☆ On 'Secret' In Journalism

A few recent events have me thinking: could Secret be the next big thing?

It's easy to toss out the moniker 'the next big thing' without backing it up, but I'm going to reach for justification.

Before I do, let me look at how something becomes the next big thing. In this space, comparable examples could be Instagram and Snapchat. Looking at the big picture, both those services escalated in popularity because they did one thing well, they did it cool and they did it different.

With Secret - they have a solid application, a solid premise and the trust of their users. What they do, they do it well.

Secret is also pretty cool. I mean, how awesome is it to invite all your friends to a service which allows you to swap secrets without knowing who they belong to. Cool, right?

To define how they are different, we have to look at what came before them. Post Secret (as many of you are familiar with) allowed people to mail secrets on a postcard to an author, who then published them in the book anonymously.

Now enter Secret. The premise is much the same (if I'm painting with broad strokes). Just like Post Secret, users can anonymously submit a secret, displayed only with their city and an image of their choosing. Users can invite friends, and be automatically notified when they share a secret (even though they won't know which friend it came from).

Most would expect that Secret would be a ground for hateful remarks, stories of deceit - and for the most part, they are right. But a new trend has been forming recently, and it's interesting to me.

Today Vic Gundotra - who led the creation of Google+ - quit Google. What most people don't know, is that news of this first broke on Secret a few days ago.

Did he post it himself? Who knows.

It's intriguing a story as impactful as this was posted first on Secret. If the secret wasn't from Vic Gundotra, one has to wonder how many new outlets this tip was shopped to.

It fits into a new paradigm in today's tech journalism, the act of reporting on one anonymous source. With the ease of sharing secrets, will Secret be the one anonymous source that new outlets use to break future stories?

It's hard to say what the future will hold for Secret and whether it will be the next big thing. One thing is for sure: Secret has garnered a lot of attention in a short amount of time - and that's grounds for an acquisition.

Algorithm Predicts How Popular An Instagram Photo Will Be

We investigate two key components of an image that guess its popularity, namely the image content and social context. Using a dataset of about 2.3 million images from Flickr, we demonstrate that we can reliably predict the normalized view count of images with a rank correlation of 0.81 using both image content and social cues. In this paper, we show the importance of image cues such as color, gradients, deep learning features and the set of objects present, as well as the importance of various social cues such as number of friends or number of photos uploaded that lead to high or low popularity of images.

Unfortunately it wasn't working when I tried it out.

Amazon Laying Groundwork for Delivery Service

The Journal notes that Amazon is "several years away" from becoming a full-fledged US delivery company  — assuming the company decides to pursue such a significant and challenging venture. But job listings suggest that Jeff Bezos is giving it serious thought. "Amazon is growing at a faster speed than UPS and FedEx, who are responsible for shipping the majority of our packages," reads one recent posting cited by the Journal. "At this rate Amazon cannot continue to rely solely on the solutions provided through traditional logistics providers. To do so will limit our growth, increase costs and impede innovation in delivery capabilities."

Anything is an improvement over the options we have right now (looking at you, UPS and Fedex).

Facebook Q1 Revenue Grows 72 Percent

Who is the product?

Facebook said that mobile ads represented 59 percent of its ad revenue in the first quarter, up from 30 percent in the year-ago period. Facebook's overall revenue grew 72 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion in the first quarter, above the $2.36 billion expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"They've got the right products for what advertisers are looking for and that's manifesting itself in the results you're seeing," said JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey.

Facebook's newsfeed ads, which inject paid marketing messages straight into a user's stream of news and content, have ignited Facebook's revenue growth and bolstered its stock price during the past year. The ads are ideally suited for the smaller-sized screens of smartphones and other mobile devices.

We are the product.

Steve Jobs in My Small World

Interesting story about a place few people knew about.

The apple farm Jobs took frequent trips to is called All One Farm, and to this day it still operates. Though they’re secretive about the exact location of the place (they don’t really want visitors poking around), I have heard it is somewhere off the beaten path about 10 miles north of McMinnville, near Gaston, Oregon. This is the same farm where Steve is rumored to have come up with the name “Apple” for his company when returning to the Bay Area after a trip.

Netflix is Raising Prices for New Members

Netflix is planning to raise prices by a buck or two.

In his company's Q1 letter to shareholders, CEO Reed Hastings said, "Our current view is to do a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only." Hastings then noted that existing customers will be able to stay at current monthly rates (e.g. $7.99 in the US) for a "generous" period of time. "I don’t think it’s a huge difference," he said of the price change during Netflix's afternoon earnings call.

You can still lock in the older rate by signing up now.