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July 17, 2013

"The long tail is wrong" — David Galbraith


Galbraith's Twitter bio: "Tech entrepreneur, former architect, now creator of digital things — including RSS, Yelp, 'pinning' & the convention for these bios."

Yeah, he's got serious street cred.

Here's what he wrote on July 7, 2013.


The graph at the top represents what has become known as the Long Tail, the idea that the orange bit (all the little guys) has a larger area that the red one (the hits).

Technologists thought the orange bit would be bigger, because that is in their interest (for technology, the money is in the platforms that serve all the smaller players) and it's a more positive story (it makes room for the little guys).

A recent example of this convenient thinking is super-angel investor Paul Graham's rallying call for people considering doing a startup: "The monolithic, hierarchical companies of the mid 20th century are being replaced by networks of smaller companies." In fact, the opposite is true, as witnessed by the tech galaxies Google, Apple, and Amazon — or the fact that 75% of notional value contained within Graham's Y Combinator rests with 2% of the companies they have invested in — and most will go bust.

If you are a technologist looking at retail, you build eBay to serve lots of small vendors in the orange portion of the graph.

The red bit, on the other hand, is served by the brands and the brand builders. In the retail analogy, instead of eBay and small sellers, this is a brand like IKEA supported by agencies rather than platforms.

The Internet is a hits business: the red bit contains hit content/brands/businesses and the rest is served by "hit platforms" — the aforementioned Google, Apple, and Amazon.

Even if the orange portion were bigger than the red, the largest profit would still flow to the hit platforms rather than the niche businesses of the long tail.

There is evidence that the long tail is wrong — that the red bit, the part technology platforms can serve but don't control, is bigger than in the pre-digital era, and that brands are more important than ever.

This is because although there are more niches that are economically viable, there are less members in each niche. Where there once were two specialist soul music record stores serving Chicago and San Francisco respectively, now there is one — online.

This is why Gangnam Style has been viewed online an unbelievable one billion times. It is like a large brand, an extreme hit of the digital age.

It means that even with infinite channels, audiences will congregate around hit content or brands, and that the existing model of leveraging creativity rather than technology to capture attention will be even more important.

Economic models till now have been based on physical goods or finite delivery channels creating limited supply and unfulfillable demand.

Digital goods now mean that we have infinite supply (online news, Spotify, YouTube) and the scarcity is people's attention.

On the web, hits and celebrity are where people's attention is focused, and like celebrity ego it should come as no surprise that the web is less of a Long Tail than a Big Head business.

July 17, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fugu Mints


Go ahead, they won't kill you.

From the website:


Mints named after the poisonous pufferfish, for adventurous eaters

If you're not familiar with fugu perhaps it's for the best.

Fugu is a Japanese specialty food made from parts of a deadly species of poisonous pufferfish.

Adventurous eaters and foolhardy foodies have been feasting on fugu for centuries and, yes, some have even died.

Fortunately, our Fugu Mints do not contain any of the deadly toxins found in real pufferfish — but you don't have to tell that to your friends.

Each 3" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" tin contains about 140 mints.


FunFact from Wikipedia: "Pufferfish are generally believed to be the second-most poisonous vertebrates in the world, after the golden poison frog.


July 17, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Typepad Reliability: Six Sigma

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 9.12.39 AM

I was surprised this morning around 9 am when I checked boj only to get a "Not available" message.

Every other site worked.

I checked on my iPad: nope, down there too.

On my iPhone? There it was, plain as the nose on your face. 

What's up wit dat?

Longtime blog host Typepad (since boj's inception in its current incarnation on August 24, 2004 (9 year anniversary celebration activities in full swing, trust me and Gray Cat on this) has a status page and it didn't say there was anything going on.

I submitted a Help Ticket (top) to Typepad and within 5 minutes got back an email saying Typepad's fine and they show my blog as up and running: they said "Looks like a problem with your registrar" — whatever that is.

Never mind.

When I checked back via Typepad's backstage, there was boj just the way it's supposed to be.

Of interest to me after filed the Help Ticket was a look back at the timeline (top) of my previous Help Tickets filed with Typepad over the years.

Amazing and impressive: it's coming up on on FOUR YEARS since I had a problem with their blog hosting.

That's nearly four years of six to eight around-the-clock daily posts seven days a week, 52 weeks a year — and it's never gone down once.

That is fantastic.

Kudos to Typepad: All the scoffers and haters who tell me how horrible it is compared to WordPress and why I would be so much better off there: you will get me to switch bookfofjoe from Typepad to WordPress only after you pry my log-in from my cold, dead fingers.

And you can quote me.

July 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Microbrewing Teacup




From the website:




Teacup makes enjoying tea nice and simple.


Thanks to the triangular mesh insert, it is easy to adjust the strength of tea precisely to your taste without making a mess.


This is how it is done:

1. Tilt the teacup so that the strainer side of the cup is lower.

2. Place tea leaves into the strainer, pour hot water until the leaves are covered, and let it steep for a while.

3. By tilting the teacup the other way, the hot water is no longer in contact with the leaves.

Now tea is ready to be enjoyed while the leaves in the strainer spread their natural fragrance.



Black or White: $20.

July 17, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Catme13/GlassEffect12 — In which my Google Glass freezes, and I await arrival of its replacement


All was well Monday night at the Charlottesville Track Club's All-Comers Meet: I POV'd my mile (7:13, down from last week's 7:24 but not close to the 7:04 I clocked in May on the very same Lannigan Field track at the University of Virginia, though it was a very humid 92° at the 6:30 p.m, still brightly sunny start) with Glass and noticed the device shut off in the moments after the race, showing "Storage space full: download to computer."

No problema, thought I, I'll figure out how to do that when I get home.


Though I couldn't take pictures or videos, the connectivity functions, screen, and computer-like functions were perfectly fine until the battery ran out about 8 p.m., while I was watching the 5K.

No big deal, I thought: charge it up and upload the video of the mile and Bob's your uncle.


I plugged in the charger, the light for charging lit up — but the screen stayed dark.

For the rest of the night.

No worries, I figured: it'll be fully charged and ready to do its thing in the morning.


The light indicating it was connected stayed lit but Glass didn't turn on.

I called the dedicated help line in California the moment it opened yesterday (8 a.m. — 12 midnight ET 7 days/week) and spent about 45 minutes on the phone with a Google tech support person who had me do a number of maneuvers to try and get the device working again: no cigar.

She told me they'll ship me a new one immediately (no charge for the replacement) and to send the old one back in the to-be-enclosed return box.

Scheduled arrival this Friday.

So, hey, it's in beta, stuff happens, plenty of people having to get replacements for a zillion different reasons.

I must confess it's kind of nice to have a day without Glass if only to reexperience how life used to be.

I prefer the Glass way.

FunFact: the only thing über-model Coco Rocha (top) and I have in common is our color preference in Glass.

July 17, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Shark Attack Sucker


I don't where all this shark stuff came from all of a sudden but I'm pleased to report this is it: the well has run dry, so no more after this final hurrah.

From the website: "Just when you thought it was safe to eat candy again, along comes this 2" blueberry-flavored Shark Attack Sucker. We recommend you pretend your tongue is an innocent swimmer and have this sucker attack it. So realistic you'll feel the need to eat from inside a protective cage."


July 17, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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