More on Society & Culture
7 months ago
What Motivated Amazon to Spend $1 Billion for The Rings of Power?
Amazon's Rings of Power is the most costly TV series ever made. This is merely a down payment towards Amazon's grand goal.
Here's a video:
Amazon bought J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels for $250 million in 2017. This agreement allows Amazon to create a Tolkien series for Prime Video.
The business spent years developing and constructing a Lord of the Rings prequel. Rings of Power premiered on September 2, 2022.
It drew 25 million global viewers in 24 hours. Prime Video's biggest debut.
An Exorbitant Budget
The most expensive. First season cost $750 million to $1 billion, making it the most costly TV show ever.
Jeff Bezos has spent years looking for the next Game of Thrones, a critically and commercially successful original series. Rings of Power could help.
Why would Amazon bet $1 billion on one series?
It's Not Just About the Streaming War
It's simple to assume Amazon just wants to win. Since 2018, the corporation has been fighting Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Apple, Disney, and NBC. Each wants your money, talent, and attention. Amazon's investment goes beyond rivalry.
Subscriptions Are the Bait
Audible, Amazon Music, and Prime Video are subscription services, although the company's fundamental business is retail. Amazon's online stores contribute over 50% of company revenue. Subscription services contribute 6.8%. The company's master plan depends on these subscriptions.
Streaming videos on Prime increases membership renewals. Free trial participants are more likely to join. Members buy twice as much as non-members.
Amazon Studios doesn't generate original programming to earn from Prime Video subscriptions. It aims to retain and attract clients.
Amazon can track what you watch and buy. Its algorithm recommends items and services. Mckinsey says you'll use more Amazon products, shop at Amazon stores, and watch Amazon entertainment.
In 2015, the firm launched the first season of The Man in the High Castle, a dystopian alternate history TV series depicting a world ruled by Nazi Germany and Japan after World War II.
This $72 million production earned two Emmys. It garnered 1.15 million new Prime users globally.
When asked about his Hollywood investment, Bezos said, "A Golden Globe helps us sell more shoes."
Selling more footwear
Amazon secured a deal with DirecTV to air Thursday Night Football in restaurants and bars. First streaming service to have exclusive NFL games.
This isn't just about Thursday night football, says media analyst Ritchie Greenfield. This sells t-shirts. This may be a ticket. Amazon does more than stream games.
The Rings of Power isn't merely a production showcase, either. This sells Tolkien's fantasy novels such Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion.
This tiny commitment keeps you in Amazon's ecosystem.
3 months ago
I questioned Chat-GPT for advice on the top nonfiction books. Here's What It Suggests
You have to use it.
Chat-GPT is a revolution.
All social media outlets are discussing it. How it will impact the future and different things.
I've been using Chat-GPT for a few days, and it's a rare revolution. It's amazing and will only improve.
I asked Chat-GPT about the best non-fiction books. It advised this, albeit results rely on interests.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
A impoverished tobacco farmer dies of cervical cancer in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Her cell strand helped scientists treat polio and other ailments.
Rebecca Skloot discovers about Henrietta, her family, how the medical business exploited black Americans, and how her cells can live forever in a fascinating and surprising research.
You ought to read it.
if you want to discover more about the past of medicine.
if you want to discover more about American history.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
by John Carreyrou
Bad Blood tells the terrifying story of how a Silicon Valley tech startup's blood-testing device placed millions of lives at risk.
John Carreyrou, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote this book.
Theranos and its wunderkind CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, climbed to popularity swiftly and then plummeted.
You ought to read it.
if you are a start-up employee.
specialists in medicine.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now shows how to stop suffering and attain inner peace by focusing on the now and ignoring your mind.
The book also helps you get rid of your ego, which tries to control your ideas and actions.
If you do this, you may embrace the present, reduce discomfort, strengthen relationships, and live a better life.
You ought to read it.
if you're looking for serenity and illumination.
If you believe that you are ruining your life, stop.
if you're not happy.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is an iconic self-help book.
This vital book offers practical guidance for personal and professional success.
This non-fiction book is one of the most popular ever.
You ought to read it.
if you want to reach your full potential.
if you want to discover how to achieve all your objectives.
if you are just beginning your journey toward personal improvement.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens explains how our species has evolved from our earliest ancestors to the technology age.
How did we, a species of hairless apes without tails, come to control the whole planet?
It describes the shifts that propelled Homo sapiens to the top.
You ought to read it.
if you're interested in discovering our species' past.
if you want to discover more about the origins of human society and culture.
3 months ago
How a misplaced item may change your outlook
Losing your wallet means life stops. Money vanishes. No credit. Your identity is unverifiable. As you check your pockets for the missing object, you can't drive. You can't borrow a library book.
Last seen? intuitively. Every kid asks this, including yours. However, you know where you lost it: On the Providence River cycling trail. While pedaling vigorously, the wallet dropped out of your back pocket and onto the pavement.
A woman you know—your son's art teacher—says it will be returned. Faith.
You want that faith. Losing a wallet is all-consuming. You must presume it has been stolen and is being used to buy every diamond and non-fungible token on the market. Your identity may have been used to open bank accounts and fake passports. Because he used your license address, a ski mask-wearing man may be driving slowly past your house.
As you delete yourself by canceling cards, these images run through your head. You wait in limbo for replacements. Digital text on the DMV website promises your new license will come within 60 days and be approved by local and state law enforcement. In the following two months, your only defense is a screenshot.
Your wallet was ordinary. A worn, overstuffed leather rectangle. You understand how tenuous your existence has always been since you've never lost a wallet. You barely breathe without your documents.
Ironically, you wore a wallet-belt chain. You adored being a 1993 slacker for 15 years. Your wife just convinced you last year that your office job wasn't professional. You nodded and hid the chain.
Never lost your wallet. Until now.
Angry. Feeling stupid. How could you drop something vital? Why? Is the world cruel? No more dumb luck. You're always one pedal-stroke from death.
Then you get a call: We have your wallet.
Local post office, not cops.
The clerk said someone returned it. Due to trying to identify you, it's a chaos. It has your cards but no cash.
Your automobile screeches down the highway. You yell at the windshield, amazed. Submitted. Art teacher was right. Have some trust.
You thank the postmaster. You ramble through the story. The clerk doesn't know the customer, simply a neighborhood Good Samaritan. You wish you could thank that person for lifting your spirits.
You get home, beaming with gratitude. You thumb through your wallet, amazed that it’s all intact. Then you dig out your chain and reattach it.
Because even faith could use a little help.
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6 months ago
Quietly Create a side business that will revolutionize everything in a year.
Quitting your job for a side gig isn't smart.
A few years ago, I would have laughed at the idea of starting a side business.
I never thought a side gig could earn more than my 9-to-5. My side gig pays more than my main job now.
You may then tell me to leave your job. But I don't want to gamble, and my side gig is important. Programming and web development help me write better because of my job.
Yes, I share work-related knowledge. Web development, web3, programming, money, investment, and side hustles are key.
Let me now show you how to make one.
Create a side business based on your profession or your interests.
I'd be direct.
Most people don't know where to start or which side business to pursue.
You can make money by taking online surveys, starting a YouTube channel, or playing web3 games, according to several blogs.
You won't make enough money and will waste time.
Nitin directs our efforts. My friend, you've worked and have talent. Profit from your talent.
College taught me web development. I soon created websites, freelanced, and made money. First year was hardest for me financially and personally.
As I worked, I became more skilled. Soon after, I got more work, wrote about web development on Medium, and started selling products.
I've built multiple income streams from web development. It wasn't easy. Web development skills got me a 9-to-5 job.
Focus on a specific skill and earn money in many ways. Most people start with something they hate or are bad at; the rest is predictable.
Result? They give up, frustrated.
Quietly focus for a year.
I started my side business in college and never told anyone. My parents didn't know what I did for fun.
The only motivation is time constraints. So I focused.
As I've said, I focused on my strengths (learned skills) and made money. Yes, I was among Medium's top 500 authors in a year and got a bonus.
How did I succeed? Since I know success takes time, I never imagined making enough money in a month. I spent a year concentrating.
I became wealthy. Now that I have multiple income sources, some businesses pay me based on my skill.
I recommend learning skills and working quietly for a year. You can do anything with this.
The hardest part will always be the beginning.
When someone says you can make more money working four hours a week. Leave that, it's bad advice.
If someone recommends a paid course to help you succeed, think twice.
The beginning is always the hardest.
I made many mistakes learning web development. When I started my technical content side gig, it was tough. I made mistakes and changed how I create content, which helped.
And it’s applicable everywhere.
Don't worry if you face problems at first. Time and effort heal all wounds.
Quitting your job to work a side job is not a good idea.
Some honest opinions.
Most online gurus encourage side businesses. It takes time to start and grow a side business.
Suppose you quit and started a side business.
After six months, what happens? Your side business won't provide enough money to survive.
Indeed. Later, you'll become demotivated and tense and look for work.
Instead, work 9-5, and start a side business. You decide. Stop watching Netflix and focus on your side business.
I know you're busy, but do it.
Next? It'll succeed or fail in six months. You can continue your side gig for another six months because you have a job and have tried it.
You'll probably make money, but you may need to change your side gig.
You've created a new revenue stream.
Starting a side business, a company, or finding work is difficult. There's no free money in a competitive world. You'll only succeed with skill.
Read it again.
Focusing silently for a year can help you succeed.
I studied web development and wrote about it. First year was tough. I went viral, hit the top 500, and other firms asked me to write for them. So, my life changed.
Yours can too. One year of silence is required.
1 year ago
Expulsion of ten million Ukrainians
According to recent data from two UN agencies, ten million Ukrainians have been displaced.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates nearly 6.5 million Ukrainians have relocated. Most have fled the war zones around Kyiv and eastern Ukraine, including Dnipro, Zhaporizhzhia, and Kharkiv. Most IDPs have fled to western and central Ukraine.
Since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 3.6 million people have crossed the border to seek refuge in neighboring countries, according to the latest UN data. While most refugees have fled to Poland and Romania, many have entered Russia.
Internally displaced figures are IOM estimates as of March 19, based on 2,000 telephone interviews with Ukrainians aged 18 and older conducted between March 9-16. The UNHCR compiled the figures for refugees to neighboring countries on March 21 based on official border crossing data and its own estimates. The UNHCR's top-line total is lower than the country totals because Romania and Moldova totals include people crossing between the two countries.
Sources: IOM, UNHCR
According to IOM estimates based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of internally displaced Ukrainians, over 53% of those displaced are women, and over 60% of displaced households have children.
10 months ago
What's up with tech?
Massive Layoffs, record low VC investment, debate over crash... why is it happening and what’s the endgame?
This article generalizes a diverse industry. For objectivity, specific tech company challenges like growing competition within named segments won't be considered. Please comment on the posts.
According to Layoffs.fyi, nearly 120.000 people have been fired from startups since March 2020. More than 700 startups have fired 1% to 100% of their workforce. "The tech market is crashing"
Venture capital investment dropped 19% QoQ in the first four months of 2022, a 2018 low. Since January 2022, Nasdaq has dropped 27%. Some believe the tech market is collapsing.
It's bad, but nothing has crashed yet. We're about to get super technical, so buckle up!
I've written a follow-up article about what's next. For a more optimistic view of the crisis' aftermath, see: Tech Diaspora and Silicon Valley crisis
Insanity reigned. Last decade, everyone became a unicorn. Seed investments can be made without a product or team. While the "real world" economy suffered from the pandemic for three years, tech companies enjoyed the "new normal."
COVID sped up technology adoption on several fronts, but this "new normal" wasn't so new after many restrictions were lifted. Worse, it lived with disrupted logistics chains, high oil prices, and WW3. The consumer market has felt the industry's boom for almost 3 years. Inflation, unemployment, mental distress...what looked like a fast economic recovery now looks like unfulfilled promises.
People rethink everything they eat. Paying a Netflix subscription instead of buying beef is moronic if you can watch it for free on your cousin’s account. No matter how great your real estate app's UI is, buying a house can wait until mortgage rates drop. PLGProduct Led Growth (PLG) isn't the go-to strategy when consumers have more basic expense priorities.
Exponential growth and investment
Until recently, tech companies believed that non-exponential revenue growth was fatal. Exponential growth entails doing more with less. From Salim Ismail words:
An Exponential Organization (ExO) has 10x the impact of its peers.
Many tech companies' theories are far from reality.
Investors have funded (sometimes non-exponential) growth. Scale-driven companies throw people at problems until they're solved. Need an entire closing team because you’ve just bought a TV prime time add? Sure. Want gold-weight engineers to colorize buttons? Why not?
Tech companies don't need cash flow to do it; they can just show revenue growth and get funding. Even though it's hard to get funding, this was the market's momentum until recently.
The graph at the beginning of this section shows how industry heavyweights burned money until 2020, despite being far from their market-share seed stage. Being big and being sturdy are different things, and a lot of the tech startups out there are paper tigers. Without investor money, they have no foundation.
A little bit about interest rates
Inflation-driven high interest rates are said to be causing tough times. Investors would rather leave money in the bank than spend it (I myself said it some days ago). It’s not wrong, but it’s also not that simple.
The USA central bank (FED) is a good proxy of global economics. Dollar treasury bonds are the safest investment in the world. Buying U.S. debt, the only country that can print dollars, guarantees payment.
The graph above shows that FED interest rates are low and 10+ year bond yields are near 2018 levels. Nobody was firing at 2018. What’s with that then?
Full explanation is too technical for this article, so I'll just summarize: Bond yields rise due to lack of demand or market expectations of longer-lasting inflation. Safe assets aren't a "easy money" tactic for investors. If that were true, we'd have seen the current scenario before.
Long-term investors are protecting their capital from inflation.
Not a crash, a landing
I bombarded you with info... Let's review:
Consumption is down, hurting revenue.
Tech companies of all ages have been hiring to grow revenue at the expense of profit.
Investors expect inflation to last longer, reducing future investment gains.
Inflation puts pressure on a wheel that was rolling full speed not long ago. Investment spurs hiring, growth, and more investment. Worried investors and consumers reduce the cycle, and hiring follows.
Long-term investors back startups. When the invested company goes public or is sold, it's ok to burn money. What happens when the payoff gets further away? What if all that money sinks? Investors want immediate returns.
Why isn't the market crashing? Technology is not losing capital. It’s expecting change. The market realizes it threw moderation out the window and is reversing course. Profitability is back on the menu.
People solve problems and make money, but they also cost money. Huge cost for the tech industry. Engineers, Product Managers, and Designers earn up to 100% more than similar roles. Businesses must be careful about who they keep and in what positions to avoid wasting money.
What the future holds
From here on, it's all speculation. I found many great articles while researching this piece. Some are cited, others aren't (like this and this). We're in an adjustment period that may or may not last long.
Big companies aren't laying off many workers. Netflix firing 100 people makes headlines, but it's only 1% of their workforce. The biggest seem to prefer not hiring over firing.
Smaller startups beyond the seeding stage may be hardest hit. Without structure or product maturity, many will die.
I expect layoffs to continue for some time, even at Meta or Amazon. I don't see any industry names falling like they did during the .com crisis, but the market will shrink.
If you are currently employed, think twice before moving out and where to.
If you've been fired, hurry, there are still many opportunities.
If you're considering a tech career, wait.
If you're starting a business, I respect you. Good luck.