The Critical Path #154: Come Fly With Me

Horace and Anders talk about the “Plug Bug”, safety in the aircraft industry and take listener questions.

Source: The Critical Path #154

  • Jacob Williams

    I think you know the motivation behind Apple’s integration of adblock Horace. It’s a message to advertisers: “If you want your ad displayed on this device, you’ll have to buy it from us.”

    • neutrino23

      I’m not sure I agree. My suspicion is that it fits with what Tim Cook has said publicly about Apple providing privacy to customers as a feature of Apple products. Apple doesn’t rely on money from ads as other companies do.

      Ads are a funny feature of life. I often hear people say they don’t mind ads if they are funny or for interesting products (like the old Apple ads with John Hodgman and Justin Long). But Apple doesn’t really need to do a lot of ads. The people who really need ads are almost by definition the ones you don’t want to see. Ads for drugs for rare diseases, floor polishers, deodorants, etc. Small companies have to pay for fairly obnoxious ads in order to get their name out there.

    • How can this be? Apple has no control over ad platforms selling through the app store. iAd was an attempt to solve the problem of brand advertising on mobile. At the time it was common for companies to do brand campaigning via custom-built apps. I remember a toilet paper app. Brand development is in crisis because the most appropriate medium (TV) is largely absent from the audiences which can still be persuaded on brand preference (teen to 30 years). The problem is still unsolved.

      • Jacob Williams

        How can you say iAd was an attempt to solve a problem with mobile ads and not attribute that same motive to Facebook? Are they trying to save brands or make tons of money off of selling user data? It was and is an attempt to profit.

        Apple does have control over ad platforms selling through the app store. They can change the TOS. Platforms do it all the time to content producers. It won’t be long until Amazon sends out an email with an update that requires authors to remove their affiliate links in their ebooks. YouTube is now clamping down on content sponsors as well by not allowing us to display any company logo.

        I’m open to having my mind changed.

      • Jacob Williams

        Ads on Apple’s mobile devices outperform on clicks per impressions and have longer video ad view times.

        According to this most up to date study, iOS has 22% of mobile traffic and is responsible for 45% of mobile ad revenue.

        Are we sure Apple isn’t getting ads right? It appears they’re doing a better job than most.

  • neutrino23

    Have regulations really slowed down aviation technology that much? It seems that NASA and many universities, as well as private companies, are doing a lot of aeronautical research. By necessity this is fairly big budget stuff. The days of people like Goddard building rockets in the garage are far behind us. We now have private companies delivering stuff by rocket to the ISS. That seems like a big deal.

    Also, the world is quite populated now. I don’t want someone’s airplane experiment to come crashing into my house. For that matter, I don’t want Amazon drones buzzing through the neighborhood delivering packages. I value the relative quiet of the area around my home. If that makes life hard for Amazon or Google that is too bad. They can find another way to make a buck.

    Here in San Francisco we saw the Korean airliner crash at SFO because the pilots relied too much on their automation (and apparently weren’t well trained). I fly a lot and I’m quite happy that commercial aviation is highly regulated and that US pilots are well trained.

  • rational2

    Thank you for addressing my question on real estate disruption. Of course, I was asking about the real estate brokerage/agency industry that has monopolized buying and selling. And in that process, in the U.S., they take a hefty 6% of the sale. This is very high margin considering the diminishing value the brokers/agents add to the transaction.

    Software is helping people find and research homes and neighborhoods in much more detail without any help from agents. They can get lot of free information from public records. There is not much value offered by an agent, and much less by two colluding agents, to a buyer. The whole deal is misrepresented as a “commission free” experience for the buyer, while in fact, it is the buyer who is paying everyone in the transaction.

    Both agents are working for the seller. Then there are appraisers who are doing relative valuations and generally greasing the wheels of the sales process along with the inspectors and other assorted actors that all extract their share from the buyer.

    And then there is the buyer, often borrowing hefty amounts from the bank, focused solely on monthly payments and completely oblivious to the principal and the total payment over the loan period. It’s the typical uninformed borrower/buyer that’s helping this corrupt enterprise thrive.

    So how does this massively inefficient and high margin, with too many middlemen, industry get disrupted? I think software and information is one part and is already in place. The more important part is how real estate purchases are financed. We have had easy financing, even after 2008. Buyers will pay more attention to the costs if they end up putting more cash down. I don’t know how financing industry might change to encourage buyers to pay more attention.

    I do realize that thinking about this from a job-to-be-done perspective, the job a broker/agent us hired to do is to reduce anxiety by separating buyers and sellers. It’s just that the price extracted for this job is way too high. Hopefully those high margins are disrupted by someone who manages to reduce buyer/seller anxiety with fewer intermediaries and lower margins.