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Business

Kirkpatrick: $19 Billion WhatsApp Deal Keeps Facebook on Cutting Edge

Facebook stunned the tech world Wednesday, announcing its biggest acquisition yet—a $19 billion deal to buy messaging application WhatsApp. Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg West Wednesday and on Bloomberg Surveillance Thursday to talk about Mark Zuckerberg’s big move. “I think this shows that he’s willing to pay whatever it takes to keep on the cutting edge of what is going to be important down the road,” Kirkpatrick, who is also a Bloomberg contributing editor, told Surveillance’s Tom Keene on Thursday.   More

Global Tech Startup Culture

You Don’t Have to Live in Silicon Valley to Start a Company

Just about every city in the world is now teaming with young people (and some older ones) who are starting companies with ambitious and tech-savvy aims. This good essay by a former Facebook European executive underscores how pointless it is for everyone to compare their own region or city with Silicon Valley. Yes that hub will remain potent, but with tech transforming the entire planet there is ample reason for confidence that numerous other places can become vibrant hubs. The bigger challenge for Europe is the continuing prejudice in many countries against entrepreneurship and risk, and labor laws that frequently become punitive.   More

Business

Four Reasons Facebook Became a Colossus

The first time I met Mark Zuckerberg I told him he seemed like a natural CEO. He acted offended. "I never wanted to run a company," he said bluntly. Then he added, perfunctorily, "A business is a good vehicle for getting stuff done." But that was September 2006. Facebook was just two-and-a-half years old. He impressed me so much I went back and wrote a column for Fortune, where I worked, entitled Why Facebook Matters. Now the company is ten. (It launched February 4, 2004.) Zuckerberg is 29, not 22. He is no longer embarrassed to be a businessman. By a lucky coincidence of timing, Facebook's quarterly results announced just last Wednesday were spectacular. As the company hits this historic landmark, its financial foundation is provably rock-solid.   More

Global Tech

LinkedIn Takes New Step in Slow Road to China

Online professional networking leader LinkedIn took a big step towards entering the lucrative but tricky China market last week when it created a new China chief position and filled it with an industry veteran as it explores a formal service launch. The move was just the latest in the company’s slow and careful approach to China, and could boost its chances of success in a market that has proven difficult for other global giants like Google, Yahoo, and eBay.   More

Analytics & Data E-Commerce Partner Insights

How Businesses Get ROI from Social Sharing

Social-media-savvy businesses are turning their best customers into direct sales forces online. By leveraging the social networks of their biggest brand advocates, retailers can extend the reach of their product promotions. It’s word-of-mouth advertising at a massive scale. Some companies have been using this “social sharing” approach for several years to build brand awareness and drive sales. Until lately, though, such initiatives were hampered by unsophisticated methods for managing and engaging customers as well as tracking return on investment. Now, new tools and apps are available to develop a smart social sharing strategy that enhances customer experience while providing true ROI data based on sales conversions.   More

Business

The Snapchat Saga Continues

Right now Snapchat, the popular messaging app that makes users’ photos and videos disappear, might be wishing it could make something else disappear—all the bad publicity that’s been swirling around it since the start of the new year. Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg West Tuesday to talk with host Emily Chang about the Snapchat saga. “I’m not saying the Snapchat guys are jerks,” said Kirkpatrick, a contributing editor at Bloomberg. “I just think that they certainly are awfully confident considering the scale of their achievement.” He added that while Snapchat is reported to have 30 to 40 million active users, messaging app Whatsapp has 10 times as many.   More

Business Security & Privacy

Kirkpatrick: Privacy Lawsuit Won’t Slow Facebook’s Momentum

Two California Facebook users have sued the social network for violating their right to privacy—and profiting from it. Plaintiffs argue Facebook is secretly intercepting users’ private messages and scanning them for links to third-party websites, then selling that data to advertisers and marketers seeking to better target consumers. Facebook denied the allegations, saying they are “without merit.” David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy CEO and Bloomberg contributing editor, appeared on Bloomberg West last Thursday to talk about the privacy lawsuit and what ramifications it could have for the popular social media platform.   More

Startup Culture

Can Silicon Valley Survive?

Silicon Valley hasn’t had one of its best years. There are more and more complaints about inequality, discrimination against women and minorities, lack of innovation and a focus on short-term economic gain. The Valley, veterans say, isn’t what it used to be. And, they go on, if Silicon Valley is to survive, it has to reinvent itself in an increasingly competitive global economy where most of the rest of the world is trying to emulate the Valley. So, I asked David Kirkpatrick, when I interviewed him at an Ericsson and AT&T Foundry hosted FutureCast event that focused on the future of innovation, how exactly can Silicon Valley reinvent itself?   More

Media & Marketing Partner Insights

How Marketers Can Use Data to Stay Employed

It's getting easier to follow users as they walk through the digital landscape. New data-driven marketing tools can extract increasingly meaningful and nuanced insights from peoples' footprints—including their credit card statements, web browsing history, and social media history. When I say nuanced, I mean nuanced: retail stores are even using customers’ phone GPS to track how long they stand in the yogurt aisle. This makes older techniques like retargeting—a cookie-based technology that keeps brands visible even after traffic has bounced—seem like a shot in the dark.   More

Media & Marketing Opinion Techonomy Events

Risky Marketing

The Techonomy 2013 session "Smart Media: Waste Not, Want Not" brought together marketing professionals from firms as diverse as Glam Media and YP (formerly Yellow Pages). They discussed how to make targeted advertising desirable by accurately assessing what people want and avoiding offending them. Alison Lowery, chief technology officer for Simulmedia, related how one consumer’s personal feedback to Jeff Bezos regarding her offense at receiving an ad for a “sensitive” product caused Amazon to rethink its ad strategy.   More

Global Tech

Is China’s “Internet Concession” Too Late for Facebook?

In the land of the "world's biggest online population" Facebook has "almost zero" users, Reuters reports. Of course, that's because, since 2009, the Chinese government has blocked its citizens' access to the U.S. social media leader. Likewise, it has blocked Twitter. But when the ban is finally lifted in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone this weekend, crowds are not expected to rush on to either site.   More

Business

Dorsey Tells Entrepreneurs: Meet Customers Where They Are

An ice cream maker, a newspaper publisher, food trucks, pop-up shops, and numerous farmers’ market vendors are among the thousands of small businesses in Detroit using mobile apps invented by Jack Dorsey—namely Twitter and Square—to win customers, manage sales, and save time. In fact, Square has already helped to power $174 million in transactions for 5,500 Detroit businesses, the company claims. And at Techonomy Detroit this week Dorsey said entrepreneurs can expect more developments targeted to their businesses from him in the future.   More

Global Tech

Kirkpatrick: Internet.org Aims for Global Connectivity

From the perspective of hyper-connected countries like the U.S., South Korea, or Sweden, it might shock us to learn that some 5 billion people around the globe are still without Internet access. Yet the Internet today remains—unfairly—a network for the rich, with just one-third of the world’s population currently connected. In an effort to bring connectivity to the next two-thirds, Facebook is joining forces with a group of mobile tech giants to launch the global partnership Internet.org, which was unveiled Tuesday. Internet.org—a conglomerate of Facebook, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Opera—has three aims: make access affordable, use data more efficiently, and grow mobile business.   More

Global Tech

Understanding Zuckerberg’s Push for Global Access

In Indonesia, a typical weekend for a typical poor twenty-something frequently begins with a trip to a local store to buy some prepaid data access for his or her cellphone. The rest of the weekend will be spent using up that data, mostly accessing Facebook. As in so much of the world, the main way a huge percentage of Indonesians know what's happening with their friends is by using Facebook. With the announcement this week of Internet.org, a consortium of companies devoted to expanding mobile Internet access in the less-developed parts of the world, Mark Zuckerberg has found firm footing as a leader in public policy. The consortium was his idea, and emerged from his passions.   More

Business

Kirkpatrick: Facebook Mobile Ad Growth Shows Promise

Facebook reported impressive quarterly earnings Wednesday, thanks in large part to strong mobile advertising sales, which accounted for 41 percent of the company’s total ad revenue. The announcement came as a happy surprise to investors, exceeding analyst expectations by a hefty $200 million and sparking a 25-percent surge in Facebook stock by Thursday morning. Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick spoke on Bloomberg West on Wednesday about Facebook’s good news, calling the results a “historic moment for a company that’s really coming into its own."   More

Business

Video: Kirkpatrick on Facebook Shareholder Unrest

Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick appeared yesterday on Bloomberg TV to comment on Mark Zuckerberg's reaction to angry investors at Facebook's first shareholder meeting. Kirkpatrick asserts that Facebook's formidable reach will ultimately bolster its long-term outlook, citing the use of Facebook by organizers of protests in Turkey as an example of the social network's pervasiveness. Zuckerberg's involvement in the FWD.us campaign for immigration reform, says Kirkpatrick, reinforces how Facebook "has put itself at the center of global developments." But can the company turn around its Wall Street fortunes by figuring out a way to monetize mobile ads?   More

Government Opinion

Did Obama Just Destroy the U.S. Internet Industry?

News about the National Security Agency's PRISM program and its privileged access to internal user data at nine U.S. Internet companies has unleashed a torrent of justified anger and hand-wringing. But the worries do not go far enough. Almost everybody is still looking at this through a narrow domestic lens. Our values and goals may be more challenged than you think.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Alibaba Tamps Down Valuation Expectations

Having let the markets get pumped up with huge expectations for its upcoming mega IPO, e-commerce leader Alibaba now appears to be trying to temper some of those high hopes in the run-up to an offering that is likely to be the biggest ever for a Chinese Internet firm. The reason for the sudden change of tone? Apparently the company wants to avoid following in the footsteps of social networking giant Facebook, whose IPO was so overhyped by the time it finally occurred that it was almost bound to result in failure and major disappointment.   More

Business

Capturing the Value of Technology—in Economic Terms

When you look at economic statistics like G.D.P. and productivity, what gets overlooked? According to a New York Times column by Eduardo Porter, these key measures fail to capture the value people get from digital technologies. But leading academics from the University of Chicago, Stanford, M.I.T., and the University of Michigan are developing metrics to assess the overall value of technology on our lives, trying to put numbers around key pieces of the puzzle, like the value of the Internet and the value of free online services.   More

Government Learning

Why Zuckerberg Wants Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Washington appears best suited to screwing up good ideas, even when more or less everyone there agrees it's a good idea. Fiscal Times here examines the politics and details surrounding tech-oriented immigration reform, including increasing H-1B visas, letting immigrant PhDs in STEM subjects stay in the U.S., and exempting entrepreneurs who are creating jobs from deportation. Because these are such logical reforms, they can't be passed individually but must become part of a comprehensive package, because Congress typically weighs down no-brainer bills with stupid amendments. Thus, Zuckerberg's new pro-immigration lobbying group FWD.us wisely supports a comprehensive bill, though it's hard to achieve.   More