20 Feb

NYTimes.com – China, Twitter and 20-Year-Olds vs. the Pyramids

I look at the young protesters who gathered in downtown Amman today, and the thousands who gathered in Egypt and Tunis, and my heart aches for them. So much human potential, but they have no idea how far behind they are — or maybe they do and that’s why they’re revolting. Egypt’s government has wasted the last 30 years — i.e., their whole lives — plying them with the soft bigotry of low expectations: “Be patient. Egypt moves at its own pace, like the Nile.” Well, great. Singapore also moves at its own pace, like the Internet.

The Arab world has 100 million young people today between the ages of 15 and 29, many of them males who do not have the education to get a good job, buy an apartment and get married. That is trouble. Add in rising food prices, and the diffusion of Twitter, Facebook and texting, which finally gives them a voice to talk back to their leaders and directly to each other, and you have a very powerful change engine.

via NYTimes.com – China, Twitter and 20-Year-Olds vs. the Pyramids. Do you really need a better explanation for why the revolts happened?

24 Jan

The New Yorker – News Desk: Why Is Eric Schmidt Stepping Down at Google?

Was Eric Schmidt pushed or did he jump? Both. According to close advisors, the Google C.E.O. was upset a year ago when co-founder Larry Page sided with his founding partner, Sergey Brin, to withdraw censored searches from China. Schmidt did not hide his belief that Google should stay in the world’s largest consumer marketplace. It was an indication of the nature of the relationship Schmidt had with the founders that he—as Brian Cashman of the Yankees did this week—acknowledged that the decision was made above his head. He often joked that he provided “adult supervision,” and was never shy about interrupting the founders at meetings to crystallize a point. In the eleven interviews I conducted with him for my book on Google, he freely told anecdotes about the founders, sometimes making gentle fun of them, never seeming to look over his shoulder. Yet he always made clear that they were “geniuses” and he, in effect, was their manager. After a bumpy first couple of years after he joined Google as C.E.O. in 2001, they had developed a remarkable relationship. But also a weird one. How many successful organizations have a troika making decisions? Schmidt, according to associates, lost some energy and focus after losing the China decision. At the same time, Google was becoming defensive. All of their social-network efforts had faltered. Facebook had replaced them as the hot tech company, the place vital engineers wanted to work. Complaints about Google bureaucracy intensified. Governments around the world were lobbing grenades at Google over privacy, copyright, and size issues. The “don’t be evil” brand was getting tarnished, and the founders were restive. Schmidt started to think of departing. Nudged by a board-member friend and an outside advisor that he had to re-energize himself, he decided after Labor Day that he could reboot.

via The New Yorker – News Desk: Why Is Eric Schmidt Stepping Down at Google?. Typically when I’m posting to The New Yorker, I’m talking about how it’s a super long article with tons of detail and sources. This is super short article but man it details the entire story of Schmidt leaving Google as C.E.O. In all honesty this should be used as an example to journalism students everywhere.

25 Apr

Greater Transparency Around Government Requests – Official Google Blog

We are today launching a new Government Requests tool to give people information about the requests for user data or content removal we receive from government agencies around the world. For this launch, we are using data from July-December, 2009, and we plan to update the data in 6-month increments.

via Greater Transparency Around Government Requests – Official Google Blog. Interestingly Brazil is the number one in both data requests (3663) and removal requests (291), the US is #4 in removal requests (123) and #2 in data requests (3580). China is not listed as any requests are considered state secrets, by the Chinese government.

04 Jan

The economic statistic of the decade – Reuters

Mike Mandel has four nominees for his “Economic Statistic of the Decade” award, including home prices (obvs), Chinese growth, and global trade. But the most startling one, for me, is US household borrowing:

via The economic statistic of the decade | Analysis & Opinion | Reuters.

I would have to totally agree with this, seeing household borrowing from $200-400 billion to over $1200 billion a year and fall even faster is an interesting trend. Though the implications of it I’m not qualified to speak on it.