Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs offers an unprecedented look at the Apple co-founder's battle-cry against Google, a company he thought was guilty of a "grand theft" when it launched its Android operating system, which competes directly with the iPhone and has surpassed it in popularity.This is coming from Steve Jobs, who was inspired by the graphical user interface he saw at Xerox PARC and turned that into the Macintosh. Now, as we've noted before, what Jobs was always great at doing wasn't just taking an idea and copying it, but making it better. But, many would argue that's the same thing that Googl...
"I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this," he told Isaacson of the patent lawsuit Apple filed against cell phone manufacturer HTC.
In Isaacson's "Steve Jobs," a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post, the author recalls that Jobs, who was known for his fierce temper, "became angrier than I had ever seen him" during a conversation about Apple's patent lawsuit, which by extension also accused Android of patent infringement.
"Our lawsuit is saying, 'Google you f***ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off,'" Jobs said, according to Isaacson. "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product."
"If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew." -Albert EinsteinOne of the most famous scientific developments in the 20th century was the revelation that the Universe had a speed limit: the speed of light.
Clocking in at exactly 299,792,458 m/s, Einstein's theory of relativity states that any particle with mass can only approach -- but can never reach -- this maximal speed.
This was tested most accurately for the neutrino (fun facts here), the lowest mass particle ever discovered -- over a million times lighter than a single electron -- to still have mass.
(Image credit: Marcelo Bass, CTIO/NOAO/AURA/NSF retrieved from here.)
In 1987, a supernova from 168,000 light years away went o...
For many years, I have been a reader of this blog. I'm excited, and humbled, by the opportunity to now be a contributor and to announce here that I have joined Union Square Ventures.
In early 2007, when I joined up with John Borthwick and began discussing something that would later be called betaworks, we spent hours talking about how the next phase of Internet growth - that was social at its core and operated in real time - would change every way users experienced and distributed media and content. So, we built a business that focused on end-user participation, data openness, two-way content creation, community and connectedness. John had the foresight to understand how meaningful these concepts would become and how to translate them into some awesome products.
Now as part of USV I'm working with an amazing and diverse group of people who are dedicated to transparency in thinking, open dialogue and deliberation as process principles, and a belief in the power of networks created by the Internet. USV's goal is to find and support people and companies with that same set of principles.
The USV "thesis" is remarkably similar to that of betaworks, only reduced to a more appropriate 140 characters. Given that overlap, we co-invested with USV numerous times over the years, from Tumblr to Outside.in to Kickstarter and more.
My friend Nina Khosla once told me that when thinking about the web, she gets most excited not by the services that offer the greatest utility but by those that create meaning for users. She writes: "What web product last made you cry as you used it? What web product makes you laugh on a regular basis? What web produ...
[Photographs: Ed Levine]
Bill's Bar and Burger
22 9th Avenue, NY, NY 10014 (map); 212-414-3003; 2nd location at 16 West 51st Street, NY, NY 10019 (map); 212-705-8510; billsbarandburger.com
Cooking Method: Griddled
Short Order: These sliders live up to their well regarded reputation
Price: Mini B's, $7.95; Bill's Burger, $8.95; boneless chicken wings, $7.75
I was having lunch with slider expert Nick Solares (who will be returning to the Serious Eats fold shortly) when the talk, as it often does with Nick, turned to burgers. When I told him that my son was still waiting tables at Bill's Bar and Burger, Nick said that he heard the sliders there were amazing. Considering Nick is any slider's toughest critic, a fresh visit to the original Bill's was obviously in order.
The sliders, called Mini B's, came three to an order, on perfectly-sized White Castle buns (the manager told me they source White Castle Buns because they couldn't find anything better). The burger, which was g...
The launch of Amazon's Kindle Fire at a price well below expectations has naturally focused people's attention on the e-book side of Amazon's operations, and the likely effect of the extended Kindle family on other publishers trying to go digital. But something else is happening at the other end of the publishing chain that could well disrupt the industry just as much, if not more: Amazon is becoming a major publisher in its own right.Things began back in May 2009, when it launched AmazonEncore:
a new program whereby Amazon uses information such as customer reviews on Amazon websites to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors that show potential for greater sales.After this low-key start, Amazon added others imprints, including AmazonCrossing (foreign books in translation), Powered by Amazon (short books), Montlake Romance (romantic fiction), Thomas & Mercer (mysteries and thrillers) and, most recently, 47North (science fiction, fantasy and horror) - the last of these with some eye-catching authors:
47North launches with 15 books, including "The Mongo...
So it's really interesting to see this "internal" note from Google employee Steve Yegge, that he accidentally posted publicly via Google+. It's a very detailed and honest criticism of the company's attitude on certain things, but not done to slam Google, but rather to push Google to change. It's getting tons of attention, and Yegge removed the post, but has allowed others to keep up a reposted version. He's also pointed out that Google PR was careful not to pressure him to take down the post, noting that employees are free to express their opinions.
Some have been reading it as an insider's "attack" on Google, but I don't see that at all. It seems like a call to action from someone who thinks the company is missing the boat on being a platform. Yegge spends a lot of time talking (very openly) about his prior experience working at Amazon, and about how Jeff Bezos got the "we need to be a platform" religion big time nearly a decade ago, and effectively forced...
If you visit my Tumblr with any frequency, you know that music is an important part of my life.
One of my favorite things is finding new music. It’s fun to find a new artist that is just breaking through or about to be born.
But that has been a challenge.
Pandora is fine and we use that service on our Sonos at home. We’ve created a few artist radio stations and we hit play when we are having a party or friends over and we just let it go. It’s easy enough but I find the playlists are stale.
Same thing is true on the radio. I have SIRIUS in my car. Dig that it’s commercial free but the playlists are stale there too.
The latest version of exfm released a few weeks ago has been completely re-writtten from the ground up. It’s absolutely changed my music experience (disclosure: we are investors in the company and i’m on their board).
The new version does not require a browser extension. Just goto the site and search for an artist and hit play (example, here’s what a search for The Head And The Heart shows).
If you register as a user, you can do a lot more. You can follow people and listen to songs they love on the web. Here’s my profile on ex.fm and all the songs I’m loved.
exfm also released a music player that hundreds of music blogs are now using.
For example, if you swing over to the popular music blog I Guess I’m Floating, you will see the exfm player on the bottom of the page which provides an easy way to listen to songs on that blog (whether you are an exfm user or not). You can then follow that blogger on exfm and start loving tracks that you want to share with others inside exfm or on twitter, tumblr or facebook.
One of my favorite things about the new exfm is...
I’m not generally one to predict the death of things. I’ve rarely been known to herald a shiny new Device X as a “Device Y Killer!”, and I’m a firm believer that Facebook is doing a perfectly good job of being “the new Facebook”. Pundits love to make these crazy claims because they’re easily forgotten and rarely does anyone call them out for being wrong after a few years have passed.
With that said: October 12th, 2011. Mark it down, and come back and yell at me in a few years if I’m wrong. Today is the day SMS begins to die.
Or, really, it begins with iMessage.
Back in June, MG wrote that Apple had “finally stuck a dagger into SMS” with the announcement of iMessage. Today, they’re pulling that dagger out… and sitting back and laughing as the wound bleeds out.
You! Heading for the comments! Wait a second. (A crazy request, really, given that it’s 5 line breaks deep into this post. I probably should’ve put it right in the headline.)
To be clear, iMessage alone won’t kill SMS. It’ll just start the avalanche.
Today, many millions of people (and millions more, come Friday) are being shown something better. Besides updating to iOS 5, they don’t have to do anything to make it work. They don’t have to manually install an app; hell, they don’t even need to use anything they’re not already using.
This isn’t BlackBerry Messenger. There are...
While I was researching e-commerce sites for a project a couple of months ago, I signed up for a bunch of email newsletters from flash sales and group buying sites.
Many of them contained lame deals or were ugly or boring, so I’ve unsubscribed.
But one of them, Fab.com’s daily email, has become a favorite. (Fab is still “by invitation only,” but if you’re interested, you can sign up here through my special link. If enough people do, I’ll get a few bones.)
Fab’s email is more than an advertisement of its flash sales, which include discounts on cool, design-y gadgets, housewares, clothing, art, etc. It’s also a beautiful piece of content delivered to me every day for free: A newsletter full of pretty photos of cool stuff, with a simple, clean layout. Of the dozens of emails that appear in my inbox in the morning, it’s one of the few that I actually enjoy opening and reading.
For me, the Fab newsletter serves the same purpose as reading design magazines or lifestyle blogs, in the sense that I can learn about cool things I didn’t previously know about. The big difference, of course, is that I can easily buy the things I’m reading about, if I want to. That’s useful for me, because it means I don’t have to figure out how and where to buy something that I like from the newsletter. And it has to be useful for Fab, because selling stuff to me seems like a better business than if it were just serving up ads for someone else’s store.
It’s a great example of the ever-blurring lines between commerce and editorial. And my enjoyment may be evidence that the best wave of new e-commerce companies may also be the ones that are great content pro...
There’s a lot of free, legal music working its way across the world wide web, and there are more than a few ways to access it. Which is terrific, but there are still quite a few paint points out there for we digital music listeners. How many times, for example do you listen to a song, recognize it, but forget who the artist is? Shazam addressed that problem by building a mobile app that lets you play the song in question and get a quick identification. Now, what about when you’re browsing the Web, a music blog, or a site that has a cool song embedded, you hear a song you love, but life gets in the way, and an hour later you’ve forgotten not only the name of the song but where you heard it?
That’s why the geeky team at exfm (formerly Extension Entertainment) built a browser extension for Chrome that turns the Web into your music library by running silently in the background and indexing every MP3 file you stumble across. Exfm continues to check the sites you’ve visited, automatically building a library for you of songs you can throw away or turn into playlists.
Exfm started as a Chrome extension and in June launched an iPhone app that brought its music-aggregating experience to mobile. This was a great addition, but not everyone has an iPhone or loves Google’s browser. So, this weekend the staratup rounded out its service by not only launching a redesigned extension for Chrome, but a full-feature web platform as well as extensions for Firefox and Safari.
Oh, and t...
On Thursday afternoon, Topspin CEO Ian Rogers was a keynote speaker at Digital Music Forum West. His speech, which follows in its entirity, begins with a quick trip through the evolution of internet distribution and onto where we are now: the era of social distribtuion. Next, Rogers shares where he believes we're headed - a mass of niches influenced by a limited number of trusted brands - and the new opportunites we'll find there.
I’ve been working with digital music for nearly 20 years, first in academia, then with artists and software from Beastie Boys to Winamp to Yahoo! and for the last three years as the CEO of a company called Topspin who helps artists grow their audience and make money. Like most entrepreneurs I could talk for 24 straight hours about our company but Digital Music Forum only gave me 15 minutes and they set the rules for these 15 minute talks to not be advertising for our companies, so instead I’d like to talk to you about a big trend and opportunity tangential to our business I’m watching with fascination. I’ll share a few thoughts quickly and if there’s time at the end I’d love to hear your comments. If there’s not time, please head over to my blog where I posted this talk an hour ago and leave a comment.
20 years in digital music means I’m on the brink of being old and out of touch. Nevertheless, I’m in denial of this fact and still kid myself in...
SO EXCITED TO LAUNCH THIS!!
The team did such an amazing job. I can’t tell you how proud I am right now.
Our Next Generation Website Has Arrived!
We are super-excited to announce major changes to exfm that will make discovering great new music even easier. Ex.fm is now a music destination: head there now to find what songs are trending today and a bunch of other ways to find new music. We’ve also released a new upgrade for the Chrome extension and added extensions for both Firefox and Safari! Now more than ever exfm is the destination to discover and share music socially.
A few highlights from the new ex.fm:
- Listen to what’s trending: the most loved songs from our users.
- Explore songs by genre
- Check out great music experiences curated for you by the best music bloggers on the web.
- Find friends directly from Facebook and Twitter.
- Customize the background for your profile.
Please click on ex.fm and start listening.
This is in large part based on your feedback, so check it out and let us know what you think.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that." -Richard FeynmanLast week, a collaboration of 160 scientists working in Italy wrote a paper claiming that their experiment shows neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. Although I wrote up some initial thoughts on the matter, and there are plenty of other excellent takes, we're ready to go into even deeper detail.
First, a little background on the humble neutrino.
(Image credit: David Darling.)
Early in the 20th century, physicists learned in great detail how radioactive decay worked. An unstable atomic nucleus would emit some type ...
Users expect their Web sites and apps to work well even when the network isn't available. With data increasingly stored in the cloud, developers want to enable fluid experiences that allow access to data when there is no connectivity; when devices are disconnected from the network or when they encounter dead spots in coverage.
In this post, we show how to create well-behaved offline sites and apps using the following HTML5 features:
- AppCache to store file resources locally and access them offline as URLs
- IndexedDB to store structured data locally so you can access and query it
- DOM Storage to store small amounts of text information locally
- Offline events to detect if you’re connected to the network
Example: Offline support for anywhere access
Let’s say you go shopping with a printout of a recipe from your favorite food site but when you’re at the market, you can’t find some key ingredients.
Imagine that when you were home using your mobile PC to browse the recipes site, a portion of the site was automatically downloaded for offline usage. This enables you to take your mobile PC to the store, access the site, and search for a new recipe at the market. The best part is that you can do this without being connected to a network. As a consumer, you’d appreciate the site more because it just worked when and where you needed it.
Note: Google was kind enough to invite me to give a short talk at their Zeitgeist conference earlier this week. It was a really interesting conference and I got a chance to meet a lot of people I admire. For my talk, I decided to use material from some of my blog posts over the years that I thought might appeal to a broader audience. Unfortunately, I was still recovering from a nastly cold/flu so I didn’t deliver the talk as well as I’d like. Below is the text.
Today, I wanted to talk about some of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years from my experiences as an investor and entrepreneur.
1. If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough
My most humbling and educational career experience was when I was starting out in the tech world. I applied to literally hundreds of jobs: low-level VC roles, startup jobs, and various positions at big tech companies. I had an unusual background: I was a philosophy undergrad and a self-taught programmer. I got rejected from every single job I applied to.
The reason this experience was so useful was that it helped me to develop a thick skin. I came to realize that employers weren’t really rejecting me as a person or on my potential – they were rejecting a resume. As the process became depersonalized, I became bolder in my tactics. Eventually, I landed a job that led to my first startup getting funded.
One of the great things about looking for a job is that your payoff is almost entirely a max function – the best of all outcomes – not an average. This is also generally true for lots of activities startups do: raising money, creating partnerships, hiring, marketing and so on.
So, every day – to this day – I make it a point of trying something new and ambitious and getting rejected.
2. Don’t climb the wrong hill
I spend a lot of time trying to recru...
- Amazon is a fantastically interesting company. Sometimes, it is the first big company to a market, and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, it does great work, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s definitely not boring.
- The new Kindles are going to sell like crazy. Most people still don’t have an e-reader or a tablet. Many people will buy one or both in the next several months. Jeff Bezos wasn’t posturing when he said that “we’re going to sell many millions of these.”
- Amazon is a serious technology company. The Silk browser isn’t exactly a revolution, but it’s impressive. So is all of the Amazon Web Services stuff. (And it’s also great — if a bit creepy — insight into consumer behavior.)
- Amazon is willing to be more aggressive in pricing than just about anyone in the market. I highly doubt that Amazon has the gadget supply chain mojo that Tim Cook and Apple do. But I don’t doubt that some folks at Apple HQ are thinking about that $199 Kindle Fire tablet right now and wondering if they need to do anything about it. It may hurt Amazon’s margins, but if it’s any good, the value people feel they are getting should help build long-term loyalty, and that’s the whole point. (Important: Amazon has a track record of generally making these expensive bets correctly.)
- As a pitch man, Jeff Bezos is pretty good. He’s no Steve Jobs, but that’s okay — no one is. But he does happen to quote some smart and handsome people in his presentations. Thanks, Jeff!
The Kindle Fire’s slogan says it all: “All the content. Ultra-fast web browsing.” That’s the best sort of marketing message: simple, appealing, and true. Well, we’ll see how fast their new cloud-boosted Silk browser is in practice, but the content part is undeniably true. If you buy a Kindle Fire, you’ll have no trouble finding and buying books, movies, and apps. The deal for Amazon Prime members is good too: unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows. (Streaming, I believe, means it won’t work offline, but Amazon also sells and rents movies and TV shows for offline viewing.)
It’s all about the content, though. That’s the difference that other tablet makers missed. Motorola, Samsung, RIM — they seem to be chasing the iPad on specs, building the best tablet they can manage at the same starting price of around $500. But they have no clear message telling people what you can do with them.
Back in June, Harry McCracken laid out the key question to ask of any tablet: “Why should somebody buy this instead of an iPad?” The Kindle Fire is interesting because it’s the first one with a good answer: it’s much cheaper, Amazon offers a digital content ecosystem that rivals Apple’s (fewer apps, more books), and millions of people already use and enjoy Kindle hardware. The e-ink Kindles are to the Kindle Fire what the music-playing iPods were to the iPhone, and what the iPhone was to the iPad — traction in the mass market based on trust and loyalty.
Amazon built an alternative to the iPad, rather than a direct competitor. It’s a different market segment. As Steve Jobs explained back in 2010 at the introduction of the original iPad, there’s unexplored territory between smartphones and laptops.
Apple and Amazon are...
With all of the supernatural success swirling around legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs as he steps down from the position, it’s easy to forget that he’s human. Michael Dhuey, 53, had two opportunities to experience the real Jobs through working with him.
“I had a good experience with Steve, but I also know people who did not,” laughs Dhuey during a phone interview from Cupertino, CA.
Dhuey is currently a tech lead and one of the founders of the Cisco Systems video teleconferencing department. He knows Jobs professionally after working with him on two significant projects in Apple history: The Macintosh II in 1987 (Dhuey was an electrical and computer engineer at Apple then, and co-invented the computer) and the original iPod in 2001 (Dhuey was one of two engineers who developed the hardware).
“He was very clear about what he didn’t like,” says Dhuey. “He was not filtered with his input. If he was in a meeting that was boring him, he would be blunt. He’d say, ‘I don’t need to see this, let’s move on.’ And we would. He didn’t suffer a fool.”
Dhuey recalls that people would dread getting into an elevator with Jobs. If yo...
[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Robyn Lee]
331 West 4th Street, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-242-9502 ; cornerbistrony.com
Cooking Method: Broiled
Short Order: Best deal in the neighborhood, extremely inconsistent
Want Fries With That? Thin and crisp but often tastes of old grease
Price: Bistro Burger $6.75; french fries, $2.50
Here's the dirty little secret: none of us here really like it that much.
Ok, it's out there, I said it. We talk about burgers a lot here at A Hamburger Today headquarters. I mean, a LOT. Favorite burger lists are an almost daily conversation, and when it comes to New York, certain names pop up a frequently. Shake Shack. J.G. Mellon. Fairway Cafe. Read More