Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Facebook has gotten too big for Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is not comfortable with the enormous influence he has over the world.

During his apology tour this week for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Zuckerberg lent support to the idea of regulating Facebook and admitted he'd rather not be the person making content policy decisions for the world.
But he pushed back on one thing: Facebook's immense power.
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When CNN's Laurie Segall asked if Facebook (FB) had become "too powerful," Zuckerberg responded: "I don't think so."
"The reason why we've succeeded as a company is because we serve people and give people power," Zuckerberg said. "The day that we stop doing that, we'll stop being a relevant company."
Content by BreguetThe horologist who was admired by Louis XVIIIA.-L. Breguet consistently demonstrated his exceptional mastery of time measurement.
Zuckerberg argued that history shows any list of "the biggest [companies] in any given industry" will inevitably change "ten years later, or ten years after that."
And yet, at this moment, Facebook isn't just on the list, but nearly unrivaled in its dominance. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

THE FOUR by Scott Galloway

                                         A Review By Marc Primo Pulisci, PART I 

THE FOUR is a New York Times' bestseller by Scott Galloway that takes an insightful look into four of the 21st Century's largest tech companies.  Galloway looks at the hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, and seeks to demystify four of the most influential businesses of our time. Each of which is a serious contender to become the first trillion dollar company. If you're interested in discovering the psychological strategies that these companies used to achieve unprecedented success, it's well worth reading THE FOUR.

From 2013 to 2017, the combined market capitalization of these four companies amounted to $1.4 trillion equaling Russia’s GDP. This illustrates the socio-economic power of the four horses.

Galloway provides an analysis of the four-horse race between Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple to become the first trillion dollar firm. He first praises how each of these corporations has used technology, iconic leadership, speedy execution, flagrant plagiarism and bold innovations to huge effect. In his usual style he then nonchalantly and incisively reveals how these companies did not attain the successes they enjoy now all by themselves.  Driven by capital and innovation the four horses have prospered within a de-regulated capitalist culture that embraces hyper-consumerism.  A profit-hungry market, a waning middle class, weary institutions and attention-seeking media have also augmented the growth and market capitalization of the four horses. In The Four, Galloway explains the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook using three core ideas. 

1) Circumventing Friction

Friction, in this case, refers to every impediment that stops us from satisfying our desires. These obstacles may range from guidelines issued by government and tax authorities, synaptic connections in our brains that impact our decision making and supply chains. To avoid friction, the four horses have used strategy and technology to appeal and cognize our basic needs. Galloway’s proposition suggests that each of the four firms appeal to a particular human organ. Facebook focuses on our hearts and the need for humans to develop expressive and compassionate relationships. On the other hand, Google is trained on our brains and our thirst for knowledge. Amazon centers on our guts and the human disposition to consume embedded from our hunter-gatherer origins. Apple emphasizes our sensuality and in the process produces sleek and sensual products.

2) Remaking New Economic Rules

Galloway states that the four horses have specialized in the art of reforming economic rules to serve their interests. For instance, Amazon only started making profits in 2002, and yet it has gathered more capital than any other company in history. Galloway reasons persuasively that through consistent storytelling and simplicity, Jeff Bezos has restructured investor expectations and in the process provided Amazon with vast capital reserves that come at the expense of other industry players. Google and Facebook have created their media duopoly rewriting previous economic structures. Network effects have reinforced their targeting systems and reduced their costs for advertising their products and services. Expectedly both of these firms currently constitute 103% increase in digital marketing profits. All this is taking place when the rest of the industry is in a slump.

3) Involvement in Public Services

The four are not contented with their position as leading brands and are therefore doing their best to cement their influence by providing public infrastructure hoping to become permanent fixtures in our lives. Amazon is at the head of the pack with its massive logistics network which is the envy of some small states. Amazon is involved in Trans-Pacific shipping, has a fleet of Boeings and drones and thousands of trailers. Google is not far behind with server farms; it is also launching aircrafts into the stratosphere that will send broadband to earth. Facebook has announced plans to lay cables across the Atlantic.

THE FOUR expertly blends informative insights into business psychology with entertaining, witty dialogue. Galloway himself describes the behavior of "the big four" as a cross between the behavior of Darth Vader and Ayn Rand.

PART I of Some Thoughts By Marc Primo Pulisci on THE FOUR by Scott Galloway

Friday, November 24, 2017

Observations by Marc Primo Pulisci about TED Talk by Chris J. Anderson

An effective speech can change our world. TED brings us together with inspirational talks from scientists, inventors, opinion leaders, artists, and authors. How are these speeches prepared and why are they being watched?

Anderson’s guide has garnered endorsements from an impressive list of intellectuals, including Steven Pinker, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Adam Grant.

“The TED Talk has reinvented the art of rhetoric for the 21st century. Goodbye to windy academese, scientific gobbledygook, pompous moralizing, powerpoint chloroform – we now know that “ideas worth spreading” can indeed be spread far and wide, and with clarity and panache. Behind this revolution lies Chris Anderson, who had a vision that powerful ideas can improve the world and has developed a coherent philosophy and a set of guidelines for compelling communication. This book may restore rhetoric to its time-honored place as one of the essential skills of an educated citizen.”

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of HOW THE

“Nobody in the world better understands the art and science of public speaking than Chris Anderson. He has nurtured, coaxed, and encouraged so many speakers over the years (myself included) — helping us to bring forth our very best performances onstage, even when we were at our most nervous and overwhelmed. He is the absolutely perfect person to have written this book, and it will be a gift to many.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of BIG MAGIC and THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS

“This is not just the most insightful book ever written on public speaking—it’s also a brilliant, profound look at how to communicate. If you ever plan to utter a sound, this is a must-read. It gives me hope that words can actually change the world.” -Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of GIVE AND TAKE and ORIGINALS

Chris J. Anderson took over TED in 2002 and created a worldwide phenomenon. Anderson, pondering the details of making good speeches for years, has brought together the secrets of the most-watched TED speakers in this guide. TED Talk is a book for anyone who wants to make an impact with their ideas through public speaking.

-Observations by Marc Primo Pulisci

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon

How a Native American tribe became the richest people per capita in the world and why they died because of that.

In David Grann’s (“The lost city of Z”) new book the author dramatizes a series of events which occurred in Oklahoma at the turn of the century when Osage Indians endured a “Reign of Terror” because of the land the U.S. government exiled them to. 
Osage Indians were first discovered by French explorers in the 17th century in Missouri. In 1804, president Thomas Jefferson purchased this territory from the French and the Osages had to move from their native land. They ended up in Kansas but were soon moved from there by white settlers. 
As David Grann recalls in his new best-selling history book “Killers of the Flower Moon and The Birth of the FBI”, the Osages had to look for a new land.  In the 1870s they found it in hilly Oklahoma, a barren land unsuited for cultivation and bought it from the Cherokees. Some years later, they added a provision for owning the land’s gas, oil, coal and other minerals too. Nobody cared for that at the time. 
The author focuses his attention on the period known as the “Reign of Terror” in the 1920s when a series of unsolved and brutal murders of Osage Indians took place. By that time, the Osages were known as the richest people per capita in the world. This came about when they discovered that their patch of “barren” land in Oklahoma had some of the biggest oil deposits in the United States. All the Osages had to do is rent the land to the prospectors and accumulate their enormous wealth. 
Grann tells tails of the way the lifestyle of the Osages changed in these years. They bought big houses, cars, and planes and hired white men as their servants. But this couldn’t have lasted long. Soon enough a large number of hopefuls, smugglers, and criminals flocked to the Osage reservation in hope of benefiting from their wealth. Some were petty robbers but others had more long-term plans. 
The only way to claim the right to this rich land was by inheriting it. And this is exactly what the hopefuls were intending to do. They began marrying into the tribe and waiting, and often helping their rich wives and their families to die. The central story of the book concerns the fate of Mollie Burkhart who married a white man and lost her family one by one. Her mother was poisoned, her sister Anne shot dead and other sister Rita blown up. Mollie narrowly escaped death by poisoning and finally got her justice in court but not everybody was so fortunate.
The FBI, with its new ambitious director J. Edgar Hoover, took the credit for solving some 24 Osage Indians killed in the “Reign of Terror” but more recent studies suggest numbers in the hundreds. 
David Grann has again masterfully used personal stories such as the struggles of Mollie Burkhart to bring to life one of the most brutal periods of American history and in the process, present us the unusual early days and the creation of the institution known as the FBI. 

“Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann reviewed by Marc Primo Pulisci

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Astrophysics For People in A Hurry

The following is a review of “Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson by Marc Primo
“Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson is a book that explores the nature of space and time. The author explains the nature of the cosmos using simple language that can be understood by any reader. This is why book reviewers consider Tyson a very successful writer. Every chapter in the book deals with one basic topic, for example, how the elements were formed and distributed, the origins of the cosmos, dark matter, the electromagnetic spectrum, and dark energy among others.

One of the captivating chapters in the book is chapter 11 titled “Exoplanets”. The chapter starts by explaining features of the Earth that are visible far away from the planet. For instance, the features an individual is likely to see from an airplane, or from the moon. The author then proceeds to discuss the type of things an alien civilization observing the earth using a technology similar to ours is likely to learn. By discussing the Earth from an exoplanet perspective, the author assists the reader to understand how scientists discover and determine the features of exoplanets. Moreover, the author points out some of the limitations astrophysicists faces.

In his book, Tyson does a good job in explaining abstract concepts to lay people. For instance, the author uses comparisons to demonstrate measurements. He shows that two cubic feet of the element iridium weigh the same as a Buick. In addition, in approximating the density of a pulsar, the author equates the density with placing one hundred million elephants into a Chap-Stick casing.
Tyson is a master of his field, and it comes through throughout the book. This is evident in the manner in which the author expounds on the theory of relativity and his knowledge of dark matter. The author emphasizes theories that have been scientifically proven, while acknowledging that there is still much to be discovered. Additionally, Tyson argues that astrophysics should not be a preserve of academia, but knowledge accessible to all because cosmic awareness gives us a higher understanding. This transcends the primal behavior we engage in when looking for mates, food and shelter.

Tyson concludes his book with a chapter titled “The Cosmic Perspective”. This chapter discusses our place and connection to the universe, and discourages the grander view of life. At the beginning of the book, Tyson discusses astronomical concepts based on popular culture. However, towards the end, he adopts a sober view of the place of humanity in the universe, and urges readers to embrace this view.
Most of the content in the book “Astrophysics For People in A Hurry” came from the several “Universe” essays Tyson wrote 20 years ago. Nevertheless, the content still reads fresh, and the author has made the necessary updates. For example, the recent identification of gravitational waves and designation of Pluto as a dwarf planet has been added.

Reading the book is a very rewarding experience because it enables one to marvel at the wonders of the universe, try to figure them out, and encourages individuals to take care of the environment.

“Astrophysics For People
In A Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson reviewed by Marc Primo Pulisci
by Marc Primo

Monday, October 2, 2017

Forty years of the internet: how the world changed for ever

Towards the end of the summer of 1969 – a few weeks after the moon landings, a few days after Woodstock, and a month before the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus – a large grey metal box was delivered to the office of Leonard Kleinrock, a professor at the University of California in Los Angeles. It was the same size and shape as a household refrigerator, and outwardly, at least, it had about as much charm. But Kleinrock was thrilled: a photograph from the time shows him standing beside it, in requisite late-60s brown tie and brown trousers, beaming like a proud father.https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2009/oct/23/internet-40-history-arpanet