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Uh oh, somebody forgot to cut-up Stockton's credit cards.

A team of independent researchers will pick 100 people to receive the money. The purpose is to study how an extra $500 a month impacts people’s health and stress level. Researchers are also looking to see if people feel financially secure.
-- CBS Sacramento

The plan kicks-in early next year, just four years after the city exited bankruptcy in 2015. California Über Alles!

-- Scrib

Rookie in its demise has joined The Awl, Grantland, and The Toast. They all shared a business model that was based on hand-cut advertising deals...a model that lost out to the new wave of programmatic advertising. In that sense, the end of Rookie represents another nail in the coffin of small, independent internet publishing.
-- Josephine Livingstone

Color me skeptical. The thing is, programmatic advertising (i.e. clickbait) sites Vice/Vox/Buzzfeed/etc. are all on life support, just like the small independents that Josephine mentions in her piece. I don't know a lot about Mark Cuban, other than what I've seen a few times on Shark Tank, but I can picture him in my head questioning all of these businesses about their ability to scale. I really think that's the problem we are witnessing, here.

Whether you're selling ads directly to other businesses, or you're letting Google handle the sales function for you, it takes a huge amount of effort to establish a track record - and then build on it. The model doesn't matter; it takes a continuous stream of creative content to hold the reader's interest. And interest equals time-on-site, return visits and new readers - all nice metrics if you're trying to sell ads to businesses (even through Google).

We're often compelled to accept the simplest explanation for events, like a company going out of business. In fact, despite all of the technological advances in content delivery, the business still trumps everything else. Sales. Expenses. Cash flow. There's no app for that, you are the app.

-- Scrib


Dr Evil

The New York Times penned a (exhaustingly) long piece on Wednesday that was part anti-Facebook, part anti-Trump, and 100-percent hyperbole.

Mr. Trump’s call to arms — widely condemned by Democrats and some prominent Republicans — was shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook, an illustration of the site’s power to spread racist sentiment.

Only Dr. Evil would claim 15,000 shares on Facebook a really big deal.

...continue reading "It was shared 15,000 times on Facebook"

Prolific military correspondent Sean Naylor wrote a piece for Yahoo News, about how the U.S. Army is refocusing its training from low intensity conflicts (LIC) to major conflicts with near-peer adversaries (e.g. Russia and China).

This year’s National Defense Strategy charged the military with preparing for high-intensity conflict against major nation-state threats like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

I was on the front end of the Army's transition to LIC focused training, back in 1987. I had just missed my unit's rotation through the National Training Center (NTC) in California, which is focused primarily on fighting a heavy tank force in a desert environment, and in the five years that I was in the unit, we never went back.

...continue reading "After years of fighting insurgencies, the Army pivots to training for a major war"

Margaret O’Mara had a great piece in the NYT yesterday, about the history of Silicon Valley and its roots in the defense industrial complex. People not familiar with the area tend to think that Silicon Valley started with the tech boom, in the 1990's.

Defense contracts during and after World War II turned Silicon Valley from a somnolent landscape of fruit orchards into a hub of electronics production and innovations ranging from mainframes to microprocessors to the internet.

...continue reading "Silicon Valley Can’t Escape the Business of War"

Who Will Save Us From the Silicon Valley City-States is a Silicon Valley hit-piece by NY'er Pete Tosiello who opens his article with this gem;

Zuckerberg, one of the world’s most powerful men in terms of money, data, and access to eyes and ears, stating under oath that he had virtually no idea how his $590 billion company made money, much less how it had compromised democracy and inadvertently undercut entire industries.

...continue reading "Who Will Save Us From the Silicon Valley City-States?"