Harvard professor Mark Perry has been one observer who has consistently chronicled the silver lining in the recovery, sharing discrete pieces of data that show the economic engine gearing smartly back up.
Last Friday, he shared another in a series of posts that have looked at the recovery in local real estate markets. The subject of this post: Minneapolis.
Perry points the steady improvement over the past three years in price, value and velocity. The year-to-date numbers show consistent trends, he points out.
I’m struck by the impact on the economic vitality of real estate agents. Commission income has bounced back to where it was in 2008. With fewer agents in the market, that should mean the opportunity for agents to boost earnings is significant.
Agents will play a big factor in the continued recovery of the resale home market: the more confident and upbeat they are, the more excited home buyers and sellers will be.
The team over at Electronic Frontier Foundation brings two things to its view of the web: a sense of perspective and a sense of history.
No personal information that you submit to Thefacebook will be available to any user of the Web Site who does not belong to at least one of the groups specified by you in your privacy settings.
We understand you may not want everyone in the world to have the information you share on Facebook; that is why we give you control of your information. Our default privacy settings limit the information displayed in your profile to your school, your specified local area, and other reasonable community limitations that we tell you about.
Profile information you submit to Facebook will be available to users of Facebook who belong to at least one of the networks you allow to access the information through your privacy settings (e.g., school, geography, friends of friends). Your name, school name, and profile picture thumbnail will be available in search results across the Facebook network unless you alter your privacy settings.
Facebook is designed to make it easy for you to share your information with anyone you want. You decide how much information you feel comfortable sharing on Facebook and you control how it is distributed through your privacy settings. You should review the default privacy settings and change them if necessary to reflect your preferences. You should also consider your settings whenever you share information. …
Information set to “everyone” is publicly available information, may be accessed by everyone on the Internet (including people not logged into Facebook), is subject to indexing by third party search engines, may be associated with you outside of Facebook (such as when you visit other sites on the internet), and may be imported and exported by us and others without privacy limitations. The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” You can review and change the default settings in your privacy settings.
Certain categories of information such as your name, profile photo, list of friends and pages you are a fan of, gender, geographic region, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available to everyone, including Facebook-enhanced applications, and therefore do not have privacy settings. You can, however, limit the ability of others to find this information through search using your search privacy settings.
When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. … The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” … Because it takes two to connect, your privacy settings only control who can see the connection on your profile page. If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.
Note the accelerating pace of the changes. It’s not a coincidence that the commercial imperatives of the site — valuation, funding and getting money off the table — have become more widely reported in the press.
The economics of investment and return force products and services, regardless how innovative, into fairly predictable patterns of behavior. Note: Craig Newmark of Craig’s List, by retaining entrepreneurial control and keeping what many feel is an idiosyncratic focus around the principles of his site, is an exception to this rule, thus far.
Go to the EFF post to find links to the specific Privacy policies.
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Interesting data point: TV’s per household grew at the fastest in a decade last year, according to Nielsen.
The TV is at the core of the multi-media experience. And, as The Economist points out in a recent special report, TV programming is being consumed across more platforms than ever before.
Compelling argument for the power of TV.
I do wonder, though, how many of those TV sets per household increased because of people combining households and brining their favorite TV with them….
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Yahoo! chief Carol Bartz made an interesting point about Google in an interview with the BBC today:
“Google is going to have a problem because Google is only known for search,” said Ms Bartz. “It is only half our business; it’s 99.9% of their business. They’ve got to find other things to do. Google has to grow a company the size of Yahoo every year to be interesting.”
People are going to focus on the bravado and positioning — after all Bartz needs to clearly define Yahoo’s value proposition in a market where the company is unfavorably compared with Google on an ongoing basis.
Search isn’t an infinitely expanding business opportunity. In fact, several dynamics at work suggest that the growth of search revenue will slow, limiting Google’s overall opportunity for growth. First, penetration of potential advertisers is higher today than it was two years ago for Google. And second, the shift of internet usage into social networks has incrementally changed the search behavior of web users.
Google’s media proposition is built on the back of search. That means that the audience that Google aggregates to the benefit of marketers — a basic definition of ad-supported media — relies to an outsized degree on search traffic.
Yahoo! has a more diverse media proposition. That’s the “half of our business” that Bart is referring to.
In this regard, Yahoo! is more like AOL than Google. Not surprisingly, AOL is facing its own challenges in terms of definition, value and opportunity.
The big issue here is that the largest diversified web media brands aren’t demonstrating the ability to grow revenues and hold on to consumers that suggest the franchises deserve premium growth valuations.
Yahoo! and AOL are predominantly content-driven media platforms that have created applications in order to enhance user engagement. That business model is an interactive evolution of the traditional media business model. In this regard, the companies are very different, and have very different challenges, from Google.
The primary challenge remains how to effectively keep content and applications fresh while managing a huge consumer audience, and how to make that base of content accessible and valuable to advertisers. The problem solving is discrete, because one approach doesn’t necessarily fit to every different content platform and user experience. (In this respect, the companies suffer in comparison to Google, which is incredibly simple to explain.) An underlying question is whether focused media brands are more viable than diversified media brands.
When thinking about the strategic challenge of Yahoo! and AOL, I’d suggest that the most salient question is how these two platforms retain consumer interest and loyalty in an environment where Facebook is becoming a de facto operating internet operating system.
One of the Google searches that drives traffic to this site regularly is “Is Facebook the new AOL.”
The query could just as easily be, Is Facebook the new interactive media model? As an interactive media platform, Facebook is organizing and directing shared content, providing content publishing tools, generating scale audience with a high definition of individual interests and producing content within its own operating system seamlessly.
Facebook allows users to dictate what content is important and interesting. That model is fundamentally different from the Yahoo!/AOL model.
Facebook can be an incredibly valuable tool for anyone trying to generate a business from content, and it could ultimately be a profound disintermediator for Yahoo! and AOL, which today look like legacy media brands on the web.
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With our two oldest children at college age, Tami and I decided this Spring to put our house on the market and explore downsizing into a home that more neatly fits a family of 5.
Our house has a distinctive story, even in an upscale market like Greenwich. We did a gut renovation of the home in 2005 — such a gut renovation that the home is really a 2005 replica of an 1840′s farmhouse that was expanded into a family mansion in 1900.
Unlike most of the recent new homes in Greenwich, we didn’t do a tear-down and build-back. When we designed the renovation, we wanted to keep the original proportions of the rooms, which were uncharacteristically large and distinguished. We also wanted to respect the way that the house was situated on the property; it had once been the main house for a 250+ acre working farm, and the way that the house looks out to the west is really special.
The interest has prompted a number of different news stories. The most fun for Tami and I was a short feature that ran this weekend on the LX.TV show Open House.
Here it is:
We’re at the cusp of an amazing cultural shift: the majority of women under 40 within 10 years will be better educated and better paid than men of equal age.
That means that the role of women‘s advocacy organizations in business is not only to strive for equality; it’s to help women prepare for the burdens of leadership.
Stark, but true.
Two recent data points help to support this assertion. The first is the disproportionate number of advanced degrees that women are earning in relation to men. Mark Perry of Carpe Diem shared a chart recently that shows that 139 women in the 25-29 year old group hold an advanced degree for every 100 men in that age group.
Perry also dug into the numbers related to equal pay and found that younger women are earning nearly on parity with men of the same age.
But for single workers who have never been married, the BLS reports that women made 94.2 percent as much money as their male counterparts in 2008. Equal Pay Day would fall on January 22 for these single females, almost three months earlier than the official, unadjusted Equal Pay Day of April 20 for all women. For a separate BLS category of single workers, those with “no children under 18 years old and whose marital status includes never married, divorced, separated and widowed,” women earned 95.6 percent as much as their male counterparts in 2008. Equal Pay Day for that group of single female workers would fall even earlier, on January 19, only a few weeks into the year.
The purpose of these data points isn’t to devalue the generations-long work to give women equal opportunity. It’s to acknowledge that it’s an appropriate time for the focus to shift.
I was struck by this recently when I found myself at a cocktail party hosted by The White House Project the evening before its Epic Awards Gala in New York.
The room was filled with a diverse group of notable and remarkable women, not the least of whom was Marie Wilson, one of the founders of The White House Project. The purpose of the organization is to prepare and present women for positions of leadership; Wilson believes that if women can fill one-third of the leadership positions in government and business, then the national dialogue would shift dramatically…and for the better.
I was at the cocktail party because of my relationship with a notable woman; my wife Tami recently joined to the corporate council of The White House Project. The video below from the Epic Awards gives you a brief feel for what TWHP does.
As the cocktail party wound down, I spent a little time talking with a very passionate and engaging woman from Texas who is spearheading recognition of the anniversary of the 19th Amendment. She is an executive with a large technology company and spoke about how, just as she is entering the prime of her career, she’s confronted with the decision of whether or not to continue to commit time and energy to an organization that can’t advance women.
I probed around that point: What is it that keeps your company from becoming an attractive place to build a career?
“They don’t know what to do with us,” she said.
Her comment wasn’t colored with bravado, resentment or frustration. She was as puzzled by the organization’s inability to know what to do with a talented, ambitious woman as she believes the organization is puzzled by her.
Over my career, I’ve worked with very successful and effective women, many of whom have had positions of significant responsibility. I’ve witnessed their struggle for recognition and equality. Sometimes I’ve helped and sometimes I’ve hindered. What I have learned over the years is that the greatest reward that an organization can give women is the feeling of flexibility without punishment. I’ve also witnessed how challenging the embedded culture of organizations can be.
As I listened to Marie Wilson talk about The White House Project, I had a new sense of the power that women’s advocacy in business could have, and the benefit of organized and thoughtful dialogue around the questions of women in leadership.
The question is whether business will respond and engage in this dialogue with authenticity and integrity.
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The landscape for local advertising, particularly by small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) is undergoing a profound shift that is being masked in part by the overall downturn in advertising spending, two recent research reports from BIA/The Kelsey Group demonstrates. The key for local media companies is to segment the SMB client base in relation to their adoption of online media. And the key to that adoption rate is the age of the company, Kelsey concludes.
To put the entire opportunity in context, it’s useful to revisit BIA/Kelsey‘s U.S. Local Media Forecast, released earlier this year, where BIA/Kelsey chronicled a devastating decline in local advertising spend in 2009 and 2010. The firm doesn’t anticipate any recovery until 2011, nor any real strengthening of the local ad market until 2012.
That is more than $27 billion of local advertising that will have evaporated during the recession. Within this macro trend, a fundamental secular shift is underway, says points out Polachek, president of BIA/Kelsey
“The general economic conditions worsened during 2009 causing advertising dollars to remain on the sidelines as businesses — large and small, local, regional and national — reined in spending levels,” said Polachek. “Even with improvements in the overall economy, we do not anticipate a rapid recovery among traditional media over the forecast period, because we believe the structural change in the local media industry has accelerated.”
This structural change is highlighted in BIA/Kelsey’s most recent update to its Local Commerce Monitor, a local tracking study that the firm has been doing over the past several years.
The ground-level research of SMBs reinforces the overall outlook for local advertising.
The Local Commerce Monitor study also revealed a decrease in overall ad spending by SMBs, owing to unfavorable economic conditions and the long-term substitution of traditional media with lower-cost digital/online media. SMBs decreased spending on advertising and promotion by 23.5 percent, from $2,734 annually (reported in August 2008) to $2,092 annually (reported in August 2009). In spite of the overall decrease in spending on advertising and promotion over the past 12 months, on average, SMBs increased spending on Web sites and profile pages by 26.8 percent, from $608 in 2008 to $769 in 2009.
Kelsey does chronicle on notable shift among SMBs: they have personally begun to use more digital media than traditional media. This usage shift will drive accelerate the shift in marketing purchases, BIA/Kelsey contends.
The younger the business, the more likely they are to spend heavily on internet advertising, BIA/Kelsey points out. Businesses less than 3 years old will spend close to 1/3 of their budget on internet, while businesses more than 10 years old will spend only 13%.
The obvious conclusion, Kelsey points out, is to target younger businesses with digital offerings.
The success rate is likely to be much higher.
The dollars at stake are meaningful.
Indeed, a steady shift toward digital media continues. BIA/Kelsey forecasts spending on traditional media to decline from $115 billion in 2009 to $108.2 billion in 2014 (CAGR of -1.2 percent). During the same period, spending on online/interactive media is projected to grow from $15.2 billion to $36.7 billion (CAGR of 19.3 percent).
Over the next five years, a focus on emerging businesses as the foundation of digital growth is a strategy that is likely to be rewarded.
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