- Inside China’s Memefacturing Factories, Where The Hottest New Gadgets Are Made
We’ve been seeing a lot of hoverboards being ridden around so this article is timely. Not surprisingly, the hoverboards are made in China at factories that excel in agile development – they can quickly switch to producing the Next Cool Thing.
Nearby, a bustling street hums with small restaurants and shops catering to Gaoke’s employees; above them rise identical two-story gray cement apartment blocks, balconies draped with laundry. Across from the the factory’s security gate, a small store stocks discontinued Gaoke products — televisions, rice cookers, English-language instruction cassette tapes — still in their original shrink-wrapping, to be sold at a discount to the factory’s workers. According to the shopkeeper, they’re a captive market and an easy way for Gaoke to get rid of dead stock.
- For China’s upper middle class, driving for Uber is a cure for loneliness
An interesting look at Uber in China that focuses on the drivers yes, and their motivation for driving; which turns out to be an excuse to socialize with their passengers. Not sure if this is just a few anecdotes or a real cultural thing – I don’t think people do this in North America.
For example, he uses Uber to find tennis partners. Signing on Uber’s driver app right after he plays at a court, he is likely to pick up another player, he explained. In this way, he met a man from Portugal who works in the financial industry in Shanghai. They chatted during the ride, friended each other on WeChat, and met up for tennis. “His [tennis] skill is as good as mine,” Fu said, “but his English is even more terrible than mine.”
He also intentionally picks up Uber passengers after he goes to a state-backed aerospace academy in Beijing to sell electronic components. He wants to know from the passengers coming from the academy “what products they are making,” he said. “I might get some opportunities.”
- The Digital Dirt
Whenever I read an article about a company, person or industry; the most interesting thing are the juicy/gossipy stories. That’s what makes this piece about the story behind TMZ so great, it’s basically stories about getting gossip stories. I might not read TMZ, but it’s interesting to read about stories they do, reject, and break.
Twenty-four hours after the Bieber video came in, the newsroom learned that Levin had decided not to run the story. He did not destroy his copy of the video, however, and Bieber’s camp was aware that Levin could reverse his position and post it. Celebrity secrets are treated like commodities at TMZ, not unlike the way they were treated by J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I. “The power of secret information was a gun that Hoover always kept loaded,” Tim Weiner* writes, in “Enemies,” a 2012 book about the bureau. A former writer for TMZ told me that, for Levin, there was more to gain by sitting on the clip, and earning Bieber’s good will, than by running it and ruining his career. (Older gossip publications followed this strategy as well. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the “dark genius” of William d’Alton Mann, the publisher of Town Topics, was his realization that “stories that came into his possession were perhaps worth more untold than told.” In the nineteen-fifties, Confidential gained access to the head of Columbia Studios by leveraging tapes of Rock Hudson that referred to his homosexuality.)
In the months before TMZ obtained the video, its coverage of Bieber had often been antagonistic; it ran a post suggesting that he had hit a twelve-year-old boy during a game of laser tag. After Braun and Levin had their phone conversation, numerous flattering Bieber-related exclusives appeared on the site: a photograph of Bieber backstage during a commercial shoot; pictures of him getting a haircut; a video of him and his girlfriend Selena Gomez performing karaoke; a story about how he bought “every single flower” at a florist’s and sent the flowers to Gomez’s house; video from a trip that Bieber took to Liverpool; and others, including a report of him watching “Titanic” one night, with Gomez, inside an otherwise vacant Staples Center.
- The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens
This is a bit of a rambling article about teens on Tumblr, why they use it, and how successful they’ve become. That is, until it all comes tumbling down (see what I did there??)
“‘My best friend recommended it’ was one of my more major contributions,” Lilley said. He read from the post: “‘I lost 24 pounds in four weeks with minor exercise and no change in diet. Here’s how I did it: with this organic supplement’—that doesn’t sound good.” But “ ‘Here’s how I did it: with this organic supplement my best friend recommended’—just seemed to me more real-sounding and … just makes it seem like in the back of someone’s mind they could think, well, my best friend could have recommended this to me.”
Exposely’s diet pill scheme got going in April 2014, and it worked—it worked like crazy. Trending.ly got almost 7 million views that month, and with the diet pill ads, they sometimes achieved a conversion rate near 10 percent. Once, across all their blogs, Exposely made $24,000 in a single day.
- Is the Competitive Bridge World Rife with Cheaters?
This is a fascinating article about how a whistleblower basically showed that a lot of top bridge teams are actually cheating their way to the top. It baffles me that the sport wouldn’t move to an (electronic) system where you can’t signal between players.
Fred Gitelman, of Bridge Base Online, unveiled a proposed anti-cheating device, an iPad-like tablet on which players manipulate virtual cards—an innovation that the game’s top players have so far resisted, since card feel is a critical part of their experience at the table. The adoption of such a device, however, seems inevitable in a game where the ease of cheating, and the financial inducements to do so, have dogged the professional game since its inception.