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broadstuff"broadstuff" - 5 new articles

  1. We have Brexited!
  2. Linked In, Data Out
  3. tronc!
  4. Godwin's Law proven
  5. A recipe for disaster at the BBC
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search broadstuff
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

We have Brexited!

Today, the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), whatever that may mean.

Whatever you think of the outcome (this are not really a political blog), we are officially in Uncharted Seas, in Interesting Times - History is beginning again

From a technology point of view there are some interesting questions, for example about the UK's adoption of EU data rules, or whether the UK "Tech" sector is better of relocating to Berlin or Dublin or somesuch, or whatever.

We have been going for 10 years this year, and have had to do some quite interesting predictive work over the last 10 years, from the market opportunity of niche products future of entire industries, but we would never have predicted this until a few weeks ago when it was clear social media sentiment was rapidly shifting

Change is a constant.....the next 10 promise to be just as interesting.

Linked In, Data Out

It is hard to see exactly what synergies the deal brings - picture above courtesy Matt Zeitlin

Microsoft has bought Linked In, the question top of mind to us is "why - and why pay so much?".

They have paid about 50% over the odds (Linked In shares were c $130, now are c $195 on MSFT bid of $196), that is a considerable premium.

It would seem to be a bet on the "Future of Work" - Satya Nadella (MSFT CEO) says that:

"We are in pursuit of a common mission centered on empowering people and organizations. Along with the new growth in our Office 365 commercial and Dynamics businesses this deal is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes,"


Think about it: How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world. It requires a vibrant network that brings together a professional’s information in LinkedIn’s public network with the information in Office 365 and Dynamics.

Quite how this translates practically is hard to see, as the diagram shows above synergies are not exactly obvious so its an accretion play. But the business cases trotted out are speculative and not particulalry compelling:

- Microsoft Office combined with LinkedIn's network so Microsoft can point to a specialized expert through LinkedIn
- Office detects what you're working on, and can then use to post articles to your LinkedIn news feed (that's not a security risk, oh no).

This is not the stuff of a 50% level of valuation premium, it's fluff for diverting tech journos. Yet Nadella is no fool, so what is really in play here? Thinking laterally, it gives MSFT access to a lot more data about YOU!:

- Access to the social graphs and details about a lot of working people globally, i.e. the list of nearly every customer, and insight into many companies that Microsoft has or wants - a CRM system wet-dream
- Access to their activity streams over time - it's now about what you know, or who you know, its what you know about who you know

Now that is the sort of thing that has got real value, and the price then starts makes sense - deter others from entering any bidding war.

Of course, it could not be be, as one wag on Twitter suggested, MSFT's attempt to "consolidate its dominance over the most joyless aspects of your computing life" - though if we follow Lewinsky's Law, that the most dull tech is the most profitable, it also explains the valuation ;-)



Tribune Publishing, the parent company that owns several storied and proud newspapers in the US including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, announced on Thursday that it would be changing its name to “tronc Inc.”

That’s with one lowercase t and one uppercase I.

In a press release, the company said that tronc Inc would be “a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels”.

The name, according to the release, is a shortening of Tribune Online Content.

It gets, er, better - from troncInc's own press release:

“tronc pools the company’s leading media brands and leverages innovative technology to deliver personalized and interactive experiences to its 60m monthly users,”

And then there is troncX, an “online curation and monetization engine” which utilizes artificial intelligence technology “to accelerate digital growth”.

Oddly enough, the marketplace has not been wowed, in fact some have been uncouth enough to even suggest that the brand name was badly troncated, or even that the Branding Consultants were tronc (OK, OK, nearly everyone is hooting with laughter and taking the piss)

But all is not lost - firstly, its an excellent Wildean Strategy and lets not ignore that they have all those right-on-the-money buzzwords - Monetization, premium, AI, digital, accelerate - and it starts with a small letter to boot. Not a bad start for Unicorn bingo, but Broadstuff analysis shows a serious flaw - surely, surely to hit max points they should have gone for that double "oo" thing?

You know it makes sense....besides, what (more) could go wrong?

Godwin's Law proven

Godwin's Law of Online Discourse - that as an online discussion continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or to Nazis approaches 1 - has been proven.

From Mr Godwin himself:

on May 4 when it was announced that "CuriousGnu" – a blogger who shares with me an ongoing curiosity about numbers and statistical data – had blogged that "78% of Reddit Threads With 1000+ Comments Mention Nazis".

On the law itself, he notes that:

I designed Godwin's Law not to be predictive, but to be "memetic" — not to show that debates would invariably become overheated but to spur debaters to invoke history mindfully, with deeper analysis rather than with glib allusion, because that's the way for a speaker or writer to show that he or she is not taking the easy rhetorical path.

That hasn't gone so well it seems...he also noted the propensity of London mayors to invoke it nowadays:

of course followers of UK politics will have noticed that Hitler and Nazi comparisons have surfaced alarmingly this spring, most notably from two former mayors of London: Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.


A recipe for disaster at the BBC

BBC is being required to reduce its spend by our current Government, and one of the decisions is to remove 11,000 food recipes built up over 15 years or so:

More than 11,000 archived recipes will be removed from the BBC website as part of a review of the corporation's online output, it has been reported.

The move is understood to form part of a plan to cut £15m from the corporation's online budget and focus on distinctive public service content.

TV show recipes will be posted online but only made available for 30 days.

A BBC source said online services had to be "high-quality, distinctive, and offer genuine public value".

A number of interesting lessons from this about electronic vs. paper media:

- Online data is not "permanent" - it can be removed at the whim of economic (or in this case, more likely political) changes in the winds. Once gone, its not clear it can be returned

- They have been paid for by the taxpayer - so unlike a book, once you pay for this content, it can still be removed. Books you actually have to force people to hand over, and then burn to get rid of. Online media, its just the flick of a switch

- The recipes represent an extremely useful resource to "You", in fact many were submitted by "You" .

This being the UK, there is already a campaign and a petition to keep the recipes (and perish the thought the BBC knows this would have happened)

The recipes are part of a broader picture of a larger attack on the BBC's taxpayer funded free content model, which is free for citizens to use and hurts the business models of commercial online businesses.

The BBC represents a real alternative to Ad-funded online content, essentally its a tax funded high quality content model, and has shown itself to be largely superior to the Ad-funded model in the UK and thus represents an existential threat to Ad funded approaches, hence the increasing attacks on its online assets.


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