No, no, no!

For the past several years, I’ve led a graduate-level studying the early history of Internet policy in the United States. It runs just seven weeks — the truth is, there’s not that much actual legislation to review. We spend a lot of the course focused on Internet business models, which, as I hope this post will illuminate, are not well understood even amongst Ivy-league grads. But this past week, one topic leapt from my syllabus onto the front pages of every major news outlet: . …


Didn’t see that coming….

Never in my five-plus decades has a year been so eagerly anticipated, which makes this business of prediction particularly daunting. I’m generally inclined to be optimistic, but rose-colored glasses stretch time. Good things always take longer to emerge than any of us would wish. Over 18 years of doing this I’ve learned that it’s best to not predict what I wish would happen, instead, it’s wise to go with what feels most likely in the worlds I find fascinating (for me, that’s media, technology, and business, with a dash of politics given my last two years…


From the Department of Didn’t See THAT Coming…

Yes, it’s true: Last year, I did not predict a global pandemic in 2020. COVID is a gravitational force that warps everything it touches, so I approach this annual ritual of self-grading with trepidation. As I start, I honestly don’t remember what I predicted twelve months ago…but regardless, I’m expecting a train wreck. I’ll read each one in turn, repeat the headline prediction, and then free associate some thoughts on what actually transpired. Grab a glass of your favorite beverage…and here we go:

  1. Facebook bans microtargeting on specific kinds of political advertising. OK, Facebook did NOT do this — well…


Hey, Medium folk. Sorry I’ve been gone for a while.

Earlier this week I published a post , and I hope to start writing more regularly in the new year. Going forward, I’ll cross post here as well. Below is this week’s missive. Hope you find it worthwhile.

An idea has been tugging at me for months now, one I’ve spent countless hours discussing and debating with leaders in marketing, media, and journalism. And as I often do, I’m turning to writing to see if I can push it into more concrete form. I’m literally thinking out…


(Second of a series. The first post reviews the have played in its demise.)

***

Hi, folks on Medium. It’s been a minute. I’m sorry for that, long story. I plan on writing more overall, and I thought given we had built something of a connection a couple years ago, I’d start cross posting here. Hope you’re all good and enjoying the Medium vibe.

In my first post of this series, I laid out a fundamental problem with how digital media works today. Large digital platforms like Facebook and Google…


(This story is cross posted from my site)

As the coronavirus crisis built to pandemic levels in early March, a relatively unknown tech company confronted a defining opportunity. , a fast-growing enterprise videoconferencing platform with roots in both Silicon Valley and China, had already seen its market cap grow from under $10 billion to nearly double that. As the coronavirus began dominating news reports in the western press, Zoom as a public company. The company logged $622.7 million in revenue, up 88 percent from the year before. Zoom’s high growth…


A new year brings another run at my annual predictions: For 17 years now, I’ve taken a few hours to imagine what might happen over the course of the coming twelve months. And my goodness did I — and I pretty much . Batting .300 is great in the majors, but it kind of sucks compared to my historical average. My mistake was predicting events that I wished would happen. In other words, emotions got in the way. …


This past year, I predicted the fall of both Zuck and Trump, not to mention the triumph of cannabis (and rationale markets). But in 2019, the sociopaths won — bigly.

Damn, was I wrong.

One year ago this week, I sat down to write my . And before I was even halfway through, I’d already listed and then summarily dismissed the two most significant American sociopaths of our generation.

Despite my glancing protestations (#2 and #4, below), Mark Zuckerberg and Donald Trump did not go gently into the good…


Why politics, why now.

Last week an email hit my inbox with a simple and powerful sentiment. “I miss your writing,” it said. The person who sent it was a longtime reader of my work.

I miss writing too. But there’s a reason I’ve been quiet here and on other platforms — I wrote a about that earlier this summer. To summarize, last year I decided to take the leap, for the seventh time, and start a company with my dear friend and frequent co-conspirator John Heilemann. John and I have worked on projects for the better part of three decades, but we’d never started a company together. Now we have: is an entirely new approach to video about politics. …


More than a few of you have been wondering why I’ve been so quiet here these past few months, and today I can finally reveal at least part of what’s kept me so busy. Today we’re announcing a public beta product from the company I’ve been building with my longtime friend and collaborator and many other talented folks. We’re starting with an email newsletter featuring a new approach to video journalism covering political news. I’ll have more to say soon, but for now, for our first product, The Recount. I hope you’ll share with friends — and let me know what you think. More soon, I promise, and thanks for reading. (CNN coverage )

John Battelle

A Founder of The Recount, NewCo, Federated Media, sovrn Holdings, Web 2 Summit, Wired, Industry Standard; writer on Media, Technology, Culture, Business

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