You’re seeing longevity in blogging jobs for the first time ever since we created professional blogging. It’s not a job that one ages well with, for the most part. I mean, you go make cat gif listicles when you’re 50. Try that on for size.
The Language of Selling Out
About 24 hours and many, many articles ago, Facebook announced that it would acquire WhatsApp for a sum of money that would make even Warren Buffet do a double take. With the initial rush of stories behind us, I decided to re-read WhatsApp’s blog post announcing the deal. Then I revisited the blog post that Instagram put out in 2012 announcing its acquisition by Facebook.
The formats of both blog posts are fairly similar, as you might expect, considering they deal with a similar subject and were likely both vetted by Facebook. Both begin by talking about their origins and touting their missions to connect the world. Both then promise that nothing will change with their respective apps. Finally, both conclude with a nod to the next step in their journey as part of Facebook.
There are a few notable differences in the details and wording of these posts, though. Perhaps the most notable is the use of the F-word.
Instagram cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom mentions “Facebook’ five times in his blog post (six, if you count the headline). Systrom talks about working with Facebook. He talks about the “support” and “talent” at Facebook. He talks about being “psyched” to join Facebook.
Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s cofounder and CEO, mentions “Facebook” just once in the post and once in the headline. Indeed, the headline just says “Facebook,” whereas Instagram’s headline said “Instagram + Facebook.” It’s almost as though he feels a need to keep his brand at a distance from Facebook.
To add to that sense, Koum never actually writes that WhatsApp has been “acquired.” Instead, he writes matter-of-factly that his company is “announcing a partnership” with the dreaded F-word. That’s a marked departure from Systrom, who obligingly wrote, “we couldn’t be happier to announce that Instagram has agreed to be acquired by Facebook.”
Koum hasn’t “agreed” to anything and neither does he profess to be “happier.” Reading his blog post, you might be forgiven for assuming that he had grudgingly accepted a merger of equals. Perhaps, on some level, that is the case.
One of the best ways of finding amazing stories is making shit up and then hoping that it really does exist and then searching for it.
How Steve Jobs Reacted to Execs Leaving Apple
There’s an amusing little anecdote about how Steve Jobs dealt with departing employees in Brad Stone’s new book about Amazon:
[Jeff] Bezos hired the suave, Italian-born [Diego] Piacentini in early 2000 to take the top spot running Amazon’s international operations. Piacentini’s old boss Steve Jobs had expressed incredulity at the move in his typically strident way. Over lunch in the Apple cafeteria in Cupertino, Jobs asked Piacentini why he would possibly want to go to a boring retailer when Apple was in the process of reinventing computing. Then in the same breath, Jobs suggested that maybe the career move revealed that Piacentini was so dumb that it was a good thing he was leaving Apple.
Leaves are giving up, like newspapers, becoming insolvent all over the streets.
The Road the iPhone Travels to Get to You
Bloomberg has a great behind-the-scenes look at how an iPhone gets from suppliers in China to Apple stores:
The process starts in China, where pallets of iPhones are moved from factories in unmarked containers accompanied by a security detail. The containers are then loaded onto trucks and shipped via pre-bought airfreight space, including on old Russian military transports.
Death of a Typewriter Repairman
The New York Times has a beautiful obit about a typewriter repairman. It includes this great quote:
“I don’t even know what a computer is,” Mr. Whitlock told The Yale Daily News, the student paper, in 2010. “I’ve heard about them a lot, but I don’t own one, and I don’t want one to own me.”
Can Google Glass Free Us From the Tyranny of Screens?
My general feeling is that the closer technology comes to our faces, the more it starts to distract from us living in the moment. But a recent New York Times feature reveals that the designers behind Google Glass hope to achieve the opposite:
Every Glass designer I spoke to insisted that it wasn’t something you were supposed to stare at, zoning out on videos or playing games or reading while ignoring those around you. The expressed hope was that by giving people a quick way to check e-mail and text messages — and to find quick answers while on the go — Glass would encourage them to spend less time, not more, staring at screens. There were technical imperatives at work, too: the device has a short battery life (the screen usually turns off after only a few seconds of inactivity). “We should not be competing with the world,” says Antonio Costa, a Google designer who works on Glass. “We would lose.”
Still, I can’t help but feel that those who use products like Glass risk turning the entire world into a screen. We’ll see, I guess.
What Miley Cyrus Can Teach Us About the State of Online Journalism
Plenty of people question the strategy of publications covering stories like Miley Cyrus “twerking” at the VMAs. Andrew Wallenstein at Variety offered some much-needed perspective on why publications really resort to this strategy:
As extensive as the Cyrus coverage is, it is a cheap and quick way to yield great results–the polar opposite of Syria coverage, which is likely expensive, time-consuming and an inconsistent audience draw.
But that’s where those who cherish the Syria coverage need to understand that Cyrus doesn’t detract from Syria; it actually bears the weight of traffic demands that Syria shouldn’t be expected to meet. Thus Cyrus is helping shoulder the cost of more substantial coverage that Syria can’t possibly meet on its own.
Read the full article here.
Print will never die if cats have anything to say about it