massive greatness

by MG Siegler

Writer. Investor. Thinker. Drinker.

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Brevity

As a writer, I’m always falling into the same trap. Time goes on and my posts get longer and longer. I’m not exactly sure why this is beyond some subconscious effort to continually one-up myself and perhaps the notion that writing more words on a topic adds to your authority on it. Often, the opposite is true — if you have true command of a topic, you can explain it concisely.

Some will say that I need an editor, but I’ve always had more of a hate/hate relationship with editors. While I obviously appreciate typo and grammatical fixes, I feel content editing destroys my voice. I’ve written something a certain way for a reason. Putting it in bland, generic wording is blasphemy. I. Don’t. Care. If. It’s. Not. Technically. Correct.

I just don’t.

But my verbosity leads to another, much larger, problem: since longer posts take more time, I’m...

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The Startup Embargo, Revisited

Breaking news: there was another embargo fuck-up last week. And the week before that. And the week before that. And the week before that.

I could not be any less shocked. This has been par for the course for a while. A long while. And it will continue to be.

But at least this latest one brought some fireworks. TechCrunch’s Ryan Lawler, burned by the embargo break, got mad as hell and decided he wasn’t going to take it anymore. His subsequent post seemed to piss off just about every blogger and PR person out there. It reminded me a bit of the good old days.

Now, to be clear, I did find some of Lawler’s framing a bit ill-advised. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to come out swinging at other bloggers and PR people when they’re responsible for such massive fucking headaches. But you should never take it out on the startup. This insider baseball is...

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Sent From My iPad

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a quick note signaling my intent to predominantly use my iPad as my main computer when I travel going forward. What started as a successful two-day experiment led to a long weekend away last week. That went well enough that I’m confident in my choice. The iPad is my new road machine.

While this may not sound like a big deal — I’m hardly the first to do this — consider that I’m a heavy, heavy computer user. In particular, I write a lot. Blog posts, emails, tweets, etc. The iPad is not supposed to be good at those things. It’s not supposed to be able to replace a laptop for people like me. And yet, it is.

To be fair, I am cheating a little bit. When I know I’m going to do a lot of typing on the iPad, I break out the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. I bought one on a whim a few weeks back while I was in an Apple Store. Simply...

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You Either Die A Hero Or You Become The Villain

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Over the past month, I’ve been watching Dalton Caldwell’s App.net experiment with much interest. Essentially, he’s trying to rebuild Twitter from the ground up, only as a fully user and developer-supported network. In other words, he’s pissed off — as many people are — about some of the changes Twitter is undergoing in an apparent attempt to monetize. Caldwell has been trying to crowd-fund $500,000 to build this network, and if he gets it, he promises the service will provide “a different kind of social platform”.

I like Dalton. I’ve known him since the days he was building imeem, through picplz, through the first app.net, and now onto the new version. We meet up and chat from time to time. I sincerely hope he succeeds in getting the money to build the new App.net (they’re about halfway there with five days to go) because I believe...

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Twitter’s Landscaping Problem

Twitter. On the surface, it’s another year, another bitch session. Developers are up in arms! Everyone is threatening to leave! Or, at least, hundreds of people! There’s talk of open source competitors! It’s over! Maybe!

We’ve seen the same basic story repeated so many times over the years that I’ve grown numb. So when this latest cycle of stories hit, I barely gave any a second look. But this time, as the stories keep coming, I have this nagging feeling that something is actually different.

Everything is starting to point to something bigger. To that end, reading over Mike Isaac’s piece today has me worried.

Outside of the company itself and its investors, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger Twitter-cheerleader than me over the years. In the early days, when most people were still in the “this is the dumbest thing ever”...

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Remember When Microsoft Almost Bought Yahoo For $50 Billion?

Yesterday, Microsoft announced their Q4 2012 earnings, wrapping up another fiscal year. While most of the numbers on the surface looked pretty good (beneath the surface, we’ll see), the entire quarter was dyed red by one element: the write-down of the 2007 aQuantive purchase. It was so bad — $6.2 billion — that it swung Microsoft to a loss for the first time in their 26 years as a public company.

Ouch.

But it was just a one-time charge that the company is unlikely to face ever again, the defenders were quick to say. That may well be true. But I’m not sure it’s true. Why? Because just a year after the aQuantive deal, Microsoft nearly got itself into a much worse quagmire: Yahoo.

In fact, in hindsight, it sure looks like Yahoo’s rejection of their deal was one of the better things that has happened to Microsoft in recent years.

In 2008, after friendlier...

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Requiem For A Digg

To me, the most interesting aspect of the Digg story is just how much of a central role the service has played in the larger story of our current tech scene. It was a key catalyst in the era of social that we now live in. And the company’s diaspora has seeded many of the current crop of services we all use. In some ways, the sale to Betaworks really is the end of an era.

Om captured this well from the press perspective and Aubrey has from an insider’s perspective. I have a bit different of a perspective: the perspective of a user.

I signed up for Digg in April of 2006 — fairly late, the service had already been live for over a year. I don’t recall exactly how I found out about it — remarkably, back then, I probably read about it in a magazine like Wired (or maybe even on TechCrunch). But I do remember why I joined: I was bored.

My life was very different back then....

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The Traveling Data Dystopia

It seems that everyone likes to talk about “disconnecting” when they travel. That is, they want to get away from checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Path, etc, while they’re away. That’s great. I’m pretty much the opposite.

Let me pre-empt the “you need to live life” type lectures by saying that, of course I want to enjoy the scenery and the company of others. But I want to be connected when I do that. I want to be able to tweet and send pictures instantly to friends and family. I want to be able to check in on Foursquare to log where I’ve been and create lists of great places for others to enjoy. And I want to get recommendations for places to eat and see from the plethora of apps out there that are great at just that.

Being connected adds to my experience while traveling, it doesn’t take away from it. You can have a different...

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“MG Siegler can’t be trusted.”

Do you want an overview of the current state of the tech blogosphere? Click the link above.

I mean, that’s seriously a story. A full story. On a site that purports to report about technology. (And congratulations: your click will undoubtedly lead to other stories just like it!)

Pretty much the only accurate thing that author Adrianne Jeffries wrote was the part about me being on vacation in Paris. That’s true. Confirmed. And yet, here I am writing this post. Why? Because it’s 12:30 in the morning here. I have a bottle of wine that I need to kill. And this is going to be fun.

Earlier this evening (Paris time), I tweeted at Instapaper founder Marco Arment, who was in the middle of a most excellent Twitter take-down of “rewrite” blogging. That is, blogs that take information first reported elsewhere and simply rewrite it with little or no attribution back...

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Blackballs

“Access journalism” — you hurl those words at a journalist/writer and you might as well punch them in the face. It’s an insult that’s considered so severe that I’ve seen people that I know and respect nearly get into physical blows over it.

The idea that journalists/writers go out of their way to say nice things about a company to ensure they keep their place at the table is a nuclear weapon. It aims right at the heart of what they most hold dear: their credibility.

This has been brought up a lot in recent years in the context of Apple. I get accused of this, everyone who says positive things about Apple gets accused of this. Never mind the fact that while these accusations have been flying, Apple has become the most successful company in the world. Doesn’t matter. Bias. Falseness. Shill. YOU ARE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR.

But what about the flip side?...

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