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Gary Edwards

Gary Edwards's Public Library

  • The average adult now spends three hours a day – more than half of total Internet usage time – on mobile, compared to less than an hour a day five years ago. That's a huge market for advertisers, and it hasn't been capitalized on yet. 
  • This year Meeker dedicates 197 slides to covering the evolving advertising landscape, the “re-imagining” of services and business processes, the rise of user-generated/curated content, drones, cyber attacks and more. Here are highlights from the report:
  • Vertical is the new black

    We used to consume media on a widescreen TV or landscape laptop screen. Now smartphones are changing the way we look at things: Vertical viewing accounted for 29% of view time last year, compared to 5% five years ago. Those who are doing it right are accommodating this new view: Snapchat’s vertical video ads have a 9x higher completion rate than horizontal mobile video ads

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May 27, 15

Excellent article with video demonstration explaining the drought in California, and how chemtrails are used to break up a low pressure zone. Amazing stuff. Using chemtrails, the counter clockwise spinning rotation of a low pressure zone is neutralized and even reversed, with the low pressure zone breaking up and dispersing. After watching this video, I noticed that three low pressure zones off the mid and southern coast of California were broken up with the clouds dispersing as they passed over California, Arizona and New Mexico. And guess what? The clouds came together in a new giant low pressure zone over Texas - where four days of thunderstorms and tornadados wrecked havoc. The farm land in California is being laid waste, and farm land in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa is getting more water than the land can handle.

"California is embroiled in a crisis of epic proportions as it continues to struggle through one of the worst droughts in state history. But emerging evidence suggests that the Golden State's water woes aren't a natural occurrence at all, and that a covert military operation involving "chemtrails" and other weather modification weaponry may be to blame.

A recent episode of The HAARP Report, which tracks the activities of the U.S. military's so-called "High Frequency Auroral Research Program" (which the federal government falsely claims has been shut down), provides five pieces of compelling evidence from recently captured satellite imagery that points to deliberate weather modification as the cause of California's drought.

You may have heard of "chemtrails" before -- those unnatural-looking cloud trails occasionally produced by airplanes that don't dissipate normally, and that end up blanketing the skies with a hazy muck. They differ entirely from water vapor contrails produced when water vapor condenses and freezes around small aerosol particles released from aircraft exhaust.

The following image shows a sky filled with chemtrails:"

  • For years, many of those who've been paying attention have wondered what the purpose is of these clearly artificial chemtrails. Well, based on the extensive research findings by The HAARP Report, it seems as though these fake sprayings are helping to redirect and alter weather patterns -- in this case, to steer rain away from California.

    "Chemtrails create a hot air layer at 30,000 feet, capping inversion," explains the report. "They [the powers that be] want that to overrun this low pressure area and prevent this low pressure from forming," as low pressure is what produces precipitation, explains the report.
  • Fukushima: a cover for HAARP and chemtrail-induced atmospheric damage killing our planet
  • A HAARP Report video posted to YouTube on April 19, 2015, lists the following five pieces of evidence suggesting that California's drought is a man-made attack on Californians:

    1) Low pressure areas out in the Pacific Ocean that would normally move in a counterclockwise direction have been detected moving in an anomalous clockwise direction. The HAARP Report, highlighting exclusive imagery captured on April 10, 2015, shows a "burst" of clockwise, high pressure cloud movement that would never occur naturally, and that clearly suggests weather manipulation activity meant to break up cloud formation and prevent precipitation.

    More on how this is accomplished through ionospheric heating is explained in the video report:
    YouTube.com.

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May 26, 15

"The Senate passed a bill Friday night to put the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the Fast Track to approval. Its passage followed a series of stops and starts—an indication that this legislation was nearly too rife with controversy to pass. But after a series of deals and calls from corporate executives, senators ultimately swallowed their criticism and accepted the measure. If this bill ends up passing both chambers of Congress, that means the White House can rush the TPP through to congressional ratification, with lawmakers unable to fully debate or even amend agreements that have been negotiated entirely in secret. On the plus side, all of these delays in the Senate has led other TPP partners to delay any further negotiations on the trade agreement until Fast Track is approved by Congress.

So the fight now starts in the House, where proponents of secret trade deals still lack the votes to pass the bill. But the White House and other TPP proponents are fiercely determined to garner enough support among representatives to pass the bill, in order to give themselves almost unilateral power to enact extreme digital regulations in secret. We cannot let that happen.

In the House, we still have a chance to block the passage of Fast Track. That's why we are asking people in the U.S. to meet with their representatives and staff to nudge them to make the right decision. Back in DC, they may have heard arguments for and against the TPP. Your representative might think this so-called trade agreement is just about free trade, but they might not know how the copyright provisions and other leaked proposals in the TPP threaten the Internet, as well as users, developers, and start-ups across the country."

  • Lawmakers have headed back to their home district for the Memorial Day recess, so there's a chance you, as a constituent, can meet with them. Absent that, you can visit their district staff who can receive and forward on your concerns to your representative even after lawmakers go back to the Capitol. They will be receptive to the concerns of smart, tech-savvy constituents who care enough to arrange a meeting.

     

    We know there's a big difference between calling and writing to your congressperson, and actually talking to them face-to-face. But this is a vital moment, and there's a fighting chance that your decision to meet with your representative's office could make all the difference.

  • If you're interested, read this guide on how to set up a meeting with your lawmakers. We also prepared a hand out with talking points for you to take with you when you go. We also encourage you to tell them about our letter with 250 tech companies and user rights groups urging Congress to oppose the TPP Fast Track for containing provisions that threaten digital innovation and users.

     

    Powerful corporate interests like the Motion Picture Association of America, Recording Industry Association of America, and the Business Software Alliance are intent on having anti-user trade deals pass without proper oversight. That's because the policies they're pushing for couldn't otherwise pass in a participatory, transparent process. It's up to us to stop this massive, secret corporate hand out, and we're going to need all the help we can get.

     

    If you end up meeting with your representative or their staff, please email info@eff.org to let us know how it went!

May 25, 15

"WHEN CALAMITY STRIKES

The unpredictable nature of most emergencies often puts us in dangerous situations. But today’s technology has come far enough to inform, alert, secure and guide us through dangerous situation, if we happen to face any. Emergencies may come in the form of environmental or circumstantial problems. Therefore it is always better to accompany yourself with at least 5 apps that can help you in case of any emergency. Here is the list of top 5 emergency apps for Android."

  • The more serious problem concerns the EPO. The decision to extend patentability to plants was taken by the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal, which should raise conflict of interest concerns, since the EPO is funded by patent fees. That wouldn't be a serious problem if there were a higher court to which appeals could be made. But as the EPO told Intellectual Property Watch

    Decisions made by the Enlarged Board of Appeal cannot be challenged before another judiciary.
  • One body that does have the power to revise EPO decisions is the Administrative Council of the EPO, but it is made up largely of senior patent officials from the 40 or so member states of the EPO, and so it is naturally pro-patent and thus unlikely to interfere with extensions to patentability. In fact, there is no democratically-elected body at all that could force the EPO to change its policy on anything. Worse, the EPO is literally above national laws, since its offices enjoy diplomatic immunity of the kind given to embassies. As Wikipedia explains it
    The premises of the European Patent Office enjoy a form of extraterritoriality. In accordance with the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, which forms an integral part of the European Patent Convention under Article 164(1) EPC, the premises of the European Patent Organisation, and therefore those of the European Patent Office, are inviolable. The authorities of the States in which the Organisation has its premises are not authorized to enter those premises, except with the consent of the President of the European Patent Office.
May 25, 15

"Research firm Gartner’s annual report card on the public IaaS cloud computing market shows there is one clear leader – Amazon Web Services – and another clear challenger – Microsoft Azure. And then there is everyone else.

“The market is dominated by only a few global providers – most notably Amazon Web Services, but increasingly also Microsoft Azure,” Gartner researchers say, giving Google Cloud Platform an honorable mention. “Between them, these three providers comprise the majority of workloads running in public cloud IaaS in 2015.”"

  • AWS and Azure are the only two vendors in the “leaders” quadrant of the report, with AWS clearly taking the top spot. A series of other providers – including Google, CenturyLink, Rackspace, VMware, Virtustream and to a lesser extent IBM’s SoftLayer received fairly high marks, but none have clouds that rival those from the big two. 

     Between AWS, Azure and all the other vendors, there are significant differences, though, so Gartner says it’s important to pick the one that most closely aligns to your needs.

  • AWS was the first to market with an IaaS offering, based on Xen-virtualized servers and hasn’t looked back. It is the “overwhelming market share leader,” is “extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile, and very responsive to the market,” and holds a multi-year competitive advantage over Microsoft and Google, Gartner says.
  • AWS can be complex though. Pricing structures can be confusing and opaque – it charges individually for some services that other vendors bundle. This leads many AWS users to employ a third-party management vendor to help manage costs and deployments.

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May 25, 15

"Administration knew three months before the November 2012 presidential election of ISIS plans to establish a caliphate in Iraq 

Administration knew of arms being shipped from Benghazi to Syria

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts.  The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria.  The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.

The documents were released in response to a court order in accordance with a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against both the DOD and State Department seeking communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.”

Spelling and punctuation is duplicated in this release without corrections.

A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.”  The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council.  The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).”  The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”

The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.”  The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons.  Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock.  They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”

The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”

(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)"

  • The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

     

    Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

     

    During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

     

    The DIA document further details:

     

    The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.  The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]

     

    The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.

  • Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

     

    The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:

     

    This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

     

    Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”

  • From a separate lawsuit, the State Department produced a document created the morning after the Benghazi attack by Hillary Clinton’s offices, and the Operations Center in the Office of the Executive Secretariat that was sent widely through the agency, including to Joseph McManus (then-Hillary Clinton’s executive assistant).  At 6:00 am, a few hours after the attack, the top office of the State Department sent a “spot report” on the “Attack on U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” that makes no mention of videos or demonstrations:

     

    Four COM personnel were killed and three were wounded in an attack by dozens of fighters on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi beginning approximately 1550 Eastern Time….

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May 21, 15

"Google Search is so widely used that the company's name has become synonymous with searching online. There's more to the most used search engine in the world than just locating websites though, other services aside. Let's have a look at some of Google Search's other functions."

May 21, 15

"Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. In January, we delivered the Office apps for Android tablets—and we’re really proud of our 4+ rating in the Google Play store! Today I’m pleased to announce the preview for Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android phones. Join the Microsoft Office for Android community to participate in the Preview program.

The Office for Android phone apps are modern, optimized for touch and designed for work on the go. Here are a few things I think you’ll love about them:

Familiar and consistent Office experience—The Office apps combine the familiar look, feel and quality of Office with a touch-friendly experience designed for Android phones. Documents open and render beautifully, with all formatting and content in the right place. In addition, familiar navigation and menu options in the ribbon are placed at the bottom of the screen within reach of your thumbs so you can easily review and edit documents on your phone."

May 21, 15

"There's no better time to revamp your reading list than the beginning of the summer. The question is ... what should you read?

With so many business books out there to choose from, sifting through all those online descriptions and reviews could take up an entire summer in and of itself. We figured you'd rather spend that time actually, you know, reading.
To help you narrow down your search for the best business books out there, we combed through a plethora of online syllabi from Harvard Business School. Much to my surprise, most of the books centered around leadership rather than economics, marketing, or general business best practices. It really does take a fearless leader to build a truly remarkable organization.

Below, you'll find a list of 11 of the most intriguing books on Harvard Business School courses' required reading lists. If you're looking for a few great summer reads, then this is just the list for you."

  • There are many documented false flag attacks, where a government carries out a terror attack … and then falsely blames its enemy for political purposes.

     

    In the following 42 instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admits to it, either orally or in writing:

  • (1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the ‘Incident’ was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….” And see this.
  • So Common … There’s a Name for It

     

    The use of the bully’s trick is so common that it was given a name hundreds of years ago.

     

    “False flag terrorism” is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. Or as Wikipedia defines it:

     

    False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy’s strategy of tension.

     

    The term comes from the old days of wooden ships, when one ship would hang the flag of its enemy before attacking another ship. Because the enemy’s flag, instead of the flag of the real country of the attacking ship, was hung, it was called a “false flag” attack.

     

    Indeed, this concept is so well-accepted that rules of engagement for naval, air and land warfare all prohibit false flag attacks.

     

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  • A new report suggests the most common activity among businesspeople using Microsoft collaboration tools is document sharing, and much of that activity occurs early in the week, on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Document access and sharing represent the bulk of enterprise collaboration using Microsoft tools, according to a new report from harmon.ie, a company that makes software to combine Microsoft's cloud and social utilities into a single interface. Online and offline access to private or shared documents represents 81 percent of all business activity in harmon.ie's mobile apps and email products.  

     The research, which is based on data from 1,500 harmon.ie users from 800 companies in more than 75 countries, stresses the importance, and dominance, of documents in enterprise collaboration.

  • Four of every five minutes spent using harmon.ie apps are dedicated to document access, but the social conversations associated with the documents are comparatively few and far between, according to the research. For example, business users opened documents 68 times more often than they participated in Yammer discussions. 

     The next most popular activity behind document access was adding SharePoint sites; seven percent of respondents said they add SharePoint. Just three percent of users conducted document searches, and less than two percent participated in Yammer discussions, viewed activity streams or looked up a colleague's SharePoint profile, according to harmon.ie.

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May 15, 15

"Google has been incrementally making its workplace products more and more functional — all, it seems, with one goal in mind.

It would like to eat Microsoft Office 365's lunch.

When it first launched Google Apps (now called Google for Work), the best feature was the cost. The products were free to use, although there was little in the way of service or advanced business functionality.
But that's been changing. More companies are piggybacking on Google for Work's foundation to launch their own products and, as these products mature, continue to invest and expand them.

One of the latest examples is ProsperWorks, the developer of Simple CRM for Google Apps.  
"

  • Google has been incrementally making its workplace products more and more functional — all, it seems, with one goal in mind.

    It would like to eat Microsoft Office 365's lunch.

    When it first launched Google Apps (now called Google for Work), the best feature was the cost. The products were free to use, although there was little in the way of service or advanced business functionality.

    But that's been changing. More companies are piggybacking on Google for Work's foundation to launch their own products and, as these products mature, continue to invest and expand them.

    One of the latest examples is ProsperWorks, the developer of Simple CRM for Google Apps. 

  • "We integrate directly into the tools that people use to communicate with their customers," CEO and founder John Lee told CMSWire. There are numerous advantages to this approach: no training, the elimination of duplicate data entering and fresh data that is more accurate.

    The app provides an extension that sits within Gmail, he explained.

    Then, when a potential lead contacts the sales rep, he or she can search for the prospect's name throughout the organization. "If anyone else was contacted by 'John Smith' at the organization, the rep is able to see that correspondence. She doesn’t have to hunt for information." That feature alone, Lee said, saves a huge amount of time usually spent doing preliminary customer research.

  • Familiar Interface

    A feature called Chrome extension for Gmail illustrates ProsperWorks larger MO or approach to the CRM space.

    It was specifically created to help employees work smarter and faster by automating mundane tasks, intelligently organizing customer data and prompting sales actions all within Google's familiar interface, Lee said.

May 13, 15

Excellent explanation of how VC Companies work. CC Jason

"Marc Andreessen recently lamented the death of the IPO in the United States, blaming over regulation and short sellers as the reason why the general public no longer gets to share in the spectacular capital returns that earlier technology stocks like Microsoft and Amazon delivered.

While over regulation in the US with regimes like Sarbanes Oxley is a major problem, the data from the National Venture Capital Association shows that over the last five years that both the number of IPOs and the total amount offered is actually in an uptrend. In fact, the first quarter of 2014 saw the strongest three month period for new listings since 2000, and Alibaba is imminently coming to market which will lift the trend in 2014 significantly."

May 13, 15

"Collaboration platforms offer the promise to eliminate unnecessary meetings, phone calls and other time-consuming interactions. However, to succeed those tools have to perform better than the incumbent, which for most people is still email."

    • Enterprise collaboration is a dubious pursuit. You can almost sense its impending failure the minute it gets introduced to a workforce and becomes just another tool that employees are supposed to use.

      It doesn’t help when CIOs downplay the value of collaboration tools by simply procuring something that meets the lowest common denominator and enables them to check another item off their to-do list.

       
       
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              state of cios         
                 
                                 State of the CIO 2015      
        

      More than 500 top IT leaders responded to our online survey to help us gauge the state of the

        Read Now             
        

      “There’s a lot of failures in enterprise collaboration, loosely termed, because people don’t really know what they’re aiming for so obviously they don’t hit it,” says Joel Confino, CEO and founder of the enterprise Q&A platform Haydle.

  • The promise of collaboration is to replace face-to-face communication, but if the implementation isn’t well-planned, it can’t become something extra that people have to do, Confino says. Collaboration also has to perform better than the incumbent, which is email for most people.
  • CIOs can’t merely launch a tool and tell employees to go forth and collaborate. The C suite needs to lead by example and use these new tools to accomplish meaningful business objectives.

    “The majority of these implementations are underperforming and plenty of them are just outright ghost towns,” says Confino.

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May 13, 15

Economist Joseph Stiglitz takes on the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) trade agreement, explaining how corporations will use the agreement to side step environmental and regulatory laws of sovereign nations. Amazing stuff. No doubt Wall Street Money is behind these trade agreement. The Banksters are said to own over 40% of the world's corporations and these agreements are designed to establish corporate sovereignty while greatly diminishing state sovereignty. It's the New World Order.

"Terms such as ‘investor’ and ‘partner’ are taking on new meanings as multinationals manipulate deals to take legal action against sovereign states"

  • The US and the world are engaged in a great debate about new trade agreements. Such pacts used to be called free-trade agreements; in fact, they were managed trade agreements, tailored to corporate interests, largely in the US and the EU. Today, such deals are more often referred to as partnerships, as in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But they are not partnerships of equals: the US effectively dictates the terms. Fortunately, America’s “partners” are becoming increasingly resistant.

     

    It is not hard to see why. These agreements go well beyond trade, governing investment and intellectual property as well, imposing fundamental changes to countries’ legal, judicial, and regulatory frameworks, without input or accountability through democratic institutions.

     

    Perhaps the most invidious – and most dishonest – part of such agreements concerns investor protection. Of course, investors have to be protected against rogue governments seizing their property. But that is not what these provisions are about. There have been very few expropriations in recent decades, and investors who want to protect themselves can buy insurance from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a World Bank affiliate, and the US and other governments provide similar insurance. Nonetheless, the US is demanding such provisions in the TPP, even though many of its partners have property protections and judicial systems that are as good as its own.

  • The real intent of these provisions is to impede health, environmental, safety, and, yes, even financial regulations meant to protect America’s own economy and citizens. Companies can sue governments for full compensation for any reduction in their future expected profits resulting from regulatory changes.

     

    This is not just a theoretical possibility. Philip Morris is suing Uruguay and Australia for requiring warning labels on cigarettes. Admittedly, both countries went a little further than the US, mandating the inclusion of graphic images showing the consequences of cigarette smoking. The labeling is working. It is discouraging smoking. So now Philip Morris is demanding to be compensated for lost profits.

     

    In the future, if we discover that some other product causes health problems (think of asbestos), rather than facing lawsuits for the costs imposed on us, the manufacturer could sue governments for restraining them from killing more people. The same thing could happen if our governments impose more stringent regulations to protect us from the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • When I chaired Bill Clinton’s council of economic advisers, when he was president, anti-environmentalists tried to enact a similar provision, called “regulatory takings”. They knew that once enacted, regulations would be brought to a halt, simply because government could not afford to pay the compensation. Fortunately, we succeeded in beating back the initiative, both in the courts and in the US Congress.

     

    But now the same groups are attempting an end run around democratic processes by inserting such provisions in trade bills, the contents of which are being kept largely secret from the public (but not from the corporations that are pushing for them). It is only from leaks, and from talking to government officials who seem more committed to democratic processes, that we know what is happening.

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May 12, 15

An amazing article about Marc Andressen and his a16z VC firm on Sand Hill Road. Covers the entire story and provides a great insight into how Silicon Valley and VC industry work. It's long, but nevertheless a must read. Very enjoyable!
"
At his firm, Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capitalist routinely lays out “what will happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years.”
CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY JOE PUGLIESE
On a bright October morning, Suhail Doshi drove to Silicon Valley in his parents’ Honda Civic, carrying a laptop with a twelve-slide presentation that was surely worth at least fifty million dollars. Doshi, the twenty-six-year-old C.E.O. of a data-analytics startup called Mixpanel, had come from San Francisco to Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, where many of the world’s most prestigious venture-capital firms cluster, to pitch Andreessen Horowitz, the road’s newest and most unusual firm. Inside the offices, he stood at the head of a massive beechwood conference table to address the firm’s deal team and its seven general partners—the men who venture the money, take a seat on the board, and fire the entrepreneur if things go wrong.

Marc Andreessen, the firm’s co-founder, fixed his gaze on Doshi as he disinfected his germless hands with a sanitizing wipe. Andreessen is forty-three years old and six feet five inches tall, with a cranium so large, bald, and oblong that you can’t help but think of words like “jumbo” and “Grade A.” Two decades ago, he was the animating spirit of Netscape, the Web browser that launched the Internet boom. In many respects, he is the quintessential Silicon Valley venture capitalist: an imposing, fortyish, long-celebrated white man. (Forbes’s Midas List of the top hundred V.C.s includes just five women.) But, whereas most V.C.s maintain a casual-Friday vibe, Andreessen seethes with beliefs. He’s an evangelist for the church of technology, afire to reorder life as we know it. He believes that tech products will soon erase such primitive behaviors as paying cash (Bitcoin), eating cooked food (Soylent), and enduring a world unimproved by virtual reality (Oculus VR). He believes that Silicon Valley is mission control for mankind, which is therefore on a steep trajectory toward perfection. And when he so argues, fire-hosing you with syllogisms and data points and pre-refuting every potential rebuttal, he’s very persuasive.

Doshi, lean and quizzical in a maroon T-shirt and jeans, began his pitch by declaring, “Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be either lucky or wrong.” Far better to apply Mixpanel’s analytics, which enable mobile-based companies to know exactly who their customers are and how they use their apps. Doshi rapidly escalated to rhetoric—“We want to do data science for every single market in the world”—that would sound bumptious anywhere but on Sand Hill Road, where the young guy in jeans is obligated to astound the middle-aged guys in cashmere V-necks. “Mediocre V.C.s want to see that your company has traction,” Doshi told me. “The top V.C.s want you to show them you can invent the future.”

If you have a crackerjack idea, one of your stops on Sand Hill Road will be Andreessen Horowitz, often referred to by its alphanumeric URL, a16z. (There are sixteen letters between the “a” in Andreessen and the “z” in Horowitz.) Since the firm was launched, six years ago, it has vaulted into the top echelon of venture concerns. Competing V.C.s, disturbed by its speed and its power and the lavish prices it paid for deals, gave it another nickname: AHo. Each year, three thousand startups approach a16z with a “warm intro” from someone the firm knows. A16z invests in fifteen. Of those, at least ten will fold, three or four will prosper, and one might soar to be worth more than a billion dollars—a “unicorn,” in the local parlance. With great luck, once a decade that unicorn will become a Google or a Facebook and return the V.C.’s money a thousand times over: the storied 1,000x. There are eight hundred and three V.C. firms in the U.S., and last year they spent forty-eight billion dollars chasing that dream.

Doshi had run the gantlet before. In 2012, he tracked down Andreessen and his equally if less splendidly bald co-founder, Ben Horowitz, at a Ritz-Carlton near Tucson. Then he pitched them in the lobby (having made sure that his parents’ Honda, which contained his father, was well out of sight). Doshi mentioned that he’d become so dissatisfied with the incumbent database software that he’d built his own. Andreessen later told me that this “was like a cub reporter saying, ‘I need to write the Great American Novel before I can really file this story.’ ” A16z gave Doshi ten million dollars, and he gave it twenty-five per cent of his company.

Now he was back for more. He zipped through his slides: hundred-per-cent growth rate; head count doubling every six to nine months; and he still had all the money he’d raised last time. As Andreessen drank an iced tea in two gulps and began to roam the room, Doshi called up a slide that showed his competitors—Localytics, Amplitude, Google Analytics—grouped into quadrants. Then he explained how he’d crush each quadrant. “I want to buy a machine-learning team, I want to buy cutting-edge server hardware,” he said. Indicating his all-but-obliterated competitors, he added, “I want to buy stuff no one here can afford.” He jammed his hands in his pockets: questions?

While entrepreneurs attack with historiography—“The great-man view of history is correct, and I am that great man!”—V.C.s defend with doubletalk. “You’re definitely going to get funded!” means “But not by us.” “Who else is in?” means “Besides not us.” And “I’m not sure I would ever use your product myself” means “So long!” But the best V.C.s test the entrepreneur’s mettle as well as their own assumptions. Andreessen gripped the back of his chair. “So one way to describe what you’re doing is a network effect,” he said. “More data gives you more customers, which allows you to build more services, which gives you more data, which allows you to get more customers, and you just turn the crank.” Doshi thought this over and said, “Sure!” Andreessen grinned: he’s a systems thinker, and he’d grasped how Mixpanel fit into the system. After the pitch, he told me that Mixpanel is “a picks-and-shovels business right in the middle of the gold rush.”

When a startup is just an idea and a few employees, it looks for seed-round funding. When it has a product that early adopters like—or when it’s run through its seed-round money—it tries to raise an A round. Once the product catches on, it’s time for a B round, and on the rounds go. Most V.C.s contemplating an investment in one of these early rounds consider the same factors. “The bottom seventy per cent of V.C.s just go down a checklist,” Jordan Cooper, a New York entrepreneur and V.C., said. “Monthly recurring revenue? Founder with experience? Good sales pipeline? X per cent of month-over-month growth?” V.C.s also pattern-match. If the kids are into Snapchat, fund things like it: Yik Yak, Streetchat, ooVoo. Or, at a slightly deeper level, if two dropouts from Stanford’s computer-science Ph.D. program created Google, fund more Stanford C.S.P. dropouts, because they blend superior capacity with monetizable dissatisfaction.

Venture capitalists with a knack for the 1,000x know that true innovations don’t follow a pattern. The future is always stranger than we expect: mobile phones and the Internet, not flying cars. Doug Leone, one of the leaders of Sequoia Capital, by consensus Silicon Valley’s top firm, said, “The biggest outcomes come when you break your previous mental model. The black-swan events of the past forty years—the PC, the router, the Internet, the iPhone—nobody had theses around those. So what’s useful to us is having Dumbo ears.”* A great V.C. keeps his ears pricked for a disturbing story with the elements of a fairy tale. This tale begins in another age (which happens to be the future), and features a lowborn hero who knows a secret from his hardscrabble experience. The hero encounters royalty (the V.C.s) who test him, and he harnesses magic (technology) to prevail. The tale ends in heaping treasure chests for all, borne home on the unicorn’s back.

At pitch meetings, Andreessen is relatively measured: he reserves his passion for the deal review afterward, when the firm decides whether to invest. That’s where he asks questions that oblige his partners to envision a new world. For the ride-sharing service Lyft: “Don’t think about how big the taxi market is. What if people no longer owned cars?” For OfferUp: “What if all this selling online—eBay and Craigslist—goes to mobile? How big could it be?” Ben Horowitz, who sits next to his co-founder at the head of the table, is an astute manager who quotes the rap lyrics of his friends Nas and Kanye West to inspire fearless thinking—but he doesn’t try to manage Andreessen. “If you say to Marc, ‘Don’t bite somebody’s fucking head off!,’ that would be wrong,” Horowitz said. “Because a lot of his value, when you’re making giant decisions for huge amounts of money, is saying, ‘Why aren’t you fucking considering this and this and this?’ ”


“In New York, we wouldn’t call this quick.”
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A16z was designed to be a full-throated argument about the future, a design predicated on its founders’ comfort with conflict. In 1996, when Horowitz was a Netscape product manager, he wrote a note to Andreessen, accusing him of prematurely revealing the company’s new strategy to a reporter. Andreessen wrote back to say that it would be Horowitz’s fault if the company failed: “Next time do the fucking interview yourself. Fuck you.” Ordinarily, relationship over. “When he feels disrespected, Marc can cut you out of his life like a cancer,” one of Andreessen’s close friends said. “But Ben and Marc fight like cats and dogs, then forget about it.” Two years later, when Netscape was floundering and forty per cent of its employees left, Horowitz announced that he was staying no matter what. Andreessen had never trusted anyone before, but he began to consider it. Their teamwork at a16z is complementary: Horowitz is the people-person C.E.O., and Andreessen is the farsighted theorist, the chairman. Yet Horowitz noted that “Marc is much more sensitive than I am, actually. He’ll get upset about my body language—‘God damn it, Ben, you look like you’re going to throw up when I’m talking about this!’ ”"

May 07, 15

"Microsoft loves subscriptions.

Moving a corporate customer from "transactional" purchases of Office -- the once-traditional practice of purchasing one-time, perpetual licenses that let workers use the suite as long as their firms want -- to Office 365 rent-not-buy subscriptions results in almost a doubling of revenue for Microsoft.

"Over the lifetime, the increased reach, the increased frequency in this example, as well as some yield, adding some incremental services, results in a 1.8 times lifetime value of that user in the transition," said CFO Amy Hood in a meeting with Wall Street last week."

  • Transactional customers buy Office once every five to seven years, said Hood. But by convincing businesses to subscribe to Office 365, specifically the E3 plan, Microsoft can realize an 80% increase in revenue over the years-long relationship. Office 365 E3 includes the core Office application suite, as well as cloud-based Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business, shifting those services from on-premises systems to Microsoft's servers.
  • One expert scoffed at Microsoft's multiplier, which he said was actually a low-ball estimate. "A 1.8x multiplier? How about a 6x or 20x multiplier?" said Paul DeGroot, principal at Pica Communications, a consulting firm that specializes in deciphering Microsoft's licensing practices.
  • DeGroot's point was that Microsoft rakes in much, much more than just an additional 20%, 40% or 80% by pulling customers to the cloud. "I think those numbers are conservative," DeGroot said in an email. "

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  • Search (largely Google) has long been the access and discovery point for web services. This model was pull-driven (i.e. we proactively find information on websites as we need), and worked pretty well as large category killers (Facebook, Amazon) owned the lion’s share of traffic (and revenue). Google was happily profitable owning the distribution channel. The mobile world started out as a pull-driven model — discovery and access was/is largely driven by a combination of the app store and the “grid of apps.”
  • This model, however, is starting to break, as some significant trends are driving it to failure.
  • Primary among these is the volume of information that’s now available and regularly accessed; we have hundreds of apps on our phone (though we only actively engage with a handful), and without any real category killers, consumers are swapping new apps in and out at a regular pace.

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  • Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic or perhaps my intuition is correct on this one. One thing I strongly believe: humanity is not designed to live in false government paradigms of slavery and statism. Those who live for government and the state will hold these beliefs, but nature and the rest of humanity tells another story. Humanity naturally yearns to be free of all control systems. Though a certain percentage of humanity actually needs and wants to be under the control of government, this segment of humanity only wishes this because they know nothing else and they are afraid of a stateless world where they might have to care for themselves. For now, let’s set aside these individuals who live in fear and need the state to be part of their lives, and let’s focus instead on the rest of humanity who is awakened. Let’s realize how amazing, gifted and how blessed we are as humans, and how natural it is to be free.
  • the new world order is failing even though they are very much fighting back and doing everything they can to continue pushing their plan forward.
  • Here are just 10 recent stories that indicate the new world order could in fact be slowly dying out. These 10 stories barely scratch the surface of things that are happening at the local level everywhere in the U.S. and around the world. People really are beginning to realize that the wealthy elites and governments are the root of the problem. People are realizing how corrupt they are and how they intend to enslave us all forever. Many people are starting to see the bigger picture and this is driving a new consciousness.

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