Earnings, Google Maps and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

This week, earnings calls for the first quarter of 2015 dominated the news in tech and retail. Too bad that I barely had time to really read the reports but I posted the most important ones here for future reference. Just a short note this week as we are T minus 6 days to a move. Can’t leave without sharing this, though:

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The image above is located south of the Pakistani town of Rawalpindi.  Contrary to some reports, this is not one of Google’s Easter eggs but most likely the result of a user abusing Map Maker. It was seen here but as of this writing, the image has been removed and Google has apologized. I took the screenshot above early this morning. For posterity, of course.

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

In tech:

    1. Google Q1 revenue rose to 12% at $17.3B but misses expectations for the sixth time in the last nine quarters; announces Project Fi in partnership with Sprint and T-Mobile in the US, wireless plans starts at $20/month
    2. Amazon Q1 revenue beats expectations and reveals for the first time how big its cloud business is, at $4.6B revenue accounting for 7% of Q1 revenue of $22.7B
    3. Facebook Q1 revenue rose by 42% to $3.54B but misses estimates, video views per day at 4 billion views
    4. Comcast drops $45.2B merger agreement with Time Warner Cable amidst heavy opposition from consumers and likely veto from federal regulators
    5. Yahoo‘s Q1 revenue drops 4% from last year; might spin off Japan operations

In retail:

  1. Amazon, Audi and DHL to test package delivery to cars in May in Munich
  2. Kering reports drop in Q1 like-for-like sales (Financial Times paywall) as Gucci undergoes transition
  3. eBay Q1 earnings beat expectations, buoyed by PayPal unit
  4. Secondhand fashion marketplace Poshmark raises $25M, on track to $200M in revenues this year
  5. Lilly Pulitzer for Target sells out within hours and crashes website

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