Twitter Killed RSS. Period.

There, we said it. Marco Arment wrote an article today, explaining how the majority of folks ended up using RSS the wrong way – he says the way it must have been used, was to get updates from infrequently updated sites. Turns out, this is just another way of saying ‘If the news is important, it will reach me. For things that I find interesting but not many others might, I will subscribe to their RSS feed’.

While we agree that this is the current state of affairs, it is important to remember that this reduced role for RSS is new. This was not the case in the pre-twitter (should we say non real-time?) days. RSS was simple but magical: you saw something that you wanted to ‘follow’ or ‘keep track of’ – you looked for that orange button and clicked on it. You could be sure that you wouldn’t ‘miss’ any updates, and you did not have to bookmark a ton of things. Really Simple Subscription.

Then one fine day in 2006, Jack Dorsey sent out this: “”just setting up my twttr” to a group of ‘followers’. It took some time for Twitter to get positioned as the pillar of the real-time revolution, but when it did, it did it right. So right, that the term ‘breaking news’ is now synonymous with ‘Twitter’. But it had an interesting side-effect – the kind of asynchronous ‘Follower’ model was a neat replacement for things like Email updates and RSS, because in essence, that is exactly what they were: an asynchronous way to follow interesting things.

In the new world, Marco’s argument: “Without RSS readers, the long tail would be cut off. The rich would get richer: only the big-name sites get regular readership without RSS, so the smaller sites would only get scraps of occasional Twitter links from the few people who remember to check them regularly, and that number would dwindle.” – sounds like an effort to save a dying technology by citing a solid use case for its existence. However, we think that the use case is weak, because the twitter crowd is going to say “oh the whole long tail thing? it’s just a hashtag” and then the Twitter API will take care of the rest.

Twitter Killed RSS. Period.

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Making The iPhone Before The iPad

Steve Jobs had mentioned in an AllThingsD interview that Apple had started working on the iPad first. Then they decided to make a phone based on the same technology.

Just curious, based on the variables during that time, why would they have decided to work on the iPhone first?
Better still – why did they not work on both at the same time?

LinkedIn CEO recently pointed out that this could have been due to focus – but could there be other reasons?

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Tapping The Oil Reserve

From The Washington Post:

President Gerald Ford signed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in 1975 to establish an oil reserve of up to 1 billion barrels in vast salt caverns near the Gulf Coast. The act did not set a “trigger” for tapping reserves but left the president to determine whether a drawdown would be required by “a severe energy supply interruption” or by U.S. obligations as part of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“The legislation defines a “severe energy supply interruption” as one which 1) “is, or is likely to be, of significant scope and duration, and of an emergency nature”; 2) “may cause major adverse impact on national safety or the national economy” (including a spike in oil prices); and 3) “results, or is likely to result, from an interruption in the supply of imported petroleum products, or from sabotage or an act of God.”

Many economists and policy makers caution against using the reserve simply to lower prices.”

Definition of Retrospective Distortion:

Retrospective Distortion. This is the problem of explaining or relating or accounting for, “. . . or examining past events without adjusting for the forward passage of time.” (p. 310) This gives rise to the mistaken belief that these events were predictable at the time, This is an illusion, and is closely related to the narrative fallacy since it reflects our need to make sense of sequences of events after the fact.

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