It’s easy to forget — even for a Disney nerd like myself — that before Walt Disney died of lung cancer in December of 1966, EPCOT (the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was supposed to be a real city. The code name “Project X” was given to the undertaking that would eventually become Walt Disney World, which today includes the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom parks.
Fascinating. And the rabbit hole goes deeper still.
[via Tim Maly]
Allison Fass reporting on Peter Thiel’s talk at SXSW this year where he recounted the time in 2006 that Mark Zuckerberg turned down Yahoo’s $1 billion offer to buy Facebook:
His only partial rationalization at the time was that in the history of Yahoo, it had made two $1 billion offers that were also turned down. And those were to eBay and Google. “At least I could actually make a pseudo-scientific argument that in every case Yahoo offered $1 billion and it was rejected, it was the correct thing to do,” said Thiel.
I should say that I know absolutely nothing about any sort of talks/deals between Tumblr and Yahoo. And I’m not sharing this to suggest that Tumblr should turn down such a supposed offer (my initial gut feeling is actually that such a partnership would make a lot of sense). I just found it fascinating given how closely the reported number is to the key number repeated in Thiel’s story.
Speaking of blues… “Schumpeter” of The Economist has this to say about Microsoft and Windows 8:
This is why Windows 8’s poor performance matters. It was an attempt to solve the innovator’s dilemma by creating an operating system and a user interface for both PCs and mobiles. Mr Ballmer hoped that consumers would want to move effortlessly from PCs to tablets to smartphones—and that Microsoft would be able to invade the mobile markets while simultaneously reigniting demand for its core PC products. But so far the reverse has happened: Microsoft has reinforced suspicions that it does not understand hand-held devices while simultaneously alienating its core PC users. It is possible that Microsoft will be able to solve this problem with future iterations of Windows 8. But it is looking likely that the two types of device need different operating systems. Microsoft’s biggest rival, Apple, has kept the two devices separate. That bodes ill for Mr Ballmer’s strategy. The comparison with New Coke actually understates Microsoft’s problem. Nothing forced Coca-Cola to introduce New Coke: tongues and throats do not change much. And all the firm had to do to rectify its error was to bring back the old version. Technology firms, in contrast, must innovate to survive. Restoring the start button will not restore Microsoft to its former glory.
It’s not that Microsoft isn’t trying to innovate, it’s that the type of innovation they chose to move forward with was ill-conceived. And this may well end up hastening their long-term woes. It’s the proverbial “rock and hard place”. It’s a textbook example of why innovators have dilemmas.
Om Malik arguing that the New York Times should fight the scrappy news upstarts not by playing their game, but by rising above:
Now, if they can actually overcome their angst — and it hurts me to say this — they can change the conversation in the media business away from the increasingly shallow content and instead bring the focus back to quality and in-depth journalism, which is their stock in trade. If the New York Times management were feeling bold, it would put $25 million to work on creating 100 other Snow Falls and basically change the reader’s expectations of what long-form digital content and journalism are in the new century.
Snow Fall is fairly amazing.
Farhad Manjoo on the new Square Stand:
Translation: Credit cards will be here for a good long time. This isn’t a novel admission; Dorsey has always said that he doesn’t think plastic will go away anytime soon. But the launch of the Square Stand—a device engineered to improve the credit card experience—shows how deeply Square is betting on credit cards. It’s as if, after building the Model T, Henry Ford also spent a lot of money to build a faster horse, just to hedge his bets. In this way, Square Stand prompts a deeper question: What if, as wonderful as Square Wallet is, we just never move beyond credit cards? What if people find faster horses good enough?