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Joel Spolsky announces Trello, Inc.

His “business operating system” sounds like a damn fine blueprint for creating a successful company that good people want to work for.

That architecture is all the stuff I spent ten years ranting on this blog about, but y’all don’t listen, so I’m just going to have to build company after company that runs my own wacky operating system, and eventually you’ll catch on. It’s OK to put people first. You don’t have to be a psychopath or work people to death or create heaps of messy code or work in noisy open offices.

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Level3 is without peer, now what to do?

Cringely:

The idea here is pretty clear: these five ISPs want to be paid extra for doing the job they are already being paid for. Extra ports are required to handle the current level of traffic and these companies are assuming that when the pain becomes great enough — that’s our pain, by the way — Level3 or some Level3 customer like Netflix will pay the extra money to make the problem go away.

The major ISPs (basically any one of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications, and Verizon FiOS) want to essentially freeze the current, busted-ass, infrastructure, and get end-users and major traffic users like Netflix to pay for the newer, better, infrastructure, then charge us all extra after we’ve paid for it. Net Neutrality has to die for them to achieve this, so they’re making their big push to kill it.

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Zappos says goodbye to bosses

The Washington Post:

The Las Vegas-based retailer is now going even more radical, introducing a new approach to organizing the company. It will eliminate traditional managers, do away with the typical corporate hierarchy and get rid of job titles, at least internally.

Sounds like a fantastic idea. I’ve never worked a job with a “manager” that wasn’t a total shit-show. Genuinely hope it works out for them and others follow suit.

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Warner Bros: Pirates Show Us What Consumers Want

Hey guess what, Warner Bros? Pirates show you what consumers want because they are consumers. They just don’t consume in the way you want them to.

The most interesting thing about this article is that WB admits to selectively enforcing copyright based on how beneficial it is to them from an analytics standpoint. Which means they’re admitting, in public, that piracy can be beneficial.

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Does Startup Life Have To Be A 24/7 Grind?

Short answer: No. Long answer: No, but nobody takes advice like this no matter how good it is.

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The Problem With “Warby Parker for X”

Jamie Quint:

Direct to consumer online-only retail is not disruptive because its online. Do not mistake good marketing for a new and innovative business model. Warby Parker was a special case driven by very interesting market dynamics that don’t apply to the other companies in the space. Let’s dive in and take a look.

and it’s a good look. I’ve been seeing this meme a lot in the tech circles lately, and this shreds it pretty hard.

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The Magazine

A new subscription-based digital magazine from Marco Arment of Instapaper. Really looking forward to seeing where this goes. How can you not love a guy who not only understands this:

Usually, things are done the way they’re done for good reasons. But sometimes, they’re only done that way because nobody has questioned it recently.

… but is also willing to put his money where his philosophy is.

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LouisCK Selling Tour Tickets Directly From His Website

Cutting out the middle-man and going fan direct for his next tour. He says they will be actively looking for and straight-up deactivating scalped tickets.

The scalping idea is interesting, but it seems like the potential for a big PR disaster is there. Unless they plan on investigating every suspected scalped ticket, anyway.

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Right versus pragmatic

Marco Arment, as he often does, speaks wisdom:

The pragmatic approach is to address the demand.

File this one under things to always remember in business.

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Smug ignorance

John August:

When you stir stupid and lazy together, they form a toxic compound called Smug Ignorance. It’s non-partisan and always fatal. The symptoms are phrases like, “I don’t know much about computers, but…” or “Look, no one knows if climate change is real.”

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A Statement From Louis C.K.

His direct-download, no-DRM, concert video has sold over 100,000 copies. Louis:

I really hope people keep buying it a lot, so I can have shitloads of money, but at this point I think we can safely say that the experiment really worked. If anybody stole it, it wasn’t many of you. Pretty much everybody bought it. And so now we all get to know that about people and stuff. I’m really glad I put this out here this way and I’ll certainly do it again. If the trend continues with sales on this video, my goal is that i can reach the point where when I sell anything, be it videos, CDs or tickets to my tours, I’ll do it here and I’ll continue to follow the model of keeping my price as far down as possible, not overmarketing to you, keeping as few people between you and me as possible in the transaction.

This is news that I am very happy about.

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HP Says To Bye Bye TouchPad, Pre

Almost hidden in this press release about HP’s plans to buy Autonomy Corporation:

In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.

A real shame. webOS and the devices built around it were the only real competition to iOS and the iPad/iPhone line.

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Intellectual Property, Copyright Law, and Fan Art

A primer for the uninitiated and the knowledgable alike:

Technically, this means fan art, fan music, and fan fictions are illegal in and of themselves because they are derivative works of protected content.

r o f l

But before you get your panties all in a bunch, it’s pretty clear that no creative entity in their right mind gives a shit.

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Amazon Isn’t Paying License Fees for “Cloud Drive”

paidContent:

Amazon has launched its new online music locker and streamer without any licenses from the labels whose material it will store and distribute, the labels’ umbrella group IFPI tells paidContent. Not a problem, replies Amazon—licenses aren’t necessary for its new Cloud Drive.

The music industry is (and has been) suing MP3Tunes because they’ve offered precisely the same service. If Amazon sticks to their guns it will be a big win for everyone who buys digital content.

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Ads for ads: The ad-supported app bubble

The droste effect like world of Ads in apps for apps with ads. Where’s the actual money coming from?

It’s strange that nobody has been talking about this before now. I guess when VCs are throwing money at you it’s hard to see past tomorrow.

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“Writing on the high seas”

Author Tobias Buckell’s treatise on book piracy and what it means here in the now:

A certain book that usually sells about 5,000 copies, locked down and protected, seems to sell the same 5,000 copies as a book with a free giveaway and pirated. The difference, according to O’Reilly and many, will be that the second author sees a 5,000 copies sold book, and 5,000 downloads and wonders “why, I should really have had 10,000 sales!” But the truth might be more like, 5,000 people purchased each, and one of them got 5,000 additional reads.

Most of this analysis seems like it should fall under the rubric of “common sense,” but there’s obviously a pretty big lack of that in the traditional publishing channels right now. Some people will read your stuff, some people will pay you, and the best you can hope for is enough people fall into the second category that you can pay your bills.

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“Might Makes Right”

Screenwriter John August:

Narratively, that’s the story I find most interesting about Google. At a certain point, do you become so large and powerful that evil is unavoidable?

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The Gamification Encyclopedia

Being a wiki resource on the topic of Gamification: What is Gamification? Glad you asked:

Gamification is the concept that you can apply the basic elements that make games fun and engaging to things that typically aren’t considered a game.

Bit of an unwieldy word, but descriptive enough.

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Scott Wilson’s iPod Nano Watch Kits Raise $350,000 on Kickstarter

Obviously crowd-sourced patronage will never work. The project still has 3 weeks lefts to go, too.

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Patent-Trolling “Intellectual Ventures” Using Over 1,000 Shell Companies

Possibly the worst patent trolls ever. Their business model is to threaten companies into paying them for use of their (often dubious) patents, using shell companies so the action can’t be traced back to them.

Just so we’re clear on Extra Future’s position: Intellectual Ventures is a jackass company run by jackasses. The fact that it exists is an indictment of the problems with the US patent system.