Is this a turning point for publishing?
Publishing and advertising both need to bend back toward where they came from, and what works. I see hope for that in the news today. In Refinery29 Lays Off 10% of Staff as 2018 Revenue Comes Up Short, by Todd Spangler, (@xpangler) of Variety reports, Digital media company Refinery29, facing a 5% revenue shortfall for the year, is cutting 10% of its workforce, or about 40 employees.Digital media company Refinery29, facing a 5% revenue shortfall for the year, is cutting 10% of its workforce, or about 40 employees. Company co-founders and co-CEOs Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano announced the cuts in an internal memo. “While our 2018 revenue will show continued year-over-year growth, we are projecting to come in approximately 5% short of our goal,” they wrote. As a result of its financial pressures, “we will be parting ways with approximately 10% of our workforce.” The latest cuts, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, come after New York-based Refinery29 laid off 34 employees in December 2017. Refinery29, which targets a millennial female audience, is going to cut back on content “with a short shelf life,” according to the execs. “While this type of content has been driving views, it has not yielded a great monetization strategy to justify the same level of continued investment.” Von Borries and Stefano wrote that they see sustainable growth in “premium, evergreen” programming, and plan to produce more video (both short- and long-form) on that front. I’ve boldfaced the important stuff. To explain why it’s important, dig this, in Refinery29 Lays Off 10% of Its Staff, Unifies Sales Team, by Melynda Fuller (@MGrace_Fuller) in MediaPost: As part of the restructuring, Refinery29 will also unify its sales teams into a unified Customer Solutions Group, in addition to a Sales Planning and Operations Group. This suggests Refinery29 is becoming a high-integrity publication, and not just another content pump and eyeball-shooting gallery for adtech (tracking-based advertising). (This Digiday piece by @maxwillens may suggest the same.) If that’s so, then there is new hope: not just for publishing online, but for the kind of brand advertising that actually sponsors publications, and which has worked for both brands and publications since forever in the offline world. By now pretty much all of online advertising is adtech, which doesn’t sponsor publishers. Instead it uses publishers to mark and track eyeballs wherever they might go. It does that by p
advertising  docsearls  adtech  branding 
12 weeks ago
Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid - Virginia Woolf
The searchlights, wavering across the flat, have picked up the plane now. From this window one can see a little silver insect turning and twisting in the light. The guns go pop pop pop. Then they cease. Probably the raider was brought down behind the hill. One of the pilots landed safe in a field near here the other day. He said to his captors, speaking fairly good English, “How glad I am that the fight is over!” Then an Englishman gave him a cigarette, and an Englishwoman made him a cup of tea. That would seem to show that if you can free the man from the machine, the seed does not fall upon altogether stony ground. The seed may be fertile.
virginia  woolf  war 
september 2018
Why Older People Have Always Trashed Young People – Youth, Now – Medium
We talk of children in terms of continuation. They carry on our traditions. They take our names. We delight in how they look like us, act like us, think like us. We want our kids to adopt our politics, our causes, our sense of meaning. In our children, we seek immortality.

But then they grow up, and we discover they’re not us. They are their own people. They’ll find their own politics, their own causes, their own sense of meaning. They’re more interested in the future than the past. They’ll know their parents’ names, of course, and probably their grandparents’ names, but perhaps not their great-grandparents’ names, and certainly not their great-great-grandparents’ names. Which means one day they’ll have children, and those children will have children, and our names will begin to be forgotten too. We will slip into nothingness, remembered by nobody, having left no recognizable impact.

That’s why we say these kids are no good. We can’t accept that life goes on without us. And instead of accepting it, we lay the blame for the whole state of affairs at the feet of the next generation.
culture  kids  generation-gap 
september 2018
Yuval Noah Harari: the myth of freedom | Books | The Guardian
Propaganda and manipulation are nothing new, of course. But whereas in the past they worked like carpet bombing, now they are becoming precision-guided munitions. When Hitler gave a speech on the radio, he aimed at the lowest common denominator, because he couldn’t tailor his message to the unique weaknesses of individual brains. Now it has become possible to do exactly that. An algorithm can tell that you already have a bias against immigrants, while your neighbour already dislikes Trump, which is why you see one headline while your neighbour sees an altogether different one. In recent years some of the smartest people in the world have worked on hacking the human brain in order to make you click on ads and sell you stuff. Now these methods are being used to sell you politicians and ideologies, too.
politics  technology  philosophy  harari 
september 2018
John Remmers’s review of The Outsider
2 of 5 stars to The Outsider by Stephen King
from twitter
august 2018
Online Shopping Is Making Us Accumulate More Junk - The Atlantic
All told, “we are all accumulating mountains of things,” said Mark A. Cohen, the director of retail studies at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He sometimes asks his students to count the number of things they have on them in class, and once they start counting up gadgets and cords and accessories, they end up near 50. “Americans have become a society of hoarders,” Cohen said. Montoya said she has more stuff now that she has started shopping online: “It’s easier to accumulate more, and it’s easier to spend more.”
ecommerce  amazon  online  shopping  hoarding 
august 2018
Opinion | Happy Children Do Chores - The New York Times
Sports and homework are not get-out-of-chores-free cards. The goal, after all, is not to raise children we can coddle into the Ivy League. The goal is to raise adults who can balance a caring role in their families and communities with whatever lifetime achievement goals they choose. Chores teach that balance. They’re not just chores — they’re life skills.
kids  parenting  chores 
august 2018
Net neutrality activists, state officials are taking the FCC to court. Here’s how they’ll argue the case. - The Washington Post
The overall impression, the group said, is that of trying to deregulate all roads that lead to hotels by simply reclassifying the roads themselves as hotels.

“Never mind, continues the builder, that the road itself does not provide guests with any lodging, business conferencing, or beach recreation services,” the brief said. “That is the essence of what the FCC argues.”
net  neutrality  internet  fcc 
august 2018
Opinion | Our Real Immigration Problem - The New York Times
Finally, immigrants — legal or otherwise — make better citizens than native-born Americans. More entrepreneurial. More church-going. Less likely to have kids out of wedlock. Far less likely to commit crime. These are the kind of attributes Republicans claim to admire.
june 2018
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