Fixed to Flexible – The Ebook – A free 37 page eBook on high-level microeconomic business theory with solid practical examples. The primary focus is on margin, specifically the pricing and cost strategies that go into that equation. It's a very quick read, concisely and clearly written with very illustrative (if somewhat over-simplified) examples.
For me, the most interesting ideas were on 'constructing value' for a previously unknown product. First, you need to have a compelling free offering so there is minimal risk to customers trying your new product. Secondly, you should take the lead in setting the perceived value of your new product by using an 'anchor' of premium pricing even if you end up selling at a discount to it.
"We really enjoy the work that we’re doing and we don’t want to cheapen it. Consciously or unconsciously — probably both — we’re trying to create a manageable way to earn a living and still maintain our sanity. We value time as much, if not more so, than money."
Give-A-Fuck-O-Meter – Saving this to send to people in the future when they tell me something I could care less about.
The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage – Conservative attorney Ted Olson, a member of the legal team challenging the federal constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, explains his rationale for participating in the case as a conservative American who wishes to preserve and forward the fundamental principles on which this country was founded:
"Conservatives and liberals alike need to come together on principles that surely unite us. Certainly, we can agree on the value of strong families, lasting domestic relationships, and communities populated by persons with recognized and sanctioned bonds to one another. Confining some of our neighbors and friends who share these same values to an outlaw or second-class status undermines their sense of belonging and weakens their ties with the rest of us and what should be our common aspirations."
YouTube – Sugar: The Bitter Truth – A very interesting, if long and sometimes quite technical (it is a med school lecture) explanation of the scientific, socio-economic, and political reasons our food is making us less healthy as a nation (and ultimately a planet) in the last 30 years. It centers around increasing our refined sugar intake, in particular fructose, which has the same long-term chronic health effects as alcohol.
How Best Buy plans to beat Wal-Mart – Dec. 1, 2009 – A strategy to make Clayton Christensen proud. Best Buy is betting that the consumer electronics and computer markets have not yet reached a good enough point where cost is the only factor. By providing an integrated buying/service solution with their in-house Geek Squad division, Best Buy hopes to differentiate from retailers like Wal-Mart who are commoditizing the purchase experience. In this case Best Buy is playing the Apple Computer role to Wal-Mart's WinTel approach.
What’s strategic for Google? – An interesting and concise analysis of Google's various product/business initiatives using a simple but intuitive strategic framework.
Paul Buchheit: Open as in water, the fluid necessary for life – A very interesting rationale for the potential common good of social media behavior that is increasingly referred to as "over-sharing". The more we share about what we think and do, the more information will be available to help improve ours and others' future decisions.
"The basic pattern of openness is that better access to information and better systems lead to better decisions and better living. This general principal is broadly accepted, but we're just now discovering that it also applies to the minutiae of our lives."
Letters of Note: Okay, you lazy bitch – A great letter from Hunter S. Thompson to a production executive on film adaptation of his book “The Rum Diary.” If you know anything about the film business, you know that sometimes cursing and threats of bodily harm are more than appropriate, they’re necessary
100 years of Big Content fearing technology—in its own words – Ars Technica – A well-compiled overview of the arguments used by content industries to stifle various production and distribution innovations from the gramophone to the DVR. The overriding theme being that incumbent content producers are more inclined to seek government intervention (usually through sensationalist fear-mongering tactics) to protect old models in the face of new technologies rather than to figure out ways to improve their businesses to take full advantage of the benefits these technologies afford.
30 Under 30 2009 – Hype Machine Profile – Very nice write-up of my friend Anthony Volodkin, founder of the Hype Machine, named #27 in Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 for 2009. He definitely should have been higher
The power of no reward | Derek Sivers – An interesting article on the difference between ‘Social Mindset’ and ‘Market Mindset’. Actions driven out of personal volition are more authentic and the motivation is more powerful though more difficult to activate. Whereas actions driven out of financial calculation are by definition more mercenary — easier to activate, but of less value and harder to maintain. If you can appeal to someone’s ‘Social Mindset’, you cheapen your offer by invoking their ‘Market Mindset’.
The Power Of Passed Links – A framework for thinking about the relative value of inbound traffic from different sources based on conversions (however one defines them) and growth. The hypothesis is that links passed from friend to friend via channels like Facebook and Twitter will have significantly higher conversions.
Official Google Blog: Leave the math to us: Advertisers increase their profits using Conversion Optimizer – “Each and every time someone types in a search query, AdWords runs a new keyword auction. Advertisers who are still bidding on a cost-per-click basis will be using the same bid in many different auctions, so sometimes their bid may be too high or too low. However, for advertisers using Conversion Optimizer, we’ll automatically adjust the bid for each of these auctions so that it can hit the sweet spot more often, helping the advertiser to make more money.”
Hi, I'm Jonathan. I live in SF and am the co-founder of awe.sm, where we show businesses how social media drives revenue. I'm originally from LA, used to work at Yahoo!, and even have some film credits from a past life. For more info on me and this weblog, check out the About page.