Mobile Makes Facebook Just an App; That’s Great News

“Strong opinions weakly held” is a core principle of mine, and while I think I’ve demonstrated strong opinions aplenty on this blog, today it’s time to give credence to the “weakly held” part. Specifically, I have been wrong about Facebook. I’ve been a bear about their long-term prospects, and now I am a bull. My […]

Understanding Google

The surest route to befuddlement in the tech industry is comparing a vertical player, like Apple, with a horizontal one, like Google. Vertical players typically monetize through hardware, only serve a subset of users, and any services they provide are exclusive to their devices. Horizontal players, on the other hand, monetize through subscriptions or ads, […]

The (alleged) 13-inch iPad and the triumph of thin clients

The WSJ, in an article entitled Apple Tests Larger Screens for iPhones, iPads: In recent months, Apple has asked for prototype smartphone screens larger than 4 inches and has also asked for screen designs for a new tablet device measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally, they said. The current iPhone 5 has a four-inch […]

Services, not Devices

I have been very critical of Microsoft’s decision to organize functionally: Why Microsoft’s Reorganization is a Bad Idea argued that Microsoft was much better suited to a divisional structure The Uncanny Valley of Functional Organizations argued that Microsoft was setting itself up for failure pursuing a functional structure The larger question remains, though: why did […]

The Uncanny Valley of a Functional Organization

Consider this Part 2 in an accidental series on Microsoft’s recent reorganization, and functional and divisional organizations. Part 1 focused on a divisional organization, while today’s Part 2 focuses on functional ones. The “Uncanny Valley” is most typically associated with animated films (although it was originally about robots). From Wikipedia: The uncanny valley is a […]

Why Microsoft’s reorganization is a bad idea

DuPont, the famous chemical company, was actually built on gunpowder.1 Founded in the early 1800s, DuPont was a small family concern until the early 1900s, when Pierre DuPont modernized and organized the company around functions: primarily sales and manufacturing. The structure served DuPont well, particularly in World War I, when in response to overwhelming demand […]

The Dropbox Opportunity

Benedict Evans, in Glass, Home and solipsism, one of the most insightful posts I’ve read in some time: Your customers’ relationships with you are the only relationships you have as a business and you think a lot about them. But you’re one of a thousand things your customer thinks about in a week, and one […]

Apple Celebrates 5 Years of App Store With Free App Promotion

Macstories: Ahead of the App Store’s fifth anniversary on Wednesday, July 10, Apple has launched a new promotion that includes five “groundbreaking” iOS apps and five “landmark” iOS games; these apps will be available for free for a limited time to celebrate the first five years of App Store. Apple has posted an official page […]


I can’t be the only one struck by the commonalities between building sustainable businesses on the app store and NSA spying. Or my moving to Taiwan. (Forgive me one more meta-ish post; I’m still a bit jet-lagged). First the app store: the inability to monetize existing customers is a primary reason why it’s difficult to […]


I answered a Quora question: It’s interesting how some folks are always looking for some sort of institutional authority.1 I’ve been quoted as “Microsoft’s Ben Thompson,” as “former Apple intern Ben Thompson,” and “batshit crazy Ben Thompson.” I actually wish the third were true, because, unlike the first two, the descriptor rests on what I […]