Just announced. This, from the comments on the Typkit blog, captures my feelings …
Great move for Adobe & the Typekit founders, that’s how capitalism works – congrats! But for the font consumer – I’m not so sure.
James Surowieki wrote an interesting article in the New Yorker last week about Groupon. The piece has a couple really keen observations about web-based businesses that a surprising number of people don’t seem to get. Couple quotes …
Most of the companies that have transformed the Web have certain things in common. They have distinctive technologies. They benefit from what are usually called network effects: the more people who use the service, the more valuable the service becomes. (You’re more likely to use Facebook or Twitter when lots of your friends have signed up, and the more people there are who use Google the more accurate its searches become.) Most important, they scale easily, meaning that they can grow very big without much additional effort. To be sure, the more users Twitter and Facebook have, the more servers they have to buy, and so on. But the genius of these companies is that their users do most of the work and create most of the value; once the ball is rolling, it’s the users who keep pushing it along.
When we think about the Internet, we often think of businesses in black-and-white terms: either they’re huge, world-changing hits or they’re flops. But that’s a false dichotomy. These days, the Web is full of good, solid businesses that may not be remaking the world but that are helping give people what they want. If that’s what Groupon ends up being, well, there are worse fates.
A long, but fascinating article from the New Yorker; via Kottke.org.
In effect, many of the big banks have turned themselves from businesses whose profits rose and fell with the capital-raising needs of their clients into immense trading houses whose fortunes depend on their ability to exploit day-to-day movements in the markets. Because trading has become so central to their business, the big banks are forever trying to invent new financial products that they can sell but that their competitors, at least for the moment, cannot.
The Starbucks Digital network launched today. I’m not a big Starbucks fan, but this is just plain smart — for Starbucks and the content providers involved. Via Mashable.
Brotman describes SDN as a localized five channel network with curated content from the best sources in the following categories: News, Entertainment, Wellness, Business & Careers and My Neighborhood.
In the News channel, customers will have unfettered access to the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times. Brotman explained that access to the latter of the two will be the paid versions not available for free to readers anywhere else.
When it comes to entertainment, Starbucks will offer free Apple iTunes downloads. Brotman promises even “more exciting Apple stuff” in the future, noting that the two brands have a strong relationship. Nickelodeon is offering free access to Nick Jr. Boost via SDN. The offering should appeal to parents trying to entertain their kids by giving unrestricted access to educational games that aren’t usually free.
The code used to create Microsoft’s Chinese microblogging service, Juku, was brazenly copied by the outside vendor MS hired. I don’t include this post to rag on MS, but because the screen shots show a classic example of what happens when an unethical designer/developer decides they can’t be bothered. I hope the guys at Plurk get justice. From Plurk’s blog …
We were first tipped off by high profile bloggers and Taiwanese users of our community that Microsoft had just launched a new Chinese microblogging service that looked eerily similar to Plurk. Needless to say we were absolutely shocked and outraged when we first saw with our own eyes the cosmetic similarities Microsoft’s new offering had with Plurk. From the filter tabs, emoticons, qualifier/verb placement, Karma scoring system, media support, new user walkthroughs to pretty much everything else that gives Plurk its trademark appeal, Microsoft China’s offering ripped off our service. See for yourself: (Microsoft MClub on top, Plurk on bottom).
From wired.co.uk …
A company at a German trade show has attached tiny banner advertisements to flies and set them loose on unsuspecting visitors, in a bizarre yet effective marketing stunt.
The banners, measuring just a few centimetres across, seem to be causing the beleaguered flies a bit of piloting trouble. The weight keeps the flies at a lower altitude and forces them to rest more often, which is a stroke of genius on the part of the marketing creatives: the flies end up at about eye level, and whenever a fly is forced to land and recover, the banner is clearly visible. What’s more, the zig-zagging of the fly naturally attracts the attention because of its rapid movement.