza, “though I must have a long time ago.” A sculpture hanging in the archives at Little Caesars’ headquarters makes fun of a Domino’s slice as having “hard, tasteless crust, topped with artificial, flat, and runny cheese.” It’s a fluke that the chains emerged from the same corner of Michigan at roughly the same time more than 50 years ago. Yet, in different ways, Domino’s and Little Caesars changed the way Americans eat pizza, helping to make it one of the country’s most popular foods. The pizza barons were great at selling pies. Now one wants to save Detroit, and the other wants to save everything else.[more inside]
The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
In the ultra-competitive worlds of business and freelancing, should mentorship come with a fee? Arguments for and against: "When someone asks to pick my brain, I bristle. My brain is how I earn my living — would you ask a plumber to unclog a drain for free?" "Not every investment of time has to be 'worth it.' Sometimes you just have a brief conversation with someone because—why not?"
Take Me to Sanborns: Swiss Enchiladas and Race in Mexico City.
One afternoon early in their stay, [Jack] Johnson and Etta – who was white – walked into the famous Sanborns cafe in Mexico City's historic center for lunch. But before they could even place their order, owner Walter Sanborn refused to serve Johnson on racial lines. Johnson went and found a few of the generals he had met and told them what happened. They returned to Sanborns together and all sat down at the counter. They ordered ice cream. Everybody was served except for Johnson.