HQ-2 Miss Congeniality

All cities on the shortlist likely possess many of the key attributes Amazon seeks. (Translation: “Key attributes” means “financial incentives.”)

Conference Board research suggests Boston and Washington, D.C. metro areas are the “most likely candidates” to win Amazon’s proposed second headquarters (HQ2).

They based their prediction on “real-time labor demand and advertised online job vacancies among the 20 cities vying to land.”

Quote from MassLive.com:

Communities on the 20-city shortlist that ultimately do not win the $5 billion economic-development prize can still market themselves as tech-friendly cities, The Conference Board report states.

“All cities on the shortlist likely possess many of the key attributes Amazon seeks,” the report concludes. “Win or lose, they are able to promote and advertise themselves as a good location for start-ups and technology companies looking to expand or relocate.”

Also called, “the participation award.”

My prediction is Northern Virginia.

I don’t predict Nashville.

However, I do think Nashville is a good location for start-ups and technology companies looking to expand or relocate. (See quotation #2.)

It’s a Big World, Afterall: Earth View from Google (Chrome, Firefox Extention)

Earthview from Google browser extension has an option that displays a new location everytime you open a new tab.

Via Lifehacker | Visit New Places Every Day in Your Browser with This Google Earth Extension.

“Not every Chrome or Firefox extension you use has to be one-hundred-percent dedicated to productivity or utility. Sometimes, it’s just nice to look at something pretty. And in the case of Earth View from Google Earth (Chrome, Firefox), I don’t really care if it eats up my browser’s memory or otherwise impacts its performance in any way. It makes me happy, and it’ll make you happy too—exactly why this is our Extension of the Week.”

National Geographic’s Most Significant Redesign in Two Decades

The new look aims to broaden the content mix and provide even more real estate for visual storytelling.

Quote | via Folio:

National Geographic’s May issue (on newsstands April 24) will mark the unveiling of its most significant redesign in nearly two decades, increasing the quality of its paper stock, introducing a brand new front-of-book section, and creating even more room for the photography and visual storytelling that have long made up the brand’s DNA. Far from being born out of a desperate desire to survive in print—newsstand sales are actually up 16 percent this year, bucking industry trends—creative director Emmet Smith prefers to view the changes as a “proper evolution,” rather than a full-scale redesign.

More | Foliomag.com, National Geographic Unveils Redesigned Print Edition

Tale of Two First-time Senate Testimonies (and One More)

Testifying before a congressional committee for the first time.

Today (April 10, 2018), Mark Zuckerberg testified before a Senate committee for the first time. “His performance will be critical to the company’s future,” writes Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times

Twenty years ago last month — on March 3, 1988 — Bill Gates made a similar first-time appearance before a Senate committee, described by the Times’ Steve Lohr as “a spirited defense of his company’s business practices…and portrayed Microsoft as the standard bearer of the nation’s high-technology economy.”

Unlike Zuckerberg, Gates, who was 42 at the time, left any corporate remorse in Seattle.

If you can recall that era, it was during the time when Microsoft was defending itself against an antitrust suit by the Justice Department and a rising chorus of criticism that it was abusing its considerable power in the marketplace.

Quote from Gates to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

“Will the United States continue its breathtaking technological advances? I believe the answer is yes — if innovation is not restricted by the government.”

Compare that quote to Zuckerberg: “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry.” Zuckerberg said. But pressed on whether Facebook should be regulated more, Zuckerberg said only the “right regulations.”

A lot has changed since March 3, 1998.

For one thing, Gates became a full-time philanthropist and seems to have become a more likable guy. And the specific sins of Microsoft that brought about that hearing — and a later settlement — seem less important considering that Microsoft wasn’t a very good creator of browser software.

But history doesn’t seem to recall all the startups Microsoft killed on its journey to becoming, well, Microsoft. Those companies could have taken us in all different kinds of journeys. Or who knows?

Zuckerberg says that regulations will be okay as long as they are the right regulations.

That’s sort of what Gates said, but without that part about regulations being okay.

And how about this for an absolutely irrelevant sidebar

It’s easy for me to recall the day Gates first testified before a congressional committee. That’s because it was my first time to testify before a congressional committee, also. And it was the same day in the same building. And yes, I wanted to leave the hearing I was in to go see the hearing that was getting the same kind of coverage Zuckerberg is getting today. There was no line waiting to get in our hearing room.

I testified before the Senate Banking Committee. (See photo below.)

I was speaking as a small business owner who couldn’t understand why a small business couldn’t earn interest on money in a checking account. At the time, banks could pay interest on individual checking accounts, but not on a business checking account.

I don’t think Bill Gates had ever heard of my issue. Frankly, not too many small business owners had either.

I’m holding that stack of papers — nice touch, huh? — to show that it was easy to “sweep” money back and forth from checking and business accounts, but the accompanying mailing and paperwork was ridiculous.

I don’t recall exactly how that issue was ever resolved but I think it had something to do with Microsoft software.

March 3, 1998, Senate Banking Committee