The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bill Gates urges China's wealthiest to give to charity

Businessman makes plea in People's Daily for country to improve bad philanthropic record by investing in the poor

theguardian.com, Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing, Monday 28 April 2014

Bill Gates: 'Returns from investing in poor people are just as great as [returns]
 from investing in the business world.' Photograph: Mehdi Taamallah/AFP/Getty Images

Bill Gates has urged China's extraordinarily wealthy business elite to shed its aversion to philanthropy and donate to the poor, a potent message in one of the world's most economically divided societies.

"Only when we help poor people break away from destitution and illness can the whole world achieve sustainable development," Gates wrote in the People's Daily, a mouthpiece of the country's top leadership. "Investing in poor people requires the involvement of every social strata. I believe that the returns from investing in poor people are just as great as [returns] from investing in the business world, and have even more meaning."

China had 358 billionaires at the end of 2013 – a rise of 41 over the previous year and the second-most of any country in the world, after the US. Yet in terms of charitable giving, it ranks among the world's worst. According to the World Giving Index 2013, an annual survey by the NGO Charities Aid Foundation (pdf) (pdf), China ranked 115 among 135 countries for donating money and last for volunteering.

Income inequality counts among the country's most pressing social ills. According to a 2012 survey by Peking University, families in China's cities and coastal provinces earn significantly more than their rural and inland counterparts. An average Shanghai household, for example, brings in £2,790 a year, while an average family in the inland province Gansu makes less than £1,200.

While handfuls of individuals have profited enormously from China's economic boom, few have shown willing to share their wealth. In 2010, Gates, who runs the $38bn Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the American business magnate Warren Buffet asked 50 of China's richest people to join a charity dinner in Beijing. Many turned down the invitation, reportedly because they were uncomfortable being asked for donations.

Yet the country's philanthropic record is slowly improving. On Friday, Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, co-founders of Alibaba, China's biggest e-commerce company, announced plans to fund a $3bn foundation, the country's largest. The amount represents about 2% of the company's equity, all of it from the founders' shares. According to state media, the foundation will focus on environment, education and healthcare. Yet other details, such as its name and how the money will be distributed, remain unclear.

Ma, China's eighth richest man, stepped down as Alibaba's CEO last year and has since dedicated much of his time to charity efforts. He sits on the Nature Conservancy's board of directors and helps lead kung fu star Jet Li's One Foundation.

"When you register a new foundation in China you need a supervisory agency, so a lot of people have worried that by registering a private foundation they'd be giving up control over their personal wealth," said Anthony Spires, a sociology professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who researches China's civil society. "Many of these folks are used to being in charge – they have very clear issues that concern them  … and they don't want the government to tell them how to spend their money."

Spires called the size of the promised foundation "staggering".

"This will be the largest foundation in China, if they really do it," he said. "It's on par with Michael Bloomberg's philanthropy."

Alibaba is preparing a high-profile initial public offering on the New York stock exchange. Analysts expect the company to be valued at more than $100bn, which would make its IPO one of the biggest in history.

"My wife and I had this thought of setting up a personal charitable fund when we started the business," Ma, 49, told the state newswire Xinhua. "We'd like to earn money before we turn 50 years old and do charitable work in our time after 50."

Gates has responded to Ma's announcement, saying that the foundation will "do an immense amount of good, particularly in this remarkable time in the development of philanthropy in China", the newswire reported. Warren Buffet has called the two Alibaba founders "extraordinary leaders in business [who] have now become leaders in philanthropy".

Related Article:


Jack Ma. (Photo/Xinhua)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dutch media platform Blendle launches with pay per read service

DutchNews.nl, Monday 28 April 2014

How it works: a still from the promotional film for the new service

A new Dutch media platform launches on Monday offering individual articles from around 40 Dutch newspapers and magazines for a small fee.

Blendle aims to provide extra revenue for newspapers who are faced with falling circulations as more people turn to reading the news online. Only around 50% of Dutch households still have a daily paper.

The publisher will set the price of each article and get 70%. Blendle will earn 30% of the fee each time an item is read. Most articles are priced at between 10 cents and 25 cents and there is a money-back guarantee if you don't like what you've ordered.

iTunes

So far, 20,000 people have signed up to use the service which was described by the Financial Times as being like the 'iTunes of journalism'.

The project, the brainchild of former journalists Alexander Klöpping and Marten Blankesteijn, who are both 27, is partly funded by a government initiative to ensure the diversity of the Dutch press.

'In the same way as we are no longer prepared to buy an entire CD for one number, we no longer want to buy a newspaper for one article,' Klöpping said, ahead of Monday's formal launch.

Some 70 cents of every euro spent since the soft launch several months ago came from someone under the age of 40.'We've had a lot of reaction from young people who have never paid for journalism but have now spent tens of euros on articles,' Blankesteijn said.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Netherlands turns orange for first ever 'King's Day'

Yahoo – AFP, 26 April 2014

Dutch fans dressed in orange celebrate the first King's Day, the celebration
 of the birthday of the king, in Breda, Netherlands, on April 26, 2014 (AFP Photo
/Martijn Beekman)

The Hague (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of orange-clad Dutch lined the streets on Saturday as the Netherlands celebrated its first-ever "King's Day" in honour of Willem-Alexander, inaugurated one year ago.

The popular king and his Argentinian-born wife, Queen Maxima, were greeted by thousands of enthusiastic fans in the northwestern fishing town of De Rijp, where they took part in traditional Dutch games.

Queen Maxima hit a ball into the mouth of a mock-up whale -- symbol of the town's past as a whale processing centre -- to thunderous applause before moving on to receive flowers from well-wishers.

From there the royal procession, including the king's mother, now Princess Beatrix, who abdicated last year after 33 years on the throne, travelled south to Amstelveen near Amsterdam.

The royal couple were awaited by their three daughters, crown-princess Amalia, 10 and princesses Alexia, 8 and Ariane, 6, who made a surprise appearance, before unveiling a giant painting in the city centre.

Willem-Alexander, 46, was sworn in on April 30 last year, the first Dutch king in more than 120 years.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander (L), his wife Queen Maxima and their daughters
(From L-Front) Princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariane, as they attend King's Day
 celebrations in Amstelveen, Netherlands, on April 26, 2014 (AFP Photo/Robin
Van Lonkhuijsen)

Saturday marked the first-ever "King's Day" celebration, a tradition introduced during the reign of a succession of Dutch queens, starting around 1890.

The day came just ahead of the monarch's birthday on Sunday, and saw the country turn orange as the Dutch donned hats, shirts, scarves, sunglasses and even blow-up crowns in the colour of the Royal House.

Some 89,000 people travelled by train to traditional party spot Amsterdam on Saturday morning, the Dutch rail service said, to join some 800,000 other visitors expected in the city.

Dutch media speculated that Willem-Alexander may change celebrations next year or do away with the tradition altogether, but he told crowds in Amstelveen: "Why would you want to change something that's such a success?"

Although the monarchy is popular in the Netherlands, some question the cost of the royal household and republicans are seeking a reduction to the king's tax-free salary of 825,000 euros (about $1.1 million).

A survey published on Saturday by the NOS public broadcaster said 74 percent of those Dutch questioned said they trusted the king.

The Dutch Royal family pose for a picture in Amstelveen, The Netherlands, on
 April 26, 2014, during the first King's Day, the celebration of the birthday of the
king (AFP Photo/Frank Van Beek)

Meanwhile, the government's information service on Saturday unveiled the Royal House's first Facebook page.

The introduction of technology is part of a "quiet revolution happening at the palace," Dutch centre-left newspaper De Volkskrant said this week.

"Beatrix never sent an email and had a mobile phone for only six years. Following the king's inauguration his whole court is now armed with iPads and iPhones," the paper said.

Even web search giant Google took a bow on Saturday, sporting a royal orange theme for its Dutch search engine, www.google.nl.

Related Article:

Google: Fijne eerste koningsdag ! (26 Apr 2014)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Alibaba founders set up charity fund

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-04-25

Jack Ma. (Photo/Xinhua)

The founders of Chinese internet giant Alibaba announced on Friday they will set up their own charitable fund.

Chinese internet entrepreneurs Jack Ma and Joe Tsai said the charitable trust will be funded by 2% of Alibaba's equity, which they received as share options in the company last year.

Alibaba announced in March its plans to go public in the US. The company's valuation has been estimated at between US$100-200 billion.

Based on this estimation, Ma's foundation is expected to boast funding between US$2-4 billion, equivalent to the yearly fiscal revenue of a Chinese prefectural-level city.

Ma said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua that he has not decided on the name of the foundation, but it will focus on environmental, medical, educational and cultural programs within China and overseas.

"My wife and I had this thought of setting up a personal charitable fund when we started the business. We'd like to earn money before we turn 50 years old and do charitable work in our own time after 50," said the billionaire, who will turn 50 in September.

He left his position as Alibaba's CEO last year. In the same year, he served as a chair of the US Nature Conservancy's China board of directors.

Ma said the foundation will focus on four main issues, including cancer.

"I'm not going to become a doctor, but I have my own way of saving lives," Ma said.

Ma's philanthropic vision has won the support of Western business leaders.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said that the generosity, leadership of Ma and Tsai and the examples they set will "do an immense amount of good, particularly in this remarkable time in the development of philanthropy in China."

Warren Buffett, trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said Ma and Tsai have been "extraordinary leaders in business and have now become leaders in philanthropy."

Wealthy Chinese businessmen have been criticised by the public for their lack of philanthropic conscience.

Ma said that philanthropic work in China is "more lacking in institutional building and personnel training."

"Charity work in China has just started. We are learning, and we will do more when we gain experience," he said.

Ma personally retains 7.3% of the equity of Alibaba, which has been keen to expand out of its core online retail business to shopping malls, home appliances, mapping services and financial services through a series of acquisitions since last year.

Related Article:


Bill Gates: 'Returns from investing in poor people are just as great as [returns] from
investing in the business world.' Photograph: Mehdi Taamallah/AFP/Getty Images

Apple and Google settle antitrust lawsuit over hiring collusion charges

• Adobe and Intel were also faced with court case
• Lawyers had sought $9bn over alleged collusion

theguardian.com, Dominic Rushe in New York, Thursday 24 April 2014

Apple was one of four companies scheduled to go to trial in May.
Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Technology companies including Apple and Google on Thursday agreed to settle an embarrassing antitrust lawsuit that exposed the dark side of Silicon Valley’s hiring practices and alleged some of its biggest names colluded in order to avoid poaching each other's talent.

Apple, Adobe, Google and Intel had been scheduled to go to trial at the end of May, with lawyers for roughly 64,000 workers alleging that bosses including Google’s Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt and Apple's Steve Jobs orchestrated an elaborate scheme to prevent poaching and drive down wages.

The companies had acknowledged that they agreed not to hire each other's staff in some cases, but disputed the allegation that they conspired to drive down wages.

In 2010, a Justice Department investigation concluded that several companies shared confidential salary information to prevent bidding wars and promised not to call each other's staff. After the companies settled the federal antitrust complaint, the four tech giants became the target of a civil lawsuit.

Lawyers had been seeking $3bn in damages. Under antitrust rules, that could have been tripled to $9bn had the companies lost. The terms of the settlement will be presented by 27 May to US district judge Lucy Koh.

The settlement was confirmed by Kelly Dermody, a lawyer for the plaintiffs at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.

"This is an excellent resolution of the case that will benefit class members," she said in a statement.

Emails from Jobs and Schmidt emerged in pre-trial hearings. In one example, Schmidt told Jobs that a Google recruiter would be fired after approaching an Apple employee. Jobs forwarded Schmidt's note to a top Apple human resources executive, with a smiley face.

In another 2005 email exchange, Jobs reportedly told Google co-founder Brin: "If you hire a single one of these people, that means war."

Lawyers for the companies accused the plaintiffs of “free-floating character assassination” and asked that the emails be barred from entry at the trial.

Walt Disney's Lucasfilm and Pixar – previously headed by Jobs – and the software company Intuit agreed to a settlement over the same hiring practice allegations last July, with Disney paying about $9m and Intuit $11m.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brazil passes online privacy law as Web governance conference starts in Sao Paulo

Deutsche Welle, 23 April 2014

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has ratified a bill guaranteeing Internet privacy and access to the Web. It comes as Sao Paulo hosts a global conference on Internet governance.


The legislation, which was passed by parliament late on Tuesday, puts limits on the metadata that can be collated from Internet users in Brazil. It also makes Internet service providers not liable for content published by their users and requires them to comply with court orders to remove offensive material.

Rousseff, who was in Sao Paulo for the opening of the NetMundial global conference on Internet governance, has been at the forefront of efforts to formally recognize Internet freedom and privacy.

Rousseff has been pushing for
measures on Internet governance
Last year, when it was revealed that she had been under surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA), Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the US and started to champion Internet freedom and privacy.

Speaking at the opening of NetMundial, she said that "the Internet we want will only be possible in a scenario of respect for human rights, in particular the right to privacy and freedom of expression."

Despite her differences with the US, Rousseff praised Washington for its decision to hand over the management of ICANN and IANA, which manage the Internet's global domain name system, next September.

"I salute the US government's recently announced plan to replace its links to IANA and ICANN with a global management of those institutions," she said on Wednesday.

During the two-day conference, government officials, industry executives and academics from around the world are expected to agree on a set of principles to enhance online privacy that does not overly restrict the Internet's self-regulated nature.

They will also debate how to govern the Internet after the US hands over the reins at ICANN. The meeting's resolutions are non-binding, but Brazil hopes they can serve as the foundation for further discussions on Internet governance.

The main challenge is to find common ground between different governments and corporate Internet giants like Facebook and Google, who are opposed to more regulation.

ng/rc (AP, Reuters)

Whistleblowers need better protection: helpline

DutchNews.nl, Tuesday 22 April 2014

Martin van Pernis, Chairman, Committee
 Whistleblowers advice center, speaking
at the launch of the advice center
Whistleblowers in 2012 (NRC/ANP)
A special helpline for whistleblowers has helped 61 people go public since it was founded in October 2012 and has dealt with 435 requests for advice, according to the Adviespunt Klokkenluiders’s first annual report.

Most whistleblowers – 30% - were concerned about problems in the health service, followed by local government (10%) and manufacturing (10%). Four out of 10 cases involved the semi-public sector. Fraud or theft were the most common complaints.

The report also shows that three out of four whistleblowers had problems at work after going public with their fears. These ranged from bullying to redundancy.

Going solar with SunPower

Google Blog, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just because Earth Day is over doesn’t mean we’re done doing good things for the planet. Yesterday we announced our biggest renewable energy purchase yet: an agreement with our Iowa utility partners to supply our data center facilities there with up to 407 megawatts of wind energy.

Today, we’re taking another step towards a clean energy future with a major new investment. Together with SunPower Corporation we’re creating a new $250 million fund to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems—making it easier for thousands of households across the U.S. to go solar. Essentially, this is how it works: Using the fund ($100 million from Google and $150 million from SunPower), we buy the solar panel systems. Then we lease them to homeowners at a cost that’s typically lower than their normal electricity bill. So by participating in this program, you don’t just help the environment—you can also save money.

A home sporting SunPower solar panels

SunPower delivers solar to residential, utility and commercial customers and also manufacturers its own solar cells and panels.They’re known for having high-quality, high reliability panels which can generate up to 50 percent more power per unit area, with guaranteed performance and lower degradation over time. That means that you can install fewer solar panels to get the same amount of energy. And SunPower both makes the panels and manages the installation, so the process is seamless.

This is our 16th renewable energy investment and our third residential rooftop solar investment (the others being with Solar City and Clean Power Finance). Overall we’ve invested more than $1 billion in 16 renewable energy projects around the world, and we’re always on the hunt for new opportunities to make more renewable energy available to more people—Earth Day and every day.

Posted by Rob Parker, Renewable energy team

Related Article:


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Earth Day treat: lots of renewable energy for our Iowa data center :Google


Wildlife at the data center
We’ve been talking to MidAmerican Energy, our energy supplier in Iowa, about renewable energy since we started building our Iowa data center in 2007. Just in time for Earth Day, we now have a freshly inked agreement with MidAmerican Energy to supply our Iowa data center facilities with up to 407 MW of 100% renewable wind energy, as tracked by renewable energy certificates. This agreement will not only cover our current facilities but will allow for future expansion supplied by renewable energy as well.

This is our seventh and largest renewable energy commitment to date, bringing the total amount of renewable energy we’ve contracted for to over one gigawatt (1,000 megawatts).

We’ve entered into a few different kinds of agreements over the years - sometimes signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind farm developers and sometimes working with our local utility partners. This agreement is similar to our 2012 agreement with our Oklahoma utility, the Grand River Dam Authority. In this case, MidAmerican Energy will sell energy to our Iowa data center bundled with and tracked by renewable energy certificates generated by projects that are part of its Wind VIII program.

PPAs and agreements like this one are a big part of the commitment to carbon neutrality we made back in 2007, and we’re working to make this whole process easier for other companies by advocating for renewable energy tariffs. Depending on the circumstances, any of these approaches can make sense, and we’re always on the hunt for new and creative ways to power our operations with renewable energy. But it’s not just our own operations we want to green: Google has also invested over $1B in 15 renewable energy investments around the world in an effort to put more renewable energy on the grid and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

We’ll continue working with MidAmerican Energy and all of our utility partners to find diverse ways to deliver clean, renewable energy to our data centers. Happy Earth Day!

Posted by Neha Palmer and Sam Arons, Wind Ninjas

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More red ink for US newspapers in latest survey

Yahoo – AFP, Rob Lever, 21 April 2014

Newspapers are displayed at a newsstand on October 26, 2009 in
San Francisco, California (AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan)

Washington (AFP) - US newspapers suffered further revenue declines in 2013, seeing only mixed success in a transition to digital, according to industry figures.

Total newspaper industry revenue amounted to $37.59 billion in 2013, a 2.6 percent drop from $38.60 billion in 2012, according to a report released Friday by the Newspaper Association of America.

In one positive sign, the data showed a 3.7 percent increase in circulation revenues to $10.87 billion, helped by digital subscriptions and "paywalls."

The figures showed revenue from all digital sources including advertising, circulation and marketing, rose 5.8 percent and accounted for 12 percent of total industry revenue.

But newspapers continued to see declines in print advertising, which has long been their most important revenue source.

Advertising in the traditional printed daily and Sunday newspaper decreased 8.6 percent to $17.3 billion. Digital advertising only partly offset that, rising 1.5 percent to $3.4 billion.

Poynter Institute researcher Rick Edmonds said the overall performance of the industry was the best since 2006.

But Edmonds noted that because the trade association made changes in how it calculates figures, using different sources of revenue in the computation, "total industry revenue figures for the last two years cannot meaningfully be compared to those for earlier years."

"Though digital ad revenue gains again failed to make up for print revenue losses, there was mildly encouraging news on that front," Edmonds said in a blog post.

"Despite continued downward pressure on prices and tough competition from digital giants with virtually no news operations, the industry eked out a gain."

Not 'calamitous' but unimpressive

Others say the figures don't tell the full story of the bleak state of the newspaper industry.

"I think what this report says is that the newspaper business has to find ways to innovate itself out of the mess in which it finds itself," says Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University.

"Although these figures are not calamitous, they are not all that impressive either."

Kennedy said that advertising "is never going to come back in the way it has in the past, because businesses no longer need newspapers to reach their customers. The Internet gives them a lot of different ways to reach their customers."

Alan Mutter, a former newspaper editor who now is a consultant specializing in new media ventures, said total ad revenues for the newspaper industry have been cut in half since a 2005 peak at $49 billion.

Mutter said the key problem for newspapers is that they are not keeping pace with the competition for digital advertising -- as most of the revenue shifts to non-media companies like Google or Facebook.

"Digital advertising rose a mere 1.5 percent to $3.4 billion in 2013 at the same time that digital sales surged 17 percent across all digital categories in the United States," Mutter writes in a blog post.

"Back in 2003, newspapers had a 14 percent share of the national digital advertising market. In 2013, they had barely eight percent of the market."

Mutter added that "the ongoing inability of newspapers to compete effectively in this emerging marketplace may be an even bigger problem than the traumatic collapse in print advertising that they have suffered over the last eight years."

Related Article:


Journalist Katie Couric speaks during a keynote address by Yahoo!
President and CEO Marissa Mayer at the 2014 International CES on
January 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Getty/AFP/File, Ethan Miller)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Internet shaping China for the better: Xinhua

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-04-21

People log on to the internet with smartphones at a store in Taiyuan,
Shanxi province. (Photo/CNS)

Twenty years after the world's most populous country gained access to the internet, China has been fundamentally and irreversibly changed, but not in the way some observers in the West had expected.

Instead of bringing collapse, the internet in China is becoming more commercially robust and innovative despite the unique Chinese way of management.

As the internet reshapes China, the country is also changing the online landscape through its rising internet firms, brand-new products and the world's largest web population of 618 million.

CHINA REMOLDED

On April 20, 1994, a pilot network to serve education and scientific research was linked to the internet via a special line in Beijing's Zhongguancun, now China's technology hub, marking the country's first fully functional internet access.

At the time, the only way for most Chinese to learn of South Africa's newly elected black president and the construction of China's massive Three Gorges hydraulic project was by reading the next day's state-run newspaper.

Recalling his first days online, Liu Ren, a Beijing-based journalist, said few Chinese were in cyberspace in the late 1990s.

"I would be overjoyed to receive an email, even if it was a spam mail at that time," said the reporter renowned for his keen observation of China's IT industry. "But today, the internet has been changing everyone's lives, sometimes even against their will."

Meanwhile, cab drivers are now consulting their children to learn how to use taxi apps for additional tips from potential customers.

"Never did I think that one day my work would have anything to do with the internet," said Lao Liu, a 54-year-old taxi driver in central China's Wuhan city. "The apps bring me an additional income of 50 yuan (US$8) every day."

Mobile Internet is changing the entrenched habits of Chinese people like Lao Liu, including how they read, buy things, and manage money.

Yu'ebao, a popular online wealth management product, has raised around 500 billion yuan (US$80.2 billion) in less than a year, helping boost the funds available for China's real economy, instead of raising financing costs.

In March, Beijing vowed to promote the healthy development of the burgeoning internet finance, giving products like Yu'ebao promising prospects.

The growing population of internet users has also made online opinions too important to be ignored by officials.

The transformative power of the internet has challenged top-down communication patterns in China by supporting multi-level and multi-directional flows of communication, changing the country's political landscape.

Several Chinese officials have been probed after online whistleblowers accused them of corruption, the latest being Song Lin, chairman of state corporation China Resources (Holdings).

The country's internet has become an accessible yet decentralized platform for the public to discuss public affairs and breaking events, said Wang Sixin, professor of law with the Communication University of China in Beijing.

INNOVATION

The rising prominence of China is one of the most important developments shaping the internet.

Behind the internet boom is Beijing's unique way of management. China has long been dedicated to developing the internet, but it has also underscored the rule of law to ensure internet security, which President Xi Jinping said is a concern for the country's security and development.

Xi became head of China's central internet security and informatization leading group in February, revealing the country's resolve to build itself into a strong cyber power.

This way of internet management, itself a Chinese innovation, has not stifled the creativity of the internet as some had predicted. Innovative products and services are significantly changing the landscape of the internet.

At least six of the world's 10 largest social networks in 2013 were developed by Chinese internet firms, according to a report from US business and technology news website Business Insider. China-based social networking apps such as WeChat and Sina Weibo have also achieved significant scale.

Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, debuted this month on the Nasdaq exchange with a 19.1% jump, bringing the company US$287 million.

The success of the microblogging service, which official figures say over 500 million are using, highlighted the innovation-driven development of China's internet companies.

Sina Weibo may have imitated Twitter at first, but it adapted and improved by constantly introducing new functions to maintain a high number of active users.

"More Chinese internet companies will be going abroad like Sina Weibo did," said Fang Xingdong, founder of Blogchina.com and an IT columnist. "The year of 2014 will mark the beginning of the global strategy of China's internet."

Last year, China's online retail market expanded to over 1.8 trillion yuan (US$288.8 billion), almost the size of Malaysia's GDP that year.

"We have built up the Chinese people's trust in online transactions," said Jack Ma, founder of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba.

China will become "more open, more transparent, more willing to share" in the next two decades because of the internet, he said.

Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy

Quartz, Aimee Groth, December 30, 2013

In September, Zappos got a new home, now the company is about to
get an internal makeover. Aimee Groth

Zappos is known for its zany corporate culture. The company’s Q4 “All Hands” meeting in November was aptly-themed “Gone Wild”: one female employee voluntarily climbed into a case filled with tarantulas to win a $250 gift card. The event opened with a Lion King performance put on by employees at the Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas and closed with an after party at the museum next door. Focusing on company culture and customer service is how CEO Tony Hsieh built Zappos into a billion-dollar online retailer. While he’s not getting rid of those priorities, Hsieh is laying the groundwork for a major reorganization. 

During the 4-hour meeting, Hsieh talked about how Zappos’ traditional organizational structure is being replaced with Holacracy, a radical “self-governing” operating system where there are no job titles and no managers. The term Holacracy is derived from the Greek word holon, which means a whole that’s part of a greater whole. Instead of a top-down hierarchy, there’s a flatter “holarchy” that distributes power more evenly. The company will be made up of different circles—there will be around 400 circles at Zappos once the rollout is complete in December 2014—and employees can have any number of roles within those circles. This way, there’s no hiding under titles; radical transparency is the goal.

Hsieh told the crowd on that rainy November afternoon, “Darwin said that it’s not the fastest or strongest that survive. It’s the ones most adaptive to change.”

Last fall, while exploring ways to scale Zappos without letting bureaucracy set in, Hsieh met Brian Robertson, the founder of the management consultancy HolacracyOne.

“Zappos’ focus on core values and culture has done a remarkably good job of getting around the limits of a conventional corporate structure,” says Robertson, who created the company in 2007 after using Holacracy to run a software company that he founded. “Leaders that already understand the limits of conventional structures are the ones that are attracted to Holacracy.”

CEOs who sign on to Holacracy agree to cede some level of power. The advantage is that they get to view their company through an entirely different lens. But it’s an adjustment for both leaders and employees. Zappos, which has 1,500 employees, will be the largest company to date to implement Holacracy.

“We’re classically trained to think of ‘work’ in the traditional paradigm,” says John Bunch, who, along with Alexis Gonzales-Black, is leading the transition to Holacracy at Zappos. “One of the core principles is people taking personal accountability for their work. It’s not leaderless. There are certainly people who hold a bigger scope of purpose for the organization than others. What it does do is distribute leadership into each role. Everybody is expected to lead and be an entrepreneur in their own roles, and Holacracy empowers them to do so.”

In its highest-functioning form, he says, the system is “politics-free, quickly evolving to define and operate the purpose of the organization, responding to market and real-world conditions in real time. It’s creating a structure in which people have flexibility to pursue what they’re passionate about.”

Twitter Co-Founder Ev Williams is one of the system’s early adopters; he uses Holacracy to run his publishing platform Medium, which has around 50 employees. Jason Stirman, whose roles include head of people operations and product designer at Medium, says that one of the best things about Holacracy is that it facilitates autonomy. “Ev isn’t the CEO of Medium to have another title for his Twitter bio. He wants the company to operate at the highest level possible, and he recognizes that all the power consolidated at top is great for people who are hungry but it can be a total bottleneck. There are decisions he wants to make and the rest can be absorbed in other areas of the organization.”

Still, Holacracy can feel unnatural, especially at first. Meetings are designed to rapidly process tensions. The focus is on the work, not the people. “It’s not a very human-centric model for things,” says Stirman. “For example, if you’re a junior designer, Holacracy says that you should bring up everything in this forum, but it can be difficult to ask for feedback or mentorship, especially when you’re new.”

Robertson says that Holacracy is meant to address structural issues, and that leaders will respond to the human element in different ways. Medium has created mentorship circles, and Zappos has similar plans. Williams and Hsieh both “have a high capacity to see the complex systems at play in their organizations,” says Robertson. “It’s not linear or a matter of just following the logical argument; it’s seeing the cloud of interconnections and influences, beyond just cause and effect thinking.”

At the Zappos “All Hands” meeting Hsieh said that at most companies, “there’s the org chart on paper, and then the one that is exactly how the company operates for real, and then there’s the org chart that it would like to have in order to operate more efficiently. … [With Holacracy] the idea is to process tensions so that the three org charts are pretty close together.”

Hsieh’s plans for Zappos are part of an even more ambitious undertaking. He’s currently investing $350 million of his own fortune to transform downtown Las Vegas, where  Zappos’ is now headquartered, into an improved holarchical system. For Hsieh, work, play and everything else are already a series of overlapping circles.


Software developer Valve Corp in Bellevue, WA, has
300 employees and not one manager or boss. (Value Corp)

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"The New Paradigm of Reality" Part I/II – Feb 12, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, ..... etc.) (> 28 Min)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Asus Eyeing Mass Market in Indonesia for Its Smartphones

Jakarta Globe, Muhamad Al Azhari, Apr 18, 2014

ASUSTeK Computer chairman Jonney Shih holds a ZenFone smartphone
to reporters in Jakarta on April 16, 2014 .(GA Photo/Suhadi)

Jakarta. Taipei-based ASUSTeK Computer, one of the biggest producers of notebooks and motherboards, has released its Intel-based ZenFone smartphones to Indonesia, betting that consumers will seek alternatives to popular brands such as Samsung and Sony.

“We are pleased to bring this device into Southeast Asia. We believe the best technology is the one used by the masses. When we began our journey ‘in search of incredible’ [products] we came up with this handset with the hopes it can be enjoyed by many,” company chairman Jonney Shih said in a press gathering on Tuesday.

Shih was accompanied by Asus chief executive Jerry Shen as he explained the company’s plan to focus more on smartphones over laptops and desktops starting this year. Shih said the Indonesian market is full of potential for products aimed at targeting the mass market segment.

“Indonesia is a great market. The population is huge. Our products have performed quite well,” said Shih, who is often dubbed as one of the most influential people in technology.

ZenFone, powered by the Intel Atom processor, comes in three series for Indonesian consumers: the 10-centimeter, ZenFone 4 tagged at Rp 1 million ($87); the 12.7-centimeter ZenFone 5 for Rp 2 million; and the 15-centimeter ZenFone 6 for Rp 3 million.

The company, commonly referred to its computer brand Asus, experienced a financial downturn in its third-quarter 2013 financial results when profit dropped 26 percent to NT$4.94 billion ($164 million) from the year before.

Meanwhile, revenue declined by 4 percent to NT$107.1 billion. The profit slump was mainly attributed to taxes, of which Asus was required to pay NT$1.52 billion.

Despite its staggering tax bill the company, which was also responsible for the hardware behind Google’s Nexus 7 tablet, is keen to roll out a line of smartphone products into markets worldwide and boost its smartphone shipments.

Based on third-quarter financial results, notebooks and laptops represented 57 percent of Asus’s product portfolio, with tablets making up 20 percent, while 13 percent was made up by motherboards and cards (including video and sound cards).

“We introduced the Eee PC for the mainstream US market, which was a success. We aim to achieve the same for ZenFone,” Shih said.
Shih was the executive behind the Eee PC’s positive reception. Asus was the first PC maker to bring the lightweight netbook, the Eee PC, into the United States in 2007.

Asia-Pacific region made up 43 percent of Asus’s business, with 30 percent in Europe and 20 percent in the United States.

According to data from the International Data Corporation, a total of 11 million smartphones were shipped to Indonesia last year, a bulk of which used the Android operating system. In its latest venture into the smartphone sector, Asus will face a slew of Android-based competitors, including Samsung, Sony and Lenovo.

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