Did you ever think that the humble dumb phone may be the source of future innovation in emerging markets? Did you know that there’s a significant chunk of social referral traffic that’s difficult to track? Or that Jack Dorsey dropped out of university… twice? Or that Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload was responsible for some four percent of all internet traffic at its peak? Well, maybe you will… once you’re done reading our round up of top tech stories.
Wired recently paid an extended visit to the New Zealand mansion of Megaupload millionaire and filesharing king Kim Dotcom, to spend some time with the man who is currently facing potential extradition for racketeering and copyright infringement (while under house arrest in his gigantic luxury estate where he sleeps in a US$103 000 custom built bed. Really). In this incredible piece, Charles Graeber weaves the story of Dotcom’s rise from teen hacker to piracy icon, through multiple trips to jail and a Hollywood-esque night time raid, while giving insight into the man behind the headlines.
You may have heard that Facebook is like a chair. If you buy into the branding of the social network as an everyday people-connector, it seems reasonable that more ordinary things could be just as important as the super-high tech gadgets clamouring for our attention. The dumb phone, not the smartphone, may be at the centre of the next wave of innovation, as creative thinkers in emerging markets find ways for the rising billion users to use the simple devices to make radical changes in their day-to-day lives.
Twitter and Square are two extremely successful startups most entrepreneurs would love to have been involved in — and Jack Dorsey co-founded both. Forbes profiles the man who helped start the social media site that helped topple dictators and dreamed up the mobile payments solution that makes traditional card machines and cash registers all but redundant.
First came the web. Then search engines appeared, helping you find the information you wanted. Then came the age of social, where sites like Friendster, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter heralded the era of Web 2.0. Ok, so it’s an oversimplification, but that’s the generalised history of the web. But people were using the web for social sharing long before social media hit the bigtime — and they still are. When people visit a site from some mobile applications or a secure server, analytics programmes can’t tell you where they came from. But they are still entering sites via detailed URLs (with hyphenated headlines and date stamps) which aren’t as easy to remember as straightforward ones (like www.memeburn.com), which suggests they’re clicking on a link that’s been shared with them. This is what Alexis Madrigal is calling ‘dark social’ — the platforms that aren’t as easy to identify as Twitter or Facebook, but are driving more referral traffic than the big blues.