The Future = Now x Acceleration

How to Turn $250,000 into $25,000

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How much value did the dot-com crash in 2001 obliterate from the market? A lot.

In graduate school we were given an assignment in Economic Reporting class to take $1 million, divide it up among the members of our group and invest it in the stock market, following the value of our portfolio every day for a month to track how the variations in the market affected its value.

It was spring of 2001 and technology and tech stocks were still the rage. Little did we know that the dot-com bubble had burst and thousands of dot-coms would disappear. Angel investing would dry up and Silicon Valley would “get real. Unfortunately for us, that trend took hold two weeks after we invested our (thankfully) imaginary $1 million.

Since there were four in my group, I was responsible for investing $250,000. I put my capitalization into a handful of what I thought were sure-fire winners. Behold below, a snapshot of my portfolio from this week:

Imaginary portfolio of tech stocks.

Imaginary portfolio of tech stocks tracked on myYahoo.

This is why I am in higher education as a career. A is Agilent, a company founded by HP that makes biomedical devices. AMD is the CPU / GPU and chip maker that rivals Intel. CSCO is Cisco, the wired and wireless networking company. GLW is Corning, manufacturer of fiber-optic cable. IBM is Big Blue. RHT is Redhat, corporate Linux distributor and support company.

Brilliant, right? Wait. What are those red ticker symbols?

Those are companies that didn’t make it. COMS was 3Com – makers of computer modems and networking cards. Once computers incorporated them into their motherboards, there was no need for extra cards. KRI is Knight Ridder Corp. was the parent company of 32 tech-savvy metro newspapers including the San Jose Mercury-News. It’s now owned by McClatchy Newspapers. And PALM is the company that produced Palm Pilots. If you were one of the cool kids, you owned a Palm if you had a personal digital assistant (PDA). Palms were all the rage before Apple introduced the iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad, et. al.

The price listed above is per share. That translates into my market capitalization seen below.

This is what my portfolio is not worth. Not quite what I was hoping after 14 years.

This is what my portfolio is now worth. Not quite what I was hoping after 14 years.

This is an improvement. About 10 years ago, I checked and the value was well below $10,000. That’s when it bottomed out. The crash fell so far and so hard that the markets have been leery of tech stocks ever since. Even 12 years later, the Facebook IPO was a huge disappointment. Much of that is attributable to Mark Zuckerberg overvaluing the company to start with, but I digress.

A financial calculation called “The Rule of 72” states that given an average return of a certain percentage, that I should expect the value of my portfolio to double in a certain number of years. Given that “rule” my portfolio should have been worth $500,000 by 2008 and probably $750,000 by now – all other things being equal – given that the average rate of return in the stock market is about 10 percent over time.

So the Rule of 72 works, since I’ve more than doubled my bottoming-out valuation. But knowing what I started with illustrates just how much value was sucked out of the investment economy by the dot-com crash of 2000 – 2002.


Written by digitalanalogues

February 26, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Here’s How This Works…

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Reposted from Journalism 101.

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February 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

On Adoption of New Technologies

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Author Clay Shirky

Author Clay Shirky

Media theorist and technologist Clay Shirky states in his many works that the use of a new technology only gets interesting after the technology itself becomes “boring.”

Twitter_bird_logo_2012.svgRead that to mean ubiquitous. Often new tools are invented with a particular use in mind, but only become truly useful after its users begin to see the utility in it being used for purposes other than what they were originally intended. Look at Twitter. What was originally intended for short text blasts is now used to break news events and for audiences to give immediate feedback in real time to live television programs.

Even this trusty ‘Blog is doing duties it was not intended to perform. ‘Blogs were born out of people creating online diaries open for anyone to read. Soon after, coders created the ‘Blog platform software like WordPress and Blogger to make management of the online diaries automatic and easier for the blogger and the reader. Now, they have morphed into a powerful publishing platform. Simple blogs like mine are the norm, but blogging software is used to drive some of the worlds most robust online publications, including a large number of European newspapers and magazines.

While most of the members of the class reported being a late adopter — if not a laggard — that’s OK. The early adopters cast around and experiment with how a new technology can be used, but it’s only when the later adopters join the ranks of the users that a new technology gets interesting — and innovative.

Written by digitalanalogues

February 4, 2014 at 3:30 AM

The Internet (Arpanet) In 1977

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That’s the extent of the Arpanet in 1977.

In contrast, below are the 2013 statistics for this Blog. A bit more extensive than the original network. Enjoy!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 460 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 8 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Written by digitalanalogues

December 31, 2013 at 1:44 AM

Structurally Unsound, You Say?

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October 22, 2013 at 6:40 PM

First There Was The Web; Then Web 2.0

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Jacked In

Jacking in to Web 2.0

This week’s readings from Wired magazine in 2010 make assumptions that readers were around and paying attention when the Web was new and emerging. If you weren’t paying attention or were too young to care, then, some of the examples that the authors use may not resonate.

The differences between the Web then and the Web now, I think, make this apps versus Web argument somewhat moot. For example:

1990 – 2000 The World Wide Web bursts on the scene and becomes wildly popular. The Web page / site is seen as a new kind of publishing medium by those who look at it as text on the screen rather than the page. It is seen as a new broadcasting medium to those who come from those platforms. What made it unique and valuable were the things that made it the “convergence of media.” Including:

  1. Hypertext – Hyperlinks allowed, for the first time, a “reader” to experience a Website on their terms; in their order of choice; or to choose to “surf” back and forth between your site and other sites.
  2. Convergence – Pages could have multimedia (pictures, video, graphics, audio) woven in with the text to “enhance” the experience.
  3. Self Publishing – Anyone who learned basic HTML could publish worldwide for dirt cheap (or free).
  4. Worldwide Reach – Anyone who learned basic HTML could publish worldwide for dirt cheap (or free).
  5. Easy Instant Global Communication – Email, forums and newsgroups allowed you to instantly communicate (for free) to anyone or any group; and provide instant feedback.
iPhone 5

iPhone 5

All this was considered a game-changer by people who viewed the Web through the lens of traditional publishing or broadcast, but the paradigm was still thought of as one, publishing to many, with the bonus of instant feedback.

Web 2.0 Tag Cloud

Web 2.0 Tag Cloud

2000 – Present Welcome to Web 2.0. The Internet matures. We still have all five of those above points in favor of the Web. However, new, powerful software scripting languages and more powerful and flexible Web publishing and computer languages allow the creation of Websites that dynamically create Web pages as they are requested. Instead of publishing Web sites, now, there is the rise of the Web-based platform. Truly interactive, user created content are its hallmarks.

  1. Facebook (and MySpace) – Information and pictures you share about yourself to your “friends” and family.
  2. Weblogs (‘Blogs) – Personal publishing that allows interactive feedback. Subscriptions and following.
  3. Wikipedia – User-created knowledge pages.
  4. Twitter – Content solely created by users you follow. You create content to share with your “followers.”
  5. Pinterest – Vicariously looking at what your friends find interesting on the Web.

These are just a few examples of Web 2.0 tools, but if you look at the common thread, they all rely on personal sharing. You create the content of the pages for others to consume. These Websites are never the same; always dynamic, new and in flux. It’s what makes the Web exciting, fresh and compelling — still after 20 years.

Author Clay Shirky

Author Clay Shirky

Author Clay Shirky is going to make the case later on in the semester for how Web 2.0 not only has changed our experience of the Web, but how it has changed our experience of society and or expectations for collaboration, both online and off.

The fact that mobile apps allow us to be connected to those Web-based tools even when we are not “online” in the traditional browser sense, I think, enhances the experience; instead of replacing it.

The Wired article pits the Web against Apps. I think they enhance each other.

Written by digitalanalogues

June 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Focus Question for First Blog Post

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OK. It’s time to pose a question for you to respond to with you first ‘Blog posts. Now that you’ve had some time to consider the readings posted on Blackboard.


Photograph of Clay Shirky taken by Creative Commons chairman and MIT Media Laboratory director Joi Ito.

Clay Shirky’s chapters, It Takes A Village… and Sharing Anchors Community describes several events in which communities band together to make something happen. In this case, the things that make the banding together possible are the Internet and Internet-related tools, such as Flickr.

In the chapter called Communication Technologies, the authors look at some of the theoretical constructs used to describe people’s behavior in why they use the communication tools that they do.

For your ‘Blog post I want you to state which theory, (Uses and Gratifications; Media System Dependency; or Social Learning / Social Cognitive,) can be used to describe the motivations behind the people who participated in the group actions that Shirky talks about — the people who helped recover Ivanna’s cell phone and the people who contributed photos to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade on Flickr.

What theory or theories can you use to describe the motivations of those who participated in those group efforts? Use examples for the readings to back up your positions.

Write up your discussion and post it to your ‘Blog before the end of the day Friday. When you have it posted, send out a Tweet on Twitter announcing your post and summarizing your main points.

Then… over the weekend, take a look at the posts from your peers in the class. You can find their ‘Blogs from the Blogroll links on the right-hand side of my ‘Blog. As per the syllabus, comment on at least three postings from your peers. Support them, question them, take them to task (politely) and start a conversation.

I will do the same. As always, if you have questions, let me know. I’ll do my best to help you.

Written by digitalanalogues

June 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM