Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Poked By Evil Capitalists

Every now and then, the opinions expressed in the otherwise excellent Guardian surprise me, with some absolute tripe that would make even the most Luddite left-wing loonie blush.

I thought it couldn't get worse than George Monbiot's ridiculous piece some years ago mourning the 100-year anniversary of the first flight by claiming that the airplane was the "world's most effective killing machine." He was in Mumbai a month later having a gala time while attending the World Social Forum. I have a strong hunch he didn't come by boat!

But apparently it does get worse. A guy called Tom Hodgkinson, whose earlier works on the site include "Why I Gave Up On Email" pens an unintentionally hilarious deconstruction of Facebook with a special focus on its board of directors (read here). You know how seriously to take this nonsense when you encounter phrases like, "Clearly, Facebook is another uber-capitalist experiment."

Anyway, the most incredible slap in the face comes from the editor's note right at the top of the article (which was added two days later):

The US intelligence community's enthusiasm for hi-tech innovation after 9/11 and the creation of In-Q-Tel, its venture capital fund, in 1999 were anachronistically linked in the article below. Since 9/11 happened in 2001 it could not have led to the setting up of In-Q-Tel two years earlier.

Beautiful! A simple anachronism rips his CIA conspiracy (which takes up a few paras of his fantasy piece) theory to shreds. Of course this won't stop more loons from claiming that the CIA was planning 9/11 all along. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

To Bubble Or Not To Bubble …

The most interesting part (for me) of an interview with Mahesh Murthy on MicroHoo day was about ads on Facebook in particular and social networks in general. From the (rough) transcript of the interview is Mahesh's response to my question on whether the page view economics of Web 2.0 will scale infinitely:

"I really do not think so. Facebook is the kind of environment, which is very immersive for the viewer. The viewer does not want to click on an ad and get away somewhere else. In Google, as a search engine, you have to go and click on an ad and leave the website. So, as a result the predominant paradigm in the business is click on the ad and get away from the site.

We have run lots of ads in Facebook for a dozen of clients. We find that they work on a branding level. They give you impressions and eyeballs. But you don’t get those clicks through rates. You get that by doing the regular contextual advertising on Google."

This observation from basically the head of India's biggest search marketing firm, seems totally in line with these observations (published a day prior to the interview). Money quote: "Fuck, this is a pyramid scheme. There is no money input into this system except venture capital. I remember a time, long long ago, when tech companies spent their own venture capital on each other, so revenues were all booked from the same small pool of money. Yeah, as I recall, it didn't end well."

But before you start humming to the brilliant Bu-bu-bu, Bu-bu, Bubble video below, do read this rather spirited defence from SuperCIO.

[youtube dr3qPRAAnOg]

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Best 'CEO Wanted' Ad Ever

Best CEO Ad Ever!

Even more ironic: Jindal Aluminum's site has a dead 'careers' link!