How One Data Point Increased Conversion 1,000%

John O’Nolan, for Fizzle:

“That can’t be right…,” I muttered. +1,000% conversion? How could that possibly be right? A 4-digit increase?

I checked and re-checked the data; but there were no mistakes. Having read countless books and blog posts, I’d heard about the paradigm from other startup case-studies. This was the first time I was seeing it in person.

A unicorn!

I’ll admit I’ve never run into similarly sized unicorns in my own experience or with my own clients. But the takeaways from the article were quite familiar. Good read.


How an eBay bookseller Defeated a Publishing Giant at the Supreme Court

Great piece by Doug Kari for Ars Technica:

Sometimes all it takes to alter the course of history is one pissed-off person. Supap Kirtsaeng wasn’t a crusader or lone nut; he was just an eBay trader who got backed into a legal corner and refused to give up.

To help pay for grad school at USC, he sold textbooks online—legitimate copies that he’d purchased overseas. But academic publishing behemoth John Wiley & Sons sued Supap, claiming that his trade in Wiley’s foreign-market textbooks constituted copyright infringement.

The implications were enormous. If publishers had the right to control resale of books that they printed and sold overseas, then it stood to reason that manufacturers could restrain trade in countless products—especially tech goods, most of which are made in Asia and contain copyrightable elements such as embedded software.

Intent on setting a precedent, Wiley slammed Supap with a $600,000 jury verdict and all but buried him on appeal. But the grad student hung tough, arguing that as lawful owner of the books he had the right to resell them. Eventually he convinced the US Supreme Court to grant review.

Once Supap’s struggle hit the spotlight, powerful supporters such as eBay, Public Knowledge, Costco, and Goodwill Industries joined the fray. But the forces pitted against Supap were arguably more powerful: the movie and music industries, publishers of books and software, and even the US Solicitor General.

Defying the odds, Supap won, and the case that bears his name has become a landmark. But as the saying goes, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”


Serge Moscovici

Le Monde:

Philosophe des sciences, anthropologue, théoricien majeur de l’écologie, puis éminent spécialiste de psychologie sociale, Serge Moscovici professait le nomadisme comme une nécessité de la recherche. Il s’est éteint dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche après une existence qui fut elle-même tout sauf sédentaire.

If your work involves convincing people in any meaningful way, you’ve had first-hand encounters with Moscovici’s work on the influence of active minorities. RIP.


The $9 Billion Witness

Matt Taibbi:

It goes without saying that the ordinary citizen who is the target of a government investigation cannot simply pick up the phone, call up the prosecutor in charge of his case and have a legal proceeding canceled. But Dimon did just that. “And he didn’t just call the prosecutor, he called the prosecutor’s boss,” Fleischmann says.

That’s deep capture


Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Glucose Intolerance

New Scientist summarizing the Nature paper:

“The most shocking result is that the use of sweeteners aimed at preventing diabetes might actually be contributing to and possibly driving the epidemic that it aims to prevent,” says Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who co-supervised the work with his colleague Eran Segal.



A Watch Guy’s Thoughts on the Apple Watch After Seeing It in the Metal

A well rounded piece on the new Apple Watch by Benjamin Clymer:

Though I do not believe it poses any threat to haute horology manufactures, I do think the Apple Watch will be a big problem for low-priced quartz watches, and even some entry-level mechanical watches. In years to come, it could pose a larger threat to higher end brands, too. The reason? Apple got more details right on their watch than the vast majority of Swiss and Asian brands do with similarly priced watches, and those details add up to a really impressive piece of design. It offers so much more functionality than other digitals it’s almost embarrassing. But it’s not perfect, by any means. Read on to hear my thoughts on the Apple Watch, from the perspective of a watch guy.

I caught myself nodding in agreement while reading this sub-headline:

Market Leader In A Category No One Really Asked For

The Apple Watch is absolutely the best smart watch on the planet. That much I’m sure of. But are we sure that wearable technology is something we really want? In the same way those who publicly wore blue-tooth headsets five years ago and those who wore Google Glass one year ago, will smart watches ever become a thing that people genuinely want? If anyone can make it happen, it’s Apple. It’s going to take a lot of time, and a lot of test cases when this thing launches next year.

I’m skeptical that it will.

Even after having seen the video presentation and reading bits and pieces on the thing across tech news sites, I’m still at a loss as to what it’s supposed to be doing that shouldn’t have been taken care of by your phone to begin with.

If you need to recharge the device every day or so, I can’t imagine you’ll want to be carting it on you once the cool factor wears out. No, keep your Moto 360 yardstick to yourself. You can keep a self-winding mechanical watch on your wrist for much about as long as you want.

That is not to say there’s no room for a smart wearable, of course. The heart beat sensor assuredly looked neat. As did the “taptic” related stuff for notifications and map directions.

I’m a lot more skeptical about the rest, be it the tiny screen, Siri, Apple Pay or other. The wearable could, in my opinion, just as well have been a wristband that would have needed to be paired to an iDevice.


This Monkey Took a Selfie. Who Owns the Copyright?


Slater had traveled to Indonesia to do a wildlife shoot. While he was there, he left one of his cameras unattended, and a crested black macaque monkey began playing with it. She took dozens of photos, most of which were blurry shots of the ground or the sky. But the photos included this crystal-clear selfie.

Slater says he owns the copyright to the photograph and asked Wikimedia to take it down. In its first-ever transparency report, the Wikimedia Foundation says it refused because it doesn’t believe Slater owns the copyright.

Wikimedia has an interesting point…


Europe’s Top Court: People Have Right to Be Forgotten on Internet


People can ask Google to delete sensitive information from its Internet search results, Europe’s top court said on Tuesday.

The European Court of Justice is as high as courts get in the EU — bar a handful of issues where constitutionality may be involved (in which case things may get stalled for ages), its rulings supersede top national courts on topics wherever it’s competent. The big question now is whether US privacy advocates will manage to pressure Google into deploying the same type of functionality on the other side of the pond.


The Logic of Buddhist Philosophy

Graham Priest writing for aeon:

When Western philosophers look East, they find things they do not understand – not least the fact that the Asian traditions seem to accept, and even endorse, contradictions. Thus we find the great second-century Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna saying:

The nature of things is to have no nature; it is their non-nature that is their nature. For they have only one nature: no-nature.

An abhorrence of contradiction has been high orthodoxy in the West for more than 2,000 years. Statements such as Nagarjuna’s are therefore wont to produce looks of blank incomprehension, or worse.


The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win

Alan Levinovitz writing for Wired:

Good opens the article by suggesting that Go is inherently superior to all other strategy games, an opinion shared by pretty much every Go player I’ve met. “There is chess in the western world, but Go is incomparably more subtle and intellectual,” says South Korean Lee Sedol, perhaps the greatest living Go player and one of a handful who make over seven figures a year in prize money.

Incomparably more subtle and intellectual sounds just about right.

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