An update on Adobe Marketing Cloud

My January post, “The State of the Digital Analytics in 2015,” is far and away my most-read this year. In my research for that piece, I did a fair amount of financial analysis tracing Adobe’s steady rise as the juggernaut of “MarTech” over the last five years. I hadn’t updated my numbers in a couple of quarters, so I was interested to see how my predictions had panned out. Turns out – pretty well!

Click for a link to the full spreadsheet.

You can see the full breakdown here, along with my predictions for Adobe’s Q4 2015 results.

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Elon Musk is wrong: we aren’t going to colonize Mars


The-MartianI’m going to write something shocking here, and I want to prepare you for it first. Remember that this comes from a total sci-fi geek; I have, at various times in my life, owned not only a toy phaser, but a tricorder and communicator to boot. I have seen every episode of Star Trek ever made (yes, really). I can have an informed discussion about the relative merits of visions of the future embodied by the Foundation series, the Culture, or the Hegemony of Man. I love this stuff.

Yet any way I approach it, the conclusion seems inevitable: manned spaceflight is mostly a waste of resources, and we should stop doing it.

Between NASA’s announcement of water on Mars, the release of The Martian (awesome movie, go check it out!) and Elon Musk’s incessant demands that we go nuke and colonize that same poor, undeserving planet, we’re experiencing a newfound fever pitch of exuberance about space exploration these days. That’s awesome – go exploration! Go science! Yet so many people rush right past the “exploration” part of that in their hurry to get to “so when can I board a shuttle to Europa?” that I decided a reality check was in order.

In short: exploration is great, and we should do more of it. But sending humans into space is, for the most part, a huge waste of resources done for all the wrong reasons. Here’s why.

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Let’s have less #VCtwitter

After tech journalists, it seems like the most prolific group of people on tech twitter, by far, are venture capitalists. The first group literally tweets for a living; the second does so as a performance objective. Recently, I’ve begun following fewer of the latter.

Venture capitalists have played so central role in the creation myth* of Silicon Valley and the American tech industry that it hardly needs mentioning. Just the title itself has become a mark of distinction, if not high fashion – indeed, investing in fledgling tech startups has become the newest celebrity trend. (You know we’ve hit “peak VC” when Justin Bieber becomes one.) “Being a VC” has gradually become like wearing an Apple Watch.

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Micropayments probably won’t save small publishers

The online publishing world is currently grappling with (and/or panicking about) the rise of widespread ad-blocking. Ad-blocking software is deeply problematic, because at its core, it’s essentially a classic shakedown scheme: offer your services to readers by vilifying advertisers and hyping paranoia about “tracking” and “malware,” and then turn around and charge advertisers to “whitelist” ads that they find acceptable.

It’s hard to fault readers for not wanting to see ads that are, at a minimum, annoying, and can quickly eat up mobile bandwidth (as beautifully illustrated today by this NYT feature). On the other hand, publishers need a business model to create content people like. Ad blockers have various forms of rebuttals to this argument, most of which amount to shrugging and saying that isn’t their problem.

One alternative that you see often proposed has to do with direct reader micropayments. “Let me pay directly for content,” the argument goes, “so you don’t have to rely on ads for your site!” This is certainly an interesting idea — indeed, it’s one that has been debated, experimented with, and ultimately rejected for a long time. I have one such experience that, I hope, might prove illustrative.

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