Here goes our weekly magazine of stories curated from around the world. In this edition: Firing Andrew Mason won’t save Groupon, and other beautifully written stories from around the world.
Firing Andrew Mason Won’t Save Groupon: As soon as word got out that Groupon had fired founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason, shares in the company spiked. Investors apparently agree with Mason’s assessment that he was the problem, or, as he wrote in his public and unusually confessional goodbye note to employees: “You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance.” He’s right. What’s not so clear is his assertion that his exit paves the way for a revival of the online deal site. More here.
Elon Musk: Bad Review In New York Times Cost Tesla $100 Million: A negative review in the New York Times can sometimes be enough to shut down a Broadway show. A bad review of a cutting-edge vehicle can be every bit as costly. Tesla Motors’s chief executive officer says a Times story that found the electric-vehicle maker’s Model S sedan fell short of its estimated range erased $100 million of the company’s stock-market value in a matter of days. More here.
Mapping Out the Path to Viral Fame: ‘Contagious: Why Things Catch On,’ by Jonah Berger: How has the Korean pop star Psy’s wacky horse-dance video, “Gangnam Style,” managed to rack up more than 1.3 billion views on YouTube? Why did a 30-minute video by a small nonprofit group calling for the capture of the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony become a media sensation, racing across Twitter and Facebook eventually to snag the top spot on Unruly Media’s list of the 20 most shared ads on social media in 2012? Readers might suppose that Jonah Berger’s new book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” would shed light on these famous cases of viral content. They would be wrong. More here.
20 Worst Advertising Placement Fails: When it comes to advertising, companies have to double and triple check everything they’re going to publish. However, that is where their limits of control end, and once the ad is released into the wide world, strangest things can happen. For example, who could have thought that sliding Starbucks van door would turn their brand name into a word “Sucks” right next to the logo! More here.
Ankit Fadia Revealed: Unearthing some facts about Ankit Fadia. Almost everyone has read this one by now. But if you missed it, take a look here.
Do You Have Entrepreneurial DNA? A Test to Help You Decide: What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? Plenty of opinions abound that if you’re not a 20-something young Turk with 100 hours a week to burn and an outsized ego, your chance at a thriving startup is gone. Then we spotted the admission test to the Founders Institute training program (www.fi.co). Founders Institute is the creation of serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur Adeo Ressi. In 3 years the early-stage startup accelerator has helped to launch 650 companies in 39 cities in 5 continents. How do they know you’ll succeed? Founders Institute has been testing its applicants – 15,000 of, to assess which personality and aptitude traits match up with revenue growth and market success. So what kind of personality traits will mark your startup firm for success? Which will doom you to failure? More here.
What Ousted Groupon CEO’s Battletoads Reference Meant: Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is many things, and one of them is clearly a Nintendo kid from the 1980s. After his firing Thursday from the daily-deals company that he co-founded, he sent a jocular e-mail to his staff admitting that he had been fired, asking for recommendations for a “fat camp” so he could lose the “Groupon 40,” and most inscrutably (to some) comparing his dismissal to playing the videogame Battletoads: I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. This was, to put it lightly, an extremely specific metaphor. It probably has a lot of investors scratching their heads today. To those of us about Mason’s age who played the same videogames he did, it makes total sense. More here.
The top 10 startup founder blogs every entrepreneur should follow: here’s no shortage of entrepreneurship blogs on the web but a startup founder’s blog that is updated more than twice a year is a rare commodity. Not only is this collection of blogs a great resource for budding entrepreneurs, it provides you with an intimate glimpse of the ins and outs of building a company from scratch. Here are our picks on the top 10 startup founder blogs that every entrepreneur should follow. More here.
Project Glass: Google’s Transparent Product Strategy Is Great Marketing, Too: Google’s Project Glass deserves plaudits for innovation, not just for the device itself but also for the process by which Google is developing and marketing the product. Studying product strategy and marketing as a Forrester analyst for almost nine years, I have never seen a company do what Google is doing: launch an entirely new form factor in such a transparent, inclusive way. More here.
The Chromebook Pixel Is The Most Brilliant Laptop You’ll Never Buy:“Wait. That’s a touchscreen?!” That wasn’t the first thought that popped into my head when I started to use the Chromebook Pixel — it was about the tenth. But that’s only because it seemed impossible that a screen this nice could be a touchscreen. Of course, being that nice, comes with a price. I dove into using the Chromebook Pixel almost completely blind. During the unveiling, I saw some buzz about a new device Google had just unveiled, but I really had not read anything about it when I received one that afternoon from the company. I just figured: Oh, another Chromebook. Cool. (But not that cool.) More here.
Intercontinental mind-meld unites two rats: But critics are sceptical about predicted organic computer.The brains of two rats on different continents have been made to act in tandem. When the first, in Brazil, uses its whiskers to choose between two stimuli, an implant records its brain activity and signals to a similar device in the brain of a rat in the United States. The US rat then usually makes the same choice on the same task. Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says that this system allows one rat to use the senses of another, incorporating information from its far-away partner into its own representation of the world. “It’s not telepathy. It’s not the Borg,” he says. “But we created a new central nervous system made of two brains.” More here.
Billions and Billions (Maybe) to Unravel Mysteries of the Brain: The era of Big Neuroscience has arrived. In late January, The Human Brain Project—an attempt to create a computer simulation of the brain at every scale from the nano nano to the macro biotic—announced that it had successfully arranged a billion Euro funding package for a 10-year run. And then on Feb. 18, an article in The New York Times took the wraps off a plan to spend perhaps billions of dollars for an effort to record large collections of brain cells and figure out what exactly they are doing. Is this the Large Hadron Collider vs. the Superconducting Supercollider redux? More here.
Lackluster Budget Leaves Indian Scientists Little to Cheer: Indian scientists face major belt-tightening in the coming year. On 28 February, the Indian government sent to Parliament for approval a $12 billion budget for science and technology in 2013, ending several years of substantial increases for S&T. The flat budget, reflecting the government’s desire to reduce an almost $85 billion deficit, will equate to spending reductions with inflation running at about 5%. “Subcritical funding of science may not help the country in the long run,” says physicist Krishan Lal, president of the Indian National Science Academy here. More here.
14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends: Spencer Rascoff is only 37. Yet, the Harvard grad and father of three has already accomplished so much. He co-founded Hotwire.com and served as a VP for Expedia; he held the roles of CFO, vice president of marketing and COO at Zillow; and in 2008, Rascoff was promoted to chief executive of the popular real estate information site. Wondering how the Zillow CEO has achieved and maintained his success? His weekend routine has something to do with it. More here.
Build a Homemade Cell Phone Jammer: After a deep search for quality instructions about how to make a cell phone jammer, I finally found what I was looking for in a blog post from the manufacturing team of Jammer Store Inc. After reading it, I used my new knowledge and managed to build my own mobile phone jammer. Have a look at it and maybe you will build your own too. More here.
Time-Management Apps: Like most people, I struggle with time management. Among other bad habits, I stay up too late at night and take too many coffee breaks during the day. I’ve tried time-management apps in the past, but most of them focus on how many hours you spend on websites or work-related projects. Now, there’s a new breed of apps that takes a more holistic view of how you spend your days and nights, both online and off. I tested two of them, Lift and Chronos, to see if they could help me use my time more wisely. More here.
Getting Crafty: Why Coders Should Try Quilting and Origami: Printmaking, origami, and bookbinding sound like activities on the day’s arts-and-crafts agenda at camp, not a developer conference. That is, unless you’re Heroku, the Salesforce-owned app platform, which pointedly included crafting demonstrations at its recent Waza 2013 conference in San Francisco yesterday. While the crafts made the event fun and provided respite from lengthy workshop lectures, they were more than a diversion. They also represented Heroku’s sense of itself as a people-focused shop that crafts artisanal code: software where art and science come together. More here.
Salt Sugar Fat: From a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back. More here.
The Economist has introduced a new Gushing Index,a new statistical tool for measuring how actors speak. WHEN Daniel Day-Lewis became the first person to win the Oscar for best actor three times, for his performance in “Lincoln”, he gave an atypically witty, humble speech. Looking back at previous acceptance speeches for best leading actor and actress, The Economist has devised a “gushing index”—which expresses the share of words such as beautiful, dream and love in Oscar acceptance speeches as a share of the whole text. Take a look here.
Picasso seeing a seven as an upside down nose? Right brain warriors in the new age will be the coveted candidates ordained to lead and guide us; lifting the torch to light the way forward into a new beautiful world. Read more here.