Blog about silicon valley, seo, search engines, etc. andreas.com

This means Google is a 20-year old one-trick pony that makes all of its money on one thing (ads) and despite investing more than $400B in R&D, it has no idea how to make more money. Google pretends to be a Silicon Valley high-tech company that works in AI, biotech, etc., but really, it’s an ad distribution network (ADN). It’s not even an ad agency: it doesn’t manage or create ads for clients. It just distributes ads. There’s nothing unique or proprietary about that; there are hundreds of ADNs. Google just happens to be the biggest one… for now.

What are those thirteen Google divisions? GV (VC). capitalG (investments). verily (healthcare). Access (fiber, but that’s dead now). Calico (biotech, lifespan). Jigsaw (tech + geopolitics…


hmm, Google’s military wing?). chronicle (cybersecurity). Sidewalk Labs (urban innovation). Deepmind (AI). Waymo (autonomous cars). Loon (Internet balloons). Wing (drones). X (the secret lab to make more divisions).

I switched to WordPress because everyone was using it and I wanted to learn how to use it. But I got tired of the endless hacking and dozens, if not hundreds, of daily spam comments. WordPress has lousy security and it’s very hackable (there were over 5,000 spammer pages on my server). You spend lots of money on security upgrades, security tools, and constantly upgrading to stay ahead of spammers and hackers. WordPress is good for companies that want low-level staffers to add text to a page, but to make significant changes to the website, you need to hire a WordPress developer.

In 2016, Google began to notify that it will give priority to mobile-first websites. If Laura is using her mobile phone to search in Google, then Google will show mobile-friendly websites at the top of the list. By 2018, 70-80% of searches at Google are done on mobile phones. In early 2018, Google said, "okay, that’s it, if you want your site to show up in mobile searches, your site must be mobile-friendly". Sites must also be HTTPS (S for secure). If not, you don’t show up in Google search results.

So I ripped out WordPress and went back to HTML. My website is now HTML5, mobile-first, responsive design (it resizes automatically to fit any screen), and secure with HTTPS. I wrote a light template that works on all devices and the code is easy to maintain by hand. What you see is a hand-written, artisanal, free-range, organic, carbon-neutral website where I write all code by hand. That’s right: I’m blogging by hand. No more CMS. (To be even lah-de-dah, our electricity in Palo Alto is renewable energy, created by Palo Alto‘s own solar panel farm. Let’s see if Gwyneth Paltrow can top that!)

• The watch face can’t be configured. It’d be easy for Samsung to add this; but they don’t. You can use dozens of apps at app stores to configure your watch face; but I strongly recommend that you avoid apps unless they are a) absolutely necessary and b) come from known companies. There is too much spammer / tracking / spyware / virus on free apps.

• My mechanical watch (Citizen diver’s watch in a titanium case) has lasted fifteen years so far and will likely last 50 years. Any good watch; such as Rolex; Citizen; Breitling; Tag Heuer; Seiko; etc. will last 50 years. But we all know digital devices rarely last longer than three years: either they stop working; the battery dies; or they become obsolete. If you spend $300 every three years; why not just pay $1,000 and get a watch that will last decades?

This is also why FB/Google/etc. are more successful than any newspaper or magazine. No newspaper could possibly create 250,000 personalized versions of their newspaper to reach every reader. Web-based ad-driven companies can easily do that. There is not "one Amazon"; Amazon has 310m customers; every customer gets her own personalized Amazon page that shows only the products that appeal to her. There are 310m Amazons.

How BIG is Facebook? FB itself has about 2.13B members and growing at about 3% per quarter (64m new members per quarter). FB also owns Instagram (800m and growing +12% per quarter; or about 100m new members per quarter); WhatsApp (1.5B users; +13% per quarter; which is 200m new members per quarter); Messenger (1.2B; growing 17% yearly; or about 200m users per year) all numbers for Q4/17). There’s overlap in many of these users: Many Facebook users also use Messenger and Instagram. So the total is perhaps 3B? No; it’s more than that. If a webpage has a Facebook button on it; the button is collecting data and sending it back to Facebook. Hundreds of millions of page have these buttons and they’re tracking you; even if you aren’t a member of any of Facebook’s tools. Both FB and Google (and many other social sites) are collecting vast amounts of data.

So there weren’t "hacks" or "breaches" at FB. This precisely what FB/Google/etc. was designed to do: collect user information and offer it to advertisers. Or; to say it correctly; offer the tools to allow advertisers to pick the relevant audience. Ford doesn’t "get" the user information: Ford creates an ideal user and FB delivers the Ford ad to those users (BTW; this is what I do in digital marketing for my clients.)

Solution? No more ads. G+FB+etc switch to freemium. Free baby version to users who won’t pay; Subscriber version with extra features to subscribers; and Corporate version for business users. Thus very little need to collect 1,500 criteria on the users and no need whatsoever to share user information with advertisers because there would be no ads.

Let’s say FB charges $5/mo for subscriptions. Of 2B users; only 100m (5%) may pay. $5/month X 100m = $6B. FB’s $40B revenues would drop 85% and revenue growth would be low single digits. Their stock valuation would collapse from $480B to… well; way less. Investors would flee. (The actual numbers will be much lower in India; Southeast Asia; Africa; where many users are unable to pay $100 per year).