Value of Journalism

Will newspapers survive? I think the physical form will survive for another 10 years at least at much lower valuation then eventually break into nich market fragments. The profession of journalism will, however, not only continue on but become more respected than before.

This is why I think so. When we are short of something we consume, like water in the desert, we put value in availability. As we approach ubiquitous availability of the same, we shift value to quality.

In a sea filled with unverified and biased news and information, we will rediscover the value of journalism. We will see memes as what they really are, mental viruses, and know the danger of careless consumption. As we have become more health conscious, we will also become more mental health conscious.

We’ll see products of journalism like bottled water, avoid reading/eating things off the ground, and see eaters of biased or mutated news as inbred rednecks. Those who can afford to pay, that is.

As usual, I am exaggerating. Not quite hyperbole but enough force to kickstart pointless thinking.

Leg Fetish

I’ve been too busy tinkering so, beyond twittering, I haven’t had the mindshare to blog. Sorry.

I think the stock market is in for another big leg down soon, not like the slide we’ve had lately but a drop of 500 pts or more in a day. One card Obama adminstration can play to stem or prevent the damage is the restoration of the up-tick rule.

I could be wrong, of course, so use your own judgement.

update on March 2nd at 10:41AM: Dow is at 6800 now, 200+ pts down but the volume is not there, just average so far, so this is not the massive volumn crash I was expecting. It’s as if hedge funds have changed their trading strategy from a disaster movie to suspense-building horror movie. Eerie. The only real support is still 300 pts away, btw, at 6500. There will be continued drama, of course. I’m just not sure what kind.

update on close March 2nd: So the market went down orderly in a straight line more or less with Dow closing down 300, S&P barely hanging on at 700 which makes it look bad. NASDAQ didn’t do too badly but volume was nearly 4x where Dow volume was about 1.5x. Spitting into the wind, downward pressure is still overwelming. I am done looking at the market for today. It’s time to look at some business plans and code.

a reminder to follow me on twitter: my tweets are mostly mindfart but look what I twitted last Thursday. 😉

Transcultural Funk

Here is Natalie, a cute non-Korean girl (as far as I can tell ;-)) based in LA, singing a popular song by K-POP group Wonder Girls:

and idol-mob girl group SNSD’s song:

Being a cultural mutt, I enjoy this sort of cultural mash thingy. She looks and sings great. It would be cool to see her make it big time in South Korea, hopefully short of turning things into a circus as usual.

Micropayments and News

Is micropayment what the ailing news industry needs? Will it save New York Times? Like Clay Shirky, I have my doubts about micropayments, particularly from usability perspective. Micropayment UI can get as bad as Vista UAC, endless parade of buy this and buy that.

What I think the news industry should do is follow the example of cable TV industry. Bundle contents by type into channels then charge per channel or channel combo deals like 10 free news channel + choice of 10 premium news channels + 100 article of choice from other channels for $5 per month. For $10, 30 premium plus 500 articles of choice. To add an extra channel for a month, an extra $1.

Regardless of details, the core idea is to transition to finer-grained subscription model, selling sections instead of the whole newspaper, bothering the user only once per month and when the fuel tank (a-la-carte article budget) gets empty to ask whether refill for a fee or add a channel.

Sex and Status: Twitter and Facebook

For the past six months, I’ve been thinking about sex. Not the sweaty kind, you perv — wink wink, nudge nudge — but about perspective differences between sexes and what that means to the Web at large. I am drawn to the differences to identify new business opportunities instead of trying to save the world or make it a better place or anything but I’ll take the bonus points if it’s on the way.

Fred Wilson asked rhetorically Hasn’t It Always Been About Status? in his post about Facebook opening up their status update API more. My answer from the sex-difference perspective is: Yes, for guys, not as much for girls.

I think status updates offer two things:

  • Awareness
  • Presence

Awareness

Back when we had more hair than brain, awareness had direct impact on survival, resulting in the need to be aware carved into our veins. As civilizations advanced, focus of awareness expanded from elements and beasts to include awareness of what others are doing, moving from dodging predators and bashing skulls to keeping an eye on strangers and smelling whiffs of wars in distand lands.

The twin brother of Need is Fear. Even while drowning in constant avalanche of information, modern man fears not knowing enough soon enough.

Presence

Whether it’s simply brushing shoulders or social status, men feel the need to be acknowledged and, if given a chance, respected. I don’t think it’s pride but more to do with the dog brain part of us, wolfpack mindset.

My current thinking is that men’s need for awareness and presence are far greater than women. For women, I think things like order and intimacy are more important which could mean that:

  • Twitter is more useful to men than women.
  • Facebook has more general appeal.

Right or wrong, I use this kinds of thoughts like I would a bottle-opener and would like the readers to do the same.

Web Form Design: Missing the Big Picture

I ran across a book titled Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks by Luke Wroblewski which, according to glowing blurbs from well known folks, a great book on web form design. But, when I proceeded checkout after placing the digital copy in the shopping cart, this web form smacked me in the face:

daunting-form

While the form may be clean looking and arguably well organized, it made me abandoned the purchase. Why do I need to create an account with two-book publisher website to purchase the book? If the form was optional and discount was offered in exchange, I might have thought about it but not if it’s a requirement without a matching reward. I also didn’t see why they needed my address when I am buying a digital copy?

The lesson here is:

Web designers should first justify, from the customer’s perspective, the need for each form and its components well before sculpting them into perfection.

Twittling Away

I’ve been busy crossing the deep jungle of chores that suddenly appears whenever one attempts to launch something. I’ve also been using Twitter whole lot more, partly to test but mainly because the service I am building brings services like Twitter way too easily accessible. It’s the phenomenon I’ve been trying to confirm but, now that I have, I can see how it needs to be leveraged carefully to avoid exposing users to addictive and, potentially, career ruining behaviors.

If you are not following me on Twitter yet. You can follow me at http://twitter.com/donpark.

Twitter Platform Business Model

After recent announcement of new Twitter API limits followed by news of Twitter seeking funding at $250m valuation, I think Twitter may be building a double-prong business model: one they are still trying to define and a platform business model that charges businesses for web services for near future and, later, hosted services (run sandboxed third-party code at Twitter for tighter.

Om Malik writes:

As a company, Twitter is still trying to come to grips with its identity — whether it wants to be a service, a platform, or both. If it is just a service, then a $250 million valuation might be too rich. On the other hand if it ends up becoming a platform that is supporting add-on services such as Twitpic Stocktwits, then it can be accorded a different valuation.

I don’t think Twitter has to, nor should, choose one or the other if it can go after both. Of course, that takes time and resources as well as creativity and control but I think $250m valuation will help.

Speaking for myself, I am fine with paying for Twitter’s consumer service as well as platform service as long as fees are reasonable and service is flexible and dependable.

To other Twitter developers and entrepreneurs, a word of advice: try working within what Twitter API is designed for instead of trying to force it to do what you want.

Cool or not and needed or not, not everything that can be built should be built.

Back in Habit

In case you haven’t noticed, I am back to my usual daily blogging habit since I now have more time to chase my own tail. That means I’ll be sticking my fingers into other people’s business and ranting pointlessly like I used to before. Hurrah!