Category Archives: Uncategorized

Apple Will Regret Not Acquiring Nest

I’ve had some time to digest the big news in tech this week — Google’s monster acquisition of Nest for $3.2 billion — and no matter how many times I think about it, I come to the same conclusion: Missing out on Nest will become Apple’s biggest regret of the decade. I’ve been a big fan of Nest since I first got to play with its innovative thermostat, several months before its official release. Sarah Kessler, the reporter at Mashable who eventually wrote the launch story, and I were both incredibly impressed by the detail Tony Fadell and his team put into the design and intuitive UI of the device. Fadell is an alum of Apple, and the original designer of the iPod, so the first question everyone seemed to ask was, “Why didn’t Apple acquire Nest?” From what I’ve heard, Apple never made any serious bid for Nest, even when it was clear Google was closing in on the deal. I get why Google acquired Nest and Apple didn’t. Google specializes in moonshots. It isn’t afraid to expand into wearable computers, robotics, and life extension. Apple, on the other hand, doesn’t acquire new products — it acquires the technology it needs to improve its existing pipeline. That’s why you see Apple acquire semiconductor companies and Google acquire Boston Dynamics. But in this case, I think Apple made a mistake, for two simple reasons: 1) Google is far more dangerous with Nest: Google isn’t particularly adept yet at building consumer hardware, despite its acquisition of Motorola. The new Moto X phones are great, but they still don’t beat the iPhone. Nest, however, is incredibly adept at designing consumer products. I suspect Nest’s existing products — the thermostat and smoke detector — are about to get a big boost, but I also believe that you will see Nest’s influence in everything from Google Glass to future products for the home. A Google fridge? A Google watch? A Google security system? These are no longer out of the realm of possibility. Sometimes offense means playing the best defense. Apple handed Google multiple avenues for growth and a dangerously talented team of hardware designers. Apple will regret letting Google steal away that talent. 2) Nest could have presented Apple with new avenues for growth: Apple is under pressure for not launching new product lines and driving up growth. Nest, by every measure, is and has been growing. With Apple’s distribution, it could have boosted Nest’s product lines considerably while lowering manufacturing costs. And unlike 99% of the products on the market, Nest products actually look and feel like Apple products. If there was a company they could have integrated well into Apple, it was Nest. Apple will be fine, of course. It’ll launch a new product line this year (a watch or a TV) and it’ll be a hit. But Google grows as a threat every single year. Right now, Larry Page looks like the visionary who is leaving Tim Cook in the dust. Google now has a dangerous weapon it can use against Apple. Apple will regret not doing more to disarm Google.

Congratulations, You Just Won the Lottery! How Not to Be An Asshole With Your New Wealth

Congratulations are in order! After some completely appropriate late afternoon drinking at the bar with the love of your life who has friendzone’d you to hell, you stumbled into a convenience store to buy a pity cigarette, but instead bought a lottery ticket that is now worth $650 million! Now that you’re wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, I can understand the impulse to give half of it away and spend the other half on your dream yacht, the “S.S. More Powerful Than Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and the Incredible Hulk Put Together.” I mean, you can afford it now, right? WRONG! I, your friendly neighborhood financial advisor*, have some important advice you need to heed if you don’t want to become these people. Or these people. My point is that it’s easy to flush that money down the toilet. So if you want to keep your money, make sure your children go to college AND buy your dream yacht, THEN LISTEN UP! 1. Call your accountant! Before you claim your prize, call your accountant and make sure you go over the financial costs and benefits of taking your millions in wealth all at once or in annual installments over 30+years. Ideally you want to take the lump sum, because you can invest it, but if you have the self-control of a mouse in a house made of cheese, then you might want to take the installments because YOU HAVE NO SELF CONTROL. If you don’t have an accountant, GO GET ONE YOU IDIOT. 2. Coincidentally, I suggest going to some self control classes ASAP! You’ll thank me later. 3. Find the Batman, Superman and Spider-man… of finance. You’re going to need attorneys, financial planners and a great accountant to tell you that you’re a moron. 4. Prepare for the press! Those bastards are going to call you, hound you and ask you day and night what you’re going to do with your money. You don’t have a choice in this — almost every state makes its lottery winners public. Nobody likes a bragger, so I suggest not doing a lot of press unless you’re trying to audition for Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Then go nuts! 5. Pay off your bills, then don’t touch your money for six months! Remember, you have the self-control of a monkey living on a moon made out of bananas. So pay off your bills, take a tiny bit extra for a couple nice meals, and PUT THAT SHIT AWAY! Spending the money will lessen in priority if you can stay away from it for a few months. DON’T TOUCH YOUR CHEESE/BANANA! 6. How to handle people asking you for money. Everyone is going to ask you for money. Your mom, your long-lost cousin, the love of your life who had previously friendzone’d you but now can’t stop talking about your cute dimples, your best friend who claims he doesn’t care about money, your dog, etc. But they’re not entitled to your money! In fact, you sort of aren’t either, but whatever, you bought the ticket. Set a specific amount PER YEAR aside for giving. This includes family, friends and charity. Give your financial advisor the power to say “FUCK NO” when you try to give $1.5M to your new supermodel boyfriend/girlfriend for his/her new Bugatti Veyron. And tell your friends that your financial advisor controls your money, so you have an excuse for not giving them Bugatti Veyrons as well! Oh, and for the first six months, DON’T GIVE ANYBODY ANYTHING. You have about as much self-control as a puppy in a forest made of bacon. One more thing: you can increase your charitable giving after five years, when you’ve learned some self-control with your money. 7. Seriously, why haven’t you gone to self-control class yet? You need it! 8. Budget, budget, budget! Listen to your financial advisor, assuming he doesn’t have an evil mustache and cackles every other sentence. Budget that money, save lots of it for your future family and their educations, put more away for emergencies in a place you’ll forget for 50 years, and live modestly! Nobody likes a show-off, especially one that didn’t earn his money. 8. Remember, you didn’t earn this money. You ain’t Elon Musk. You didn’t build PayPal, Tesla or an awesome space company! You got very, very, very, very** lucky. So you have some karma to give back to the universe. A lot of karma. This is your responsibility now. It’s your responsibility to make sure your money lasts so you can keep giving to charity and helping others. You have a responsibility not to spoil your kids, but instead teach them upstanding moral values and make them good stewards of your millions. You have a responsibility to be active in your community. You have a responsibility NOT to buy that goddamn yacht! why do you keep obsessing over that thing, anyway? You’re never gonna use the damn thing anyway. 9. How not to be an asshole with your money. Oh yes, the most important part! How not to be a dickhead with your money. It’s simple, really: remember that your actions are your legacy. Use the money to build a homeless shelter and a children’s hospital? Karma points, especially if you don’t try to be a dick about it and plaster your name everywhere. Use the money to buy your kids experimental hovercrafts and monocles? Asshole alert! But in all seriousness, your actions are your legacy, whether or not you have millions. So don’t let luck or success get to your head. And for god sakes, go to your self-control classes already. ~ Ben *I am not your financial advisor. I’m not legally responsible if your money disappears in Las Vegas via a high-stakes poker match between you and Phil Ivy. **very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very Image courtesy of USA Today/Getty.

My Thoughts on BlackBerry’s Dismal Future on CNBC [VIDEO]

It’s no secret that I am a bear on BlackBerry. Maybe that’s why we let the fireworks fly while on CNBC today. On CNBC’s Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo, I fought with John Spallanzani of GFI Group on whether Fairfax would be able to raise the billions needed to take the company private and the future of BlackBerry in general. I’ll just say this: only one of us was right in this debate. Check out the 5 minute mark for my favorite part of the segment, and let me know whether you think BlackBerry will survive in the comments.

“Don’t Stop Believing… Unless Your Dream Is Stupid” ~ #KidPresident

Holy shit, this is my favorite thing of the month. Kid President’s got your back.

Talking Google Zeitgeist, iPads & Big Brother Brazil on Al Jazeera [Video]

I made an appearance on Al Jazeera English today from Chicago (I’m home for the holidays). In this short clip, we discussed the top searches of 2012, including the iPad 3, Whitney Houston and even Big Brother Brazil, the 10th most searched item in the world this year. (who knew?!) Check it out, let me know what you think. Ben Parr Al Jazeera English

Particle Physics, the Higgs Boson & Dark Matter Explained (By Awesome Cartoons)

The Higgs Boson particle could very well be the particle responsible for mass (via the Higgs mechanism), but very few people understand why scientists are so obsessed with the particle. In fact, I bet most people would scratch their heads and say, “Higgs… what?” if you asked them about it. The same is true of Dark Matter, the theoretical matter that permeates the universe, doesn’t interact with photons and exerts its influence on the universe via gravity. I’m a physics nerd, so I’m always looking for simple ways to explain these concepts to my friends. And now I’ve found them in the form of these two awesome cartoons. If you’ve already seen them, share them again. And if you haven’t… well, you’re about to get a crash course into why physics and astronomy majors do what they do.

The Higgs Boson Explained from PHD Comics on Vimeo.

Dark Matters from PHD Comics on Vimeo.

via Nasa and Hacker News

Startup Tip #11: Stop Asking for Advice w/ @marcusnelson

On a Rooftop in NYC next to The Empire State Building

Startup Tip #10: Bouncing Back w/ @kmin

Startup Tip #9: Tackle Big Opportunities! w/@jasonlbaptiste