Archive for BUSINESS

Twitter Is Going Public. Here’s How It Makes Money.

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Posted Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, at 7:21 PM

Twitter is going public.

Twitter is going public.

Photo by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

As long anticipated, Twitter is going public. It almost goes without saying that the social network broke the news on Twitter. Its announcement came in five characters under the microblogging site’s 140-character cutoff:

The offering is expected to be the tech world’s largest since Facebook went public in May 2012. Analysts valued Twitter at $10 billion earlier this year, and it may be worth a little more than that today. But as my colleague Matt Yglesias points out, the fact that it is filing confidentially implies that its annual revenues have not yet reached $1 billion. Following the lead of Facebook and other Internet companies whose fortunes depend on an enormous user base, Twitter has been cautious about turning its service into a money-maker so far, with ads few and far between on the site. So how does it make money, and why might it be worth so much?

Like Facebook, Twitter makes its money primarily by selling ads, which gain a lot of their value from the advertiser’s ability to target specific groups of users. Twitter’s disadvantage relative to Facebook is scale: It has on the order of 200 million users, while Facebook has some 1.15 billion. But its advantage lies in timeliness and topicality. People check Facebook casually, when time allows. Twitter users tend to use Twitter quite actively, and in conjunction with specific events, like TV shows, rallies, concerts, and breaking news. So advertisers can craft ads tailored not only to a Twitter user’s general tastes and demographic profile, but to what that user is doing at the very moment they see the ad.

The fact that the company broke its own IPO news via Twitter—and saw the news retweeted by thousands of people within minutes—underscores the company’s growing role as a global source of breaking news and instant analysis. It is in some ways the CNN of the Internet—the key difference being that it costs CNN an awful lot of money to produce its content, whereas Twitter gets it all for free from users. A disproportionate share of those users are, in fact, paid journalists for other companies, including CNN. They use the platform enthusiastically, bordering on addictively, as a way to build their personal brands and draw readers to their own sites. The result is that Twitter today is valued at some $10 billion, more than five times as much as the New York Times*—and it has the potential to become more valuable still.

Equally important to its business prospects in the near term is Twitter’s role as a “second screen” that people check while watching TV. That gives advertisers a chance to play off of a program that it knows millions of people are watching, as Oreo did during this year’s Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Twitter has acquired two startups in the past year that analyze social-network activity related to TV programming, raising the possibility that Twitter could raise extra revenue by providing finely grained audience data to TV advertisers. And in May it launched a feature that lets TV advertisers target Twitter users who have just watched their commercials. That gives advertisers a clear path from showing a commercial on TV to getting potential customers onto their website—or, potentially, even selling them a product directly through Twitter.

Finally, Twitter is poised to be a big player in the fast-growing realm of mobile advertising. Just three days ago it splashed a reported $350 million to buy MoPub, the world’s largest mobile ad exchange, which allows advertisers to target users on their mobile devices. That might sound mundane, but in a blog post on Tuesday, former Facebooker Antonio Garcia argued that it actually makes Twitter “the most interesting company in advertising right now.” That’s quite an assertion, coming from the man who built Facebook’s own ad exchange. His full post is worth a read if you’re into this sort of thing, but in short, MoPub will give Twitter a platform through which to sell mobile ads that target users based on data that Twitter has collected from them on their desktop computers. That’s big, because the relatively sparse data available on users’ mobile phones has made such targeting difficult in the past.

In short, Twitter doesn’t make piles of money today, but it has the potential to become a much bigger player in the years to come, especially as people continue to do more of their social networking, news-reading, and shopping on their phones. For further background on the company’s evolution and prospects as a business, check out Joe Hagan’s comprehensive New York Magazine piece. It was written nearly two years ago, which translates to ages in Twitter years, but a lot of its predictions have been borne out in the time since.

*Correction, Sept. 12, 9:35 p.m.: This post originally stated that Twitter has been valued at about the same amount of money as the New York Times. Its valuation is more than five times the Times‘ market capitalization.

Web Design Trends for 2010

By: Jaqueline Thomas

With a new year on the horizon, it’s time to pack away the old, worn web designs and prepare for the brave, new face of tomorrow. Although trends don’t start and stop on January 1st, there is a definite shift from what we craved at the beginning of the year to what we are seeking tutorials for at the end of the year. Most of the time, this shift is subtle. It’s a perfection or re-interpretation of a currently hot trend. Trends help us evolve as designers. As we master the skills of design aesthetic, we continue to push forward to what’s next or what needs to be fully discovered.

Make no mistake about it, you will recognize the ideas behind these trends. Although this list isn’t a drastic departure from what was popular in 2009, it marks different trends that will be expanded upon and made better as a result. As you think of how you will incorporate new trends into your designs, focus on the main idea of each trend. Be encouraged to dabble into these trends so that you become part of the movement.

1. Oversized Logos/ Headers

Splash pages are so yesterday. To make an unforgettable impression on the visitor, the trend for 2010 will be oversized logos on an equally oversized header. These types of headers can take up the entire screen, but with one important note. Visitors will not need to click anything, just scroll down. Visitors often having a clicking phobia (due to years of poor navigation), so big headers do the job of a splash page without forcing your visitors to click anything.

Main Idea: Huge headers that make your visitors remember you.

2. Sketch/ Hand-drawn Design

Hand-drawn design is not exactly new on the horizon, but we all know that it is still on the fringes of web design. Many designers admire the style but are afraid to create their own sketches because of the “I can’t really draw” attitude. If you look at the most popular hand-drawn websites (and relative to other types of trends, there are only a few), you will notice that most of your fellow designers can’t draw. These designs are not exactly headed to an art museum, but they do convey a sense of whimsy, and blur the line between cold web and personal interaction– the ultimate goal of the internet. If you can doodle, you can sketch for web design.

Sketch in 2010 will become more elemental, and not as much the main focus of a web design. It will be used to personalize standard web copy in new and exciting ways.

Main Idea: Sketch becomes an elemental part of corporate design.

3. Slab Typefaces

Slab typefaces are relatively new, although they’ve been around for over 200 years in traditional media. To get a good visual definition of slab typefaces, think of the old Wild West “Wanted” posters. Those bold letters are slab typefaces. Slab typeface is commonly all capital letters and are bold and imposing. Many designers have shied away from slab typefaces in the past because logos and headers were smaller and more understated. However, combined with the trend toward larger headers, slab typefaces demand the reader to take notice.

Main Idea: Slab typefaces is used to bravely express who you are.

4. Typography

Typography is one of the most difficult trends to tackle which is why it will remain fresh in 2010. With all the cries for usability, web designers are afraid of using new and different fonts. The idea of mixing varying font sizes together is completely unthinkable. Fonts are meant to be explored, twisted, and molded to fit your purposes. With the correct placement, a website that utilizes Typography as its main design element will be more interesting to a reader than overloading the same site with tons of photos.

Main Idea: Typography is young, but will continue to be a part of web design.

5. One Page Layouts

One pay layouts challenge you to edit away what’s unnecessary. In 2010, this trend will move away from the quirky navigation and become more minimal in its approach. Think of these websites as business cards. These websites will be more of a one-stop-shop for how to locate you and your work on various other sites– your blog and your social media hangouts.

Main Idea: One page layouts will be more about personal profiles and less corporate.

6. Huge Images

A close relative to the oversized logo/ header, the huge image does much the same thing. It creates an visual impact that the visitor won’t soon forget. Unlike the oversized header from above, huge images are not part of the site’s branding. Instead, these images draw the visitor into your site, if not for their content then for their humongous size. In 2010, web designers will find themselves more comfortable using these big statements in their design to convey the site’s tone.

Main Idea: Huge images will be used to invite visitors in.

7. Change of Perspective

As we’ve discussed before, the desktop perspective has been done to death. 2010 will see a definite change in perspective to a more realistic view. There may also be a move toward side-shot aerial.

Main Idea: 2010 will play around with different perspectives.


8. Interactive/ Intuitive Design

Flash has seen better days. There was a time when you couldn’t visit a website without running into an annoying Flash interface. These days Flash is a lot more relaxed and much more professional. Although some designers prefer jQuery for forms and popups, Flash still has its place in design, especially when done subtly. Flash still has no equal to its interactivity. In 2010, web designers will move toward the more redeeming elements of Flash. Because the average visitor is more web savvy these days, designers will also create sites that are slightly more intuitive than in the past.

Main Idea: Interactive design will make a come-back.

9. Modal Boxes

Modal boxes are a trend that’s picking up steam and will be virtually everywhere in 2010. A modal box is like the popup’s more sophisticated older brother– it’s smooth, good looking and popular. Modal boxes are so easy to design and easy to use, making them the perfect solution for any designer concerned with usability.

Main Idea: Modal boxes will continue to pop up in 2010 designs.

10. Minimalism

Forget the old school minimal websites. Websites of 2010 will continue to feature lots of white space but with bold typology and surprising color schemes. Not all minimal websites will agree with the notion of black and white simplicity. Although minimalism is by nature muted, it will also showcase fresh colors. Minimalism isn’t cold, it’s warm and too the point.

Main Idea: Minimalism will venture into typology.

11. Oversized Footer

Oversized footers may be everywhere already, but 2010 will find them even more exaggerated. The footers of tomorrow will be less of an after-thought and more of an integral part of the design. Look for footers that feature contain random information, such as feed updates from various social media, daily polls, and Flickr feeds.

Main Idea: Oversized Footers will feature less important, but more personal information.


12. Retro

Retro designs are here to stay. Although a lot of the design community admires retro web design, it can be difficult to fully embrace this style without coming across “undone.” The key to retro designs is to be inspired by its tone and underlying playfulness. In 2010, retro design will be expanded as designers find new ways to honor vintage art.

Main Idea: Retro is new.

13. Intro Boxes

“Hi, my name is…” will find an even bigger stage in 2010 as designers recognize the beautiful simplicity of introducing yourself to your visitor. If you’re struggling with making a creative “About” page, the intro box will be your best bet. It forces you to condense who you are into a relatively small about of space. In 2010, intro boxes will push its own boundaries. Instead of the boring hello, designers will find new pick-up lines. And, instead of the left-flanked intro block, 2010 will see boxes in unusual placement, perhaps even in the middle of a page.

Main Idea: New ways to say “hello.”

14. Magazine Layouts

As more and more people migrate from the comforts of traditional press to online infotainment, designers are challenged to welcome them in with an easy transition. There is a move toward the magazine layout, where information is carefully organized on a single home page, giving the visitor an opportunity to explore as interested. The familiar layout will appeal to appeal to anyone who’s ever read a magazine or newspaper, but it will also be easier to use– no flipping pages! In 2010, magazine layout will become very huge for blogs in particular.

Main Idea: Magazine layouts will be used for infotainment sites.

About the Author

Go MediaJacqueline is an artist and a writer who spends an inordinate amount of time playing Super Nintendo and watching Star Trek. You can find out more about Jacqueline on her website, and follow her updates on Twitter.

Leading Innovation: 21 Things that Great Bosses Believe and Do

WORK MATTERS: Bob Sutton

21 Things that Great Bosses Believe and Do

1. Creativity means doing new things with old ideas.

2. Treat innovation as an import-export business.  Keep trying to bring in ideas from outside your group or organization, keep trying to show and tell others about your ideas, and blend them all together.

3. Look for and build “intersections” places where people with diverse ideas gather together. And when you go there, talk to the people you don’t know, who have ideas you know nothing about, and ideas you find weird, don’t like, or useless.

4.  Treat your beliefs as “strong opinions, weakly held.”

5. Learn how to listen, watch, and keep your mouth shut.

6.  Say “I don’t know” on a regular basis.

7.  Have the courage to act on what you know, and the humility to doubt your beliefs and actions.

8. Reward success and (intelligent) failure, but punish inaction.

9. Make it safe for people to take risky actions and “fail forward,” by developing a “forgive and remember culture.”

10. Encourage people to learn from others’ failures – it is faster, easier, and less painful.

11. Eliminate hiring and reward practices that reinforce cultures where “the best you can be is a perfect imitation of those who came before you.”

12. Hire people who make your squirm.

13. Create teams composed of both experts and novices.

14. Make it safe for people to fight as if they are right, and listen as if they wrong.

15. Encourage your people to be “happy worriers.”

16.  Sometimes, the best management is no management at all.  Know when and how to get out of the way.

17. Have the confidence and resolve to make tough decisions, stop your people from whining about the decisions made, and to get on with implementing them.

18. Kill a lot of ideas, including a lot of good ideas.

19.  Innovation entails creativity + implementation.  Developing or finding a great idea is useless if you can’t implement it or sell it to someone who believes they can.

20. Remember Rao’s Recipe for Innovation: Will +Ideas + Tools.

21. Innovation requires selling your ideas. The greatest innovators, from Edison to Jobs, are gifted at generating excitement and sales.  If you can’t or won’t sell, team-up with someone who can.

Top 10 Cities for Young Business People

(via UNDER-30 CEO and @flipbooks on Twitter)

10. Jacksonville

A surprise finalist on the Under30CEO Cities for Young Business People, Jacksonville with no state income tax catapulted itself into the top 10. A relatively cheap cost of living compared to others on the list, your money goes far in Jacksonville.  This isn’t the Florida that you grandparents live in–average age of JAX is 35.  Warm weather, beaches, what’s not to like?

9. Phoenix

You may have overlooked the fact that Phoenix is the 5th most populated city in the country or that Phoenix’s Arizona State University enrolls 90,000+ students.  Phoenix has a beautiful backdrop and represents all four major sports with professional teams.  Go shopping for your dream home at discounted prices as have dropped more than anywhere in the country.

8. Denver

An extremely active outdoor scene, whitewater kayaking within city limits, epic skiing a short drive, Denver is not only great for outdoor sports, but also a great spectator sport city.  Coors Field spills out into the bar scene in the middle of bustling LoDo.  “The Wall Street of the West” operations include Charles Schwab, Janus Capital, Oppenheimer Funds, and Western Union.

7. San Francisco

SF has an enormous entrepreneur scene, laid back California culture, and tons to see and do.  Entrepreneur meetups, Stanford and Berkeley nearby the Bay Area has plenty of hungry business people.  Don’t expect sunny California weather throughout the city–micro climates can be a 20*F difference on opposite sides of the city.

6. Portland, OR

Often overlooked in the Pacific Northwest, Portland boasts fantastic preservation of open spaces.  Dry summers and temperate winters “The City of Roses” is a great place to start a business or meet your match.  Come to Portland for the outdoors or the art/music scene.

5. Seattle

If you like Rock and Roll forget Cleveland, Seattle is the birthplace of Jimi and grunge.  If you like studying the rapid expansion of coffee shops–Starbucks and Seattle’s Best have set the pace.  Seattle’s is extremely wet; home of the Puget Sound, Seahawks and Mariners.  If it wasn’t for the rain and earthquakes, Seattle would rank even higher.

4. Austin

Rising on the scene, Austin is not your typical Texas city.  With something for everyone, Austin’s nightlife will accommodate University of Texas students, young professionals and the upscale crowd.  Austin’s resistance to commercialization gives it the adopted slogan “Keep Austin Weird”.

3. New York

Want to conquer the world? Move to New York.  It’s price tag kept it out of the #1 slot, but New York has so much to offer.  By sheer size, things to do, people to meet and opportunities to seize New York is BIG.  You can’t walk down the street in NY without hearing another language, meeting someone from out of town or seeing something bizarre.  Take it piece by piece and think of your neighborhood as a city of its own.

2. Chicago

Cold as hell in the winter, but fun as hell in the summer.  Where else in the world can you lay on the beach and look up at skyscrapers?  Michigan Ave has impressive parks, shopping, restaurants and views of Lake Michigan.  Go out Saturday mornings for beach volleyball, a run or bike on the boardwalk or just stay in bed hungover from your night out in Wrigelyville.

1. Boston

New England charm, 20+ higher learning institutions, fantastic history and plenty of neighborhood bars, Boston tops our list of Top 10 Cities for Young Business People.  Less expensive than their rival New York, walk anywhere in the city without worry, there will be students and young professionals all over.  When it’s sunny in Boston everyone is outside, pretending they were on Cape Cod.  Hate them or love them, the Sox, Pats and Celtics make Boston a huge sports town.