Bits and stuff: intervention, media models and geodes – Sept 3, 2017

This is excellent: Preston Byrne on why the initial coin offering (ICO) craze is calling out for regulator intervention, and what that might look like.

“The ICO bubble and its promise of cheap, quick gains is rightly the focus of attention for most folks at the moment. It is the promise of the greatest gains in the shortest time with the least effort. That bubble needs to pop before we can get down to business with the utility-driven applications of this technology. And pop it will, as surely as the sun rises in the morning.”

I am looking forward to things “settling”, as it will be such a relief to be able to stop shaking my head in bewilderment.

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A curious but subtly beautiful form of street art, by Paige Smith (via Colossal).

by Paige Smith, via Colossal
by Paige Smith, via Colossal

 

by Paige Smith, via Colossal
by Paige Smith, via Colossal

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Ev Williams, founder of Medium, doesn’t think media should carry ads.

I agree with him (on both user experience and journalistic independence grounds), but the economic reality of modern publishing takes a harsher view. Many of the publishers that left the Medium stable did so, not because they like ads, but because they want to have the option (which means they will probably carry ads – again, economic reality).

Recently I have been toying with the idea of going back to publishing on Medium. I still might, since I like the format and it does seem to aggregate good thematic content.

But many are sounding the death-knell for the platform because it got complicated with the introduction of the premium service.

So, what hope does a cryptocurrency-based decentralized remuneration scheme for good content have, if a really-not-that-complicated premium model is too much? Not much of one, unfortunately.

There may be hope on the horizon, though, if the flight to the easier-to-monetise (-and-understand) advertising model is more due to the need to keep the lights on, rather than to an I-can’t-be-bothered ethos. The blockchain-based options will get easier with time and iteration, and the user experience will get better.

Until then, I am sceptical that any such model is viable today. My vote is with the subscription-based/freemium model.

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An information titbit I can’t get out of my head (seen in a surprisingly fascinating interview in The Atlantic of the founder of a magazine for the meat industry): a laser that slices frozen pork chops in uniform thickness (down to the milimeter) costs around $250,000. You may wonder why it would be worth it (aren’t totally uniform pork chops a bit disconcerting?), but it turns out that some hospitals require them that way. And it helps for big batch processing. The mind boggles.

 

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