and in business news…

Fascinating and Troll-like Barry Diller buys Ask Jeeves. No visible logic to this deal but, then again, who predicted Diller’s epic upside from buying the lacklustre Home Shopping Network or the equally mind-blowing outcome of his dodgy-looking 2001 Vivendi pact? Diller is a business genius and he compounds his genius by staying out at the… Continue reading and in business news…

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Still rotting

A long time ago I ran a company called Webmedia. It was a web design firm and we earned the special distinction of ‘going bust before the boom’ (as one journalist pithily put it). Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it lately since I spent the weekend talking about business ethics in Switzerland. One incident in… Continue reading Still rotting

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Google’s edgy brand

Will a Google takeover of Wikipedia be a good thing or a bad thing? Don’t ask me. I’m more interested in what Google‘s offer says about the company’s persistently geeky culture. I may be wrong but I’m about 90% sure that it hasn’t occurred to anyone at Microsoft to host Wikipedia (this would be more… Continue reading Google’s edgy brand

What’s the story?

Reading about Microsoft’s belated entry to grown-up web search the thing that struck me was actually how level the playing field is right now. According to Infoworld, search breaks down like this: Google: 34.7%. Yahoo: 31.9%. MSN: 16.3% and AOL (Time Warner): 9.4%. That leaves about 8% for the gaggle of ‘others’ (including the benighted… Continue reading What’s the story?

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Best spam this week

From: “Richard” (qyield@yahoo.com.cn) Date: 28 January 2005 05:13:30 GMT To: steve@bowbrick.com Subject: tent Reply-To: sales@jxtrade.cn To Whom It May Concern, We have learned from the Internet that you are interested in tents…

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How to throw away a natural advantage

The UK cable TV business is a uniquely dysfunctional family, managing to marry epic individual clumsiness with the kind of domestic chaos that continually threatens to bring the whole family down. Having (nearly) overcome the decades of forced disarray produced by its origin in dozens of separate, local companies, the industry’s getting ready for another… Continue reading How to throw away a natural advantage

eBay people

Like you (I assume), we spent a lot of money on eBay this Xmas – lots of cheap Lego and Hello Kitty and Geomag plus toys that were unobtainable in the shops. Let’s face it, you can get anything on eBay (except a gun) but the experience is very different from shopping at John Lewis… Continue reading eBay people

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Software stories

Anyone who does product design or marketing should read this entertaining and inspiring account of the history of a Mac software product called Audion. Why? Because a) more and more products will be made and marketed like software (and because more and more products will actually be software), b) because the Panic team’s passion and… Continue reading Software stories