Monthly archives of “January 2013

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Dirt.: Why Dirt is the LinkedIn of the real estate world


LinkedIn reinvented the recruiting industry. Prior to LinkedIn, the hiring process was supply driven. When it was time to find a new job or professional opportunity, you simply dusted off your resume and looked on a static job board site such as Monster, CareerBuilder or Craigslist for listings…

Dirt.: Why Dirt is the LinkedIn of the real estate world

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Joshua Kushner is the 27-year-old founder of Thrive Capital. Also known for: Investing in Instagram just before it was sold to Facebook. 

Forbes 30 Under 30: Finance

Read the story: Meet The 26-Year-Old VC Who Cashed In On Instagram

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The “Cheap iPhone”


A few thoughts on the latest report of a “less-expensive” iPhone by Jessica E. Lessin for The Wall Street Journal:

1) This report seems to surface every year, including by the same Wall Street Journal that is reporting the news today.

2) That said, there does seem to be more gathering momentum around the idea of a “cheap iPhone” this time around. I smell a faint hint of Apple.

3) But Apple already sells “cheap iPhones”: the iPhone 4S is currently $99 with a two-year contract and the iPhone 4 is free with the same contract. Hard to get cheaper than “free”. (But: see point 6 below.)

4) So perhaps this has to do more with perception. The current cheaper iPhones must lose some luster as they’re simply older devices at a discounted price. Maybe this new “cheap iPhone” would be a complete makeover with the same internals as the older models but with a new build to entice buyers.

5) Along those lines, I find it hard to believe Apple would simply do a “cheap iPhone” — it would have to be a different product from the flagship version in some other way. Offering various colors is an obvious approach, but I think there would have to be something else as well. There are no “cheap iPads” or “cheap iPods”, there are significantly different versions (iPad mini, iPod nano, etc) at different price points.

6) Or perhaps this is all simply meant for other markets where the iPhone does not sell as well (and subsidies matter far less, or don’t exist at all). As WSJ notes, the iPhone is still the top selling smartphone in the U.S. But that’s not the case in other markets, and China has been particularly troublesome. Apple probably doesn’t want to just cede a billion potential users to cheap Android devices.

7) But I don’t think Apple would do a device just focused on particular foreign markets. Their product lines are very simple and for the most part worldwide. I imagine that any “cheap iPhone” would be on sale in the U.S. as well. So… pre-paid?

8) I do think Apple has to be careful here. While Gene Munster doesn’t seem too worried about the margins (thinking this phone would attract users that wouldn’t normally buy an iPhone), if such a device was popular enough, it would definitely drive down Apple’s famous margins. Users, of course, won’t and shouldn’t give a shit about that, but investors will (and Apple should — the iPhone dominates their bottom line). Just wait until we see what the iPad mini does to the margin this quarter.

Why does it necessarily have to drive down margins?

The “Cheap iPhone”

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‘Yota’ Smartphone uses second e-Paper display on back.

 The 4.3 inch Android phone features a grayscale e-Paper display on the back, able to show any information or image from the main front screen. By swiping down on the main screen with two fingers, a screen shot is transferred to the back display. This could allow a map to be stored easily to be re-checked later, for example.

Apps can also be developed to send information to the screen, allowing uses such as an eReader, an always-present alert system or a post-it note. A small touch sensitive area next to the e-Paper screen allows users to flip between pages of a book or interact with apps which use the second screen.

e-Paper displays only use power when they change, so it shouldn’t be a huge battery drain. The phone runs Android 4.1, has a dual-core Snapdragon CPU, 2GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of internal storage. The company is looking for carrier partners in the US, but may still launch under it’s own brand there in the future.