Clickbait part two and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

I have talked before of how much I dislike clickbait (so much so that this will have the same title) and sensational headlines. At the same time, I can’t help but click on said ridiculous headlines because I just have to know. This week, I saw two that led the pack.

Google was in the news a lot this week due to disclosures from its five-year battle against Oracle. According to a lawyer for Oracle, Google’s Android operating system has generated $31B in revenues and $22B in profit for Google. Thus the first clickbait above. Not only are iPhones (hardware) and the Android OS (mobile operating system) in entirely different categories, they also differ in how profit margins are generated. Apple sells the iPhone 6 for $649, while only costing $200 in components and manufacturing. Google develops Android as a platform, gives the code for free and makes money from ads supplied by Google on Android phones and via the Google Play Store.

The comparison is so egregious (I have to use a fancy word here because it is that appalling) and unfortunately these days, people glance at headlines like these and wisely nod their heads, “Oh yeah, of course, that completely makes sense.”

The second headline on the other hand is a cry for attention to Tesla to say, “We’re sorry we made a mistake, here’s a Tesla for you at the price we initially agreed with.” Elon Musk did not actually steal the car, rather a car from the test fleet was mistakenly offered for sale.

I get it. There’s so much noise out there that in order to be heard, you have to shout a little louder. It’s like when they tell you, don’t cry “help” to get people’s attention. Scream “fire” instead because people might ignore the former but rarely would they ignore the latter. Unfortunately, it’s up to us readers to discern the facts from sensationalism.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

      1. New prime number discovery breaks record at 22 million digits
      2. Facebook is opening an Oculus research office in Pittsburgh
      3. Google: Google paid Apple $1 billion to be the search engine on your iPhone; Google launches free Wi-Fi service in India with Mumbai Central Station; Google just published a free, three-month course on deep learning
      4. Auto: Apple opening R&D facility in hotbed for driverless car research; Tesla sues German supplier over failed Model X falcon doors; Uber hails victory after Transport for London drops restrictions
      5. Space: 9th planet http://m.caltech.edu/news/caltech-researchers-find-evidence-real-ninth-planet-49523; Successful drone ship landing proves elusive for SpaceX

In retail:

      1. China: Meituan-Dianping, China’s Largest Group Deals Site, Closes Massive $3.3B Round At $18B Valuation; Alibaba teams up with Nvidia in $1B bet on cloud computing
      2. Walmart: Walmart’s E-Commerce Push: It’s Among Top Companies Posting Jobs For Software Developers; Walmart wants to sell Suburbia clothing chain in Mexico; Walmart to give pay raises to most of its workers
      3. Apple applies to open stores in India
      4. Amazon: Amazon Offering Refunds on Sales of All Two-Wheeled Hoverboards; Amazon exec: Our drones will deliver in 30 minutes or less; Amazon steps up recruitment as it expands in Europe; Amazon veers into labor law fight zone for hurried deliveries
      5. Avon soars after discussing overseas growth, vowing to cut costs
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Clickbait and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

More thoughts on clickbait
I wrote how I felt about clickbait in last week’s weekly roundup and incidentally, a segment on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show also talked about clickbait with an interview with former Gawker editor, Neetzan Zimmerman. If you’re familiar with sites like Gawker and Buzzfeed, then you are one of a legion of readers who has clicked, and clicked and clicked on titles such as: “Scientists create creepy-looking mice” or listicles like “27 sex disasters you never forget.” (I’m not putting the link since I don’t want you to lose your brain cells in the process.) Zimmerman confirms how those articles are written – 15 minutes for the title and 5 minutes for the content. You can’t really blame him. In todays’ world of streaming information from multiple channels, you have to catch readers and you can’t make it too long either or else you lose their attention. Sites like Medium even state at the top of the page how long it will take to read each post.

Funny enough, when I visited Medium at this writing to get the URL, the first post I see is this 4-min read: “The Birth of MeaningfulContent.org (Why Sharethrough is investing $1M to make the Internet a better place)”, which is in response to “a burgeoning movement of storytellers embracing new digital tools to create meaningful narratives” and clickbait. I do believe that there is a market opportunity where people will pay for a curated Internet and well-written posts – to borrow the non-profit’s term, “meaningful content.” For my part, I hope you find my content relevant and I will always strive for that relevance and hopefully, meaningfulness.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1.  Twitter‘s stock surge after announcing 2nd quarter revenue growth of 124% (year-over-year) to $312M and 24% increase of average monthly active users
  2. Palantir Technologies, the $9B data analytics company in Palo Alto that provides services to several US government agencies, acquires Poptip, a social analytics startup and Propeller, an app-making startup
  3. Apple‘s iBeacons to roll out at Lord & Taylor stores in the US and Hudson’s Bay stores in Canada
  4. China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba is in talks with Snapchat, an app for disappearing photo messages, for a possible round of financing  at a $10B valuation
  5. Tesla records $858M revenue; loss of $62M; and a partnership with Panasonic to buildGigafactory, a massive battery plant in Reno, Nevada

In retail:

  1. Amazon to invest $2B to expand India operations in wake of Flipkart’s new financing round worth $1B
  2. Private equity firm 3i Group Plc is exploring a £200m sale of luxury lingerie Agent Provocateur
  3. Nordstrom to purchase Trunk Club, a Chicago-based men’s shopping site for $350M
  4. Kering beats second-quarter revenue forecasts, with 4% revenue increase on strength of Saint Laurent brand; buys Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin 
  5. Online flash sale site Rue La La is exploring a potential sale at a $400M valuation, attracts rival Gilt Groupe