The Focus On And Of WhatsApp

parislemon:

This morning I had a meeting with a couple entrepreneurs whose company was recently acquired. It was just a general catch up session, no real agenda. Still, it seemed quite random when a good third of our conversation was spent talking about WhatsApp and its incredible penetration in India.

Why was this growth happening? The consensus was: focus. On what they’re good at. On what their users want. On what ultimately matters.

A couple hours later, what at the time seemed a random conversation turned almost a little spooky when it was announced that Facebook would be acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion and change.

I’m not going to spend time breaking down this extraordinary deal as I know no more about it than what I’ve read. But what I do find fascinating is what’s becoming clear from those closest to the company: in an age of pomp and circumstance around all things startups, the team behind WhatsApp was all about keeping their heads down, focusing on product, and avoiding bullshit at all costs.

Read More

A New Glue For A New Kingdom

parislemon:

To me, the most exciting part of the Facebook/WhatsApp deal has nothing to do with the deal itself. Instead, I’m excited about the ramifications of such a deal. And I’m not talking about Facebook or WhatsApp here either. History will ultimately prove that deal genius or folly. But more importantly, I know that a deal like this has other people talking, thinking, and building.

The last group is key, but let me start with the first group. Once the fervor around the deal itself died down, we got a couple of compelling posts from the likes of Benedict Evans and riffing on it, John Lilly. Incidentally, both are now VCs. But neither started out that way, and both have long histories of solid thinking and writing.

Both understand that the Facebook/WhatsApp deal is simply the strongest signal yet that we’ve fully entered a new age in the world of computing where mobile is now the kingdom. And the $19 billion price tag simply shows that there isn’t yet a king.

Read More

justineferon:

Yes yes Yale.

(via the lovely and talented Miss Marsh)

Want.

nbaedits:

Eastern Conference Dunk Contest Freestyle Round

nbaedits:

John Wall - Dunk Contest

And I just burned hot tea all over my face when I read this…

"We submitted about 41 cards to Netflix, and they rejected the ones they didn’t like, like “Binge-watching 12 hours of House of Cards while wearing an adult diaper,” because they “didn’t like their brand being associated with adult diapers.” (They also rejected a lot of other amazing cards, but they told us we weren’t allowed to say them in this blog post)."

cah:

House of Cards Against Humanity

On Monday we quietly announced and sold out of a little pack of cards we made for Netflix to promote the new season of House of Cards, which comes out on February 14th.

This was a weird project, even by our standards. Here’s how it happened.

The Idea

Netflix emailed us on December 13th and asked if we’d be interested in working with them on a small pack of cards to promote House of Cards. We have no idea why they thought a scatological party game would convince people to binge-watch a sophisticated political thriller - possibly because they both have the word “cards” in the name.

We’ve become pretty skeptical of these kinds of emails; we get a lot of them, and on the few occasions when we’ve tried to work with a big company, we usually get burned by them and quit (looking at you Microsoft and HBO).

On one of our calls, Netflix told us that if they ever do another project with Arrested Development we could write cards about it, so we decided that in this case, compromising with a bunch of humorless, corporate suits was worth it.

Writing the Pack

To write the pack, we first had to watch the show. It was pretty good, but we had no idea what was going on with these paper cranes that kept appearing in every episode.

Then we met with House of Cards’ show runner Beau Willimon, who also had no idea what was going on with the paper cranes, and asked us to make a joke about the scene where Kate Mara is getting eaten out while she’s on the phone with her dad.

We submitted about 41 cards to Netflix, and they rejected the ones they didn’t like, like “Binge-watching 12 hours of House of Cards while wearing an adult diaper,” because they “didn’t like their brand being associated with adult diapers.” (They also rejected a lot of other amazing cards, but they told us we weren’t allowed to say them in this blog post).

Then Netflix announced the pack Monday morning on their Twitter account and sold out 10,000 packs in about 45 minutes, and we wrote this contractually-obligated blog post, which went through one week of revisions and arguments in which Netflix stripped out many of the interesting things we wanted to tell you.

Downloading the Pack

Unfortunately the pack is totally sold out but you can download a text list of the cards or a print-at-home version at HouseOfCardsAgainstHumanity.com.

One More Thing

Netflix paid us a lot of money to write the pack (they won’t allow us to say how much they paid us). It’s not really our business model to get paid by a big company to write jokes, so we donated an amount of money that is more than $49,999 and less than $50,001 to one of our favorite non-profits, The Sunlight Foundation.

“It’s very clear that all these systems were built back in the 70’s and 80’s. You’re seeing these giant gaps that are being filled in.”

Marc Andreessen at the Goldman Sachs conference in San Francisco

While the past several years has seen incredible advances in technology, they have yet to fundamentally transform the way large businesses and industries operate.  They have certainly been additive, but the operational modes and work processes have not radically changed.

We are at the the moment in time however when major shifts are going to occur.  The slow, unwieldy legacy technology stacks buried deep inside companies governed by onerous processes will be give way to newer technologies that are adapted to the way people work rather than technology being imposed onto people.  It is even bigger than giant gaps being filled; it is turning systems wholesale on their heads.

(via marksbirch)