PROFESSIONAL NERD.

PERSONAL BLOG.

What I'm Reading - 4/30/2018

Three to five links every weekday - Monday-morning Please Don't Spoil Infinity War For Me I'm Not Seeing It Until Wednesday edition

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VIEWERS ARE DITCHING CABLE FOR STREAMING FASTER THAN ANYONE EXPECTED

The numbers tell the story in no uncertain terms. Charter Communications, which offers cable service under the Spectrum brand, announced on Friday that it lost 122,000 TV customers in the first quarter of 2018. That massively exceeded Wall Street projections, which the Wall Street Journal said averaged about 40,000 lost subscribers ahead of the earnings report. Charter’s stock dropped as much as 15% Friday.

That collapse followed similarly grim reports from other legacy providers. Comcast announced Wednesday that it had lost 96,000 customers for the quarter, its fourth straight quarter of subscriber losses, and slightly worse than analyst projections. AT&T’s DirecTV satellite service lost 188,000 customers in the same period, driving down video revenue by $660 million despite growth of its own online streaming service. AT&T stock tanked as much as 7% the day after its report. Comcast notched healthy earnings from its increasingly diverse business, but even it couldn’t fight the headwinds, with its stock draining more than 7% by the end of the week.


GIVING UP ON ‘DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION’

I went to see Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital speak this week. Her remarkable story is pretty well known by now — she “built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless,” to quote Backstage’s site. She said several interesting things, but let’s start with this one: as of 2019, she will no longer be giving talks on diversity and inclusion.

That may raise eyebrows, given that her fund focuses on funding underrepresented minorities. Her reason, and I’m paraphrasing here but I feel I’ve captured the gist, is that Diversity & Inclusion have become to the tech industry as Human Resources is to a big company; a fig leaf there to protect the status quo, not to improve it.

It’s hard not to agree with her. Companies host D&I events and speakers; hire vice presidents of D&I; organize “diversity training” (which, according to copious evidence, doesn’t work and in fact often backfires.) They talk about diversity. They add diversity slides to their PowerPoint decks. But what do they actually do? I am reminded of Nassim Taleb’s famous dictum: “Don’t tell me what you think, just show me your portfolio.”


'WE CAN BUILD A REAL BUSINESS’: YOUTUBE'S BETTING YOU'LL BE WATCHING IT ON THE BIG SCREEN IN YOUR LIVING ROOM

For the past several years, Google has lobbied hard to convince advertisers to move some of their TV budgets to YouTube. This year, instead of sending the message that YouTube is a replacement for TV, the search giant has a fresh tactic: arguing that YouTube actually is TV.

Specifically, YouTube is rolling out a new offering that will enable advertisers to target their ads to people who watch YouTube on TV screens, using devices like Rokus, Xboxes, Chromecast and Amazon Fires.

While Google executives have long talked up the massive reach YouTube commands among young people, particularly using mobile devices, during recent earnings calls the company has started noting the growing number of people accessing YouTube on big screens in their living rooms.


OPINION: WHY TRUMP SUPPORTERS DON’T MIND HIS LIES

In his first 400 days in office, President Trump made more than 2,400 false or misleading claims, according to The Washington Post. Yet a recent Gallup poll shows his approval ratings among Republicans at 82 percent. How do we square these two facts?

Some supporters no doubt believe many of the falsehoods. Others may recognize the claims as falsehoods but tolerate them as a side effect of an off-the-cuff rhetorical style they admire. Or perhaps they have become desensitized to the dishonesty by the sheer volume of it.

I suspect that there is an additional, underappreciated explanation for why Mr. Trump’s falsehoods have not generated more outrage among his supporters. Wittingly or not, Mr. Trump’s representatives have used a subtle psychological strategy to defend his falsehoods: They encourage people to reflect on how the falsehoods could have been true.

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