Archive | March 2014

This is what happens when Facebook controls the signal, and it defines you as noise

If you use Facebook as a form of advertising, don’t be surprised if they want to charge you for that.

Gigaom

A food-delivery startup called Eat24 touched off a minor frenzy of anti-Facebook (s fb) sentiment recently with an open letter that said it is “breaking up” with the giant social network, as a result of the changes that Facebook has been making to its newsfeed algorithms — changes that Eat24 says are so unfriendly it is deleting its Facebook page altogether. It’s just the latest in a series of complaints from brands and prominent users about how the social network is downgrading their content and charging them to reach the followers they used to reach for free.

More than anything, these complaints reinforce the difference between Facebook and Twitter (s twtr): when a user tweets, it becomes part of a giant stream of billions of messages that are (theoretically at least) available to anyone. That may seem noisy — and Twitter gets regular complaints about how hard it is to…

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Will VR Go Mainstream? And what does that mean?

Oculus Mistake

Canada’s Globe and Mail just published an article with the title: Facebook’s massive Oculus mistake: VR can’t go mainstream. I agree with some of that headline…but not the rest!

1) I agree that VR immersive headsets such as Oculus will not be ubiquitous. Too many people will not want an experience that shuts out the rest of the world while gaming or watching video or being on social media. This is almost certainly not the next smartphone or tablet market.
2) On the other hand, if only 10% of global households buy a VR headset for at least occasional use, that is 100 million units. This will be a premium product, so call it a $500 average selling price. That’s a $50B market over the next decade, or probably no more than $10B in any given year.
3) That is utterly tiny compared to sales of smartphones, TV sets, tablets or even PCs: each of which will be over $100B in annual revenues globally in 2014.
4) But it is not nothing, and growing markets that have peak sales of $10B can still be very attractive and important.
5) None of which means that what Facebook paid was the right price, too high, too low or whether this was a good idea or not! I don’t make those sorts of calls.
6) But in a technology world of “mass niches”, the fact that VR won’t go mainstream doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook’s acquisition was a “massive mistake.” That MAY turn out to be true, but we won’t know for a few years.