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About MeHi! I'm Ben Parr, co-founder and CMO of Octane AI, the platform for conversational commerce and Messenger marketing for ecommerce. I'm the author of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention. I also advise brands like Lufthansa on attention and growth, and I write a monthly column for Inc. I'm the former Editor of Mashable and a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30.
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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
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?
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
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.
Holy shit, this is my favorite thing of the month.
Kid President’s got your back.
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.
Check it out, let me know what you think.
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.