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Archive: May 23, 2005

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The new world currency

Monday,  05/23/05  08:23 PM

I was EVP/Engineering of PayPal for a while - something of which I'm quite proud, although the company was already on path for major success before I joined - and at that time, 2001, we used the slogan "PayPal, the new world currency".  This is something we actually believed, even back when everything was done in dollars; all the conference rooms were named after currencies.  (As I recall "Yuan" and "Won" were adjacent, leading to a bit of confusion :)

Anyway the latest issue of the Economist has an interesting survey of international finance, and I was curious to see where, in the eyes of this magazine's London editors, PayPal fit in.  They don't get it, at least, not yet...

From: Ole Eichhorn [mailto:ole@pacbell.net]
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 6:35 PM
To: 'letters@economist.com'
Subject: PayPal revisited

Dear Sirs:

In your otherwise excellent and accurate recent survey of international payments, your correspondent notes “Even PayPal, which is used for payments on eBay, an internet auction site, is only an intermediary between the bank accounts of the buyer and seller.”  This is false.  PayPal is an online transaction system where account holders make deposits and withdrawals, and transfer funds from one to another in payment for services entirely outside conventional financial institutions.  There are currently 71M accounts held by users in 45 countries, and funds may be held in any of six currencies.  PayPal pays interest on deposits, offers debit cards, and facilitates online bill payment, among other banking services.  PayPal is indeed useful on eBay for settlement, and this is its largest market, but an estimated 42,000 websites accept PayPal as an alternative to credit cards.

To those who thought “the internet would come to replace the simpler parts of the banking system”, this has indeed come true.  It is only a matter of time before this disruptive technology’s attack from the bottom of the market upward becomes felt by major banks.

Thanks for your attention.

Ole

 

From: Letters to the Editor [mailto:lettersmailbox@economist.com]
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 6:37 PM
To: ole@pacbell.net
Subject: Re: PayPal revisited

The Editor wishes to acknowledge your email with thanks.

It will be passed on to the appropriate person.

Stay tuned...

 

Monday,  05/23/05  08:54 PM

According to geekinformed.com, by 2050 you will be able to download your brain.  "Dr. Pearson thinks that today's younger generation will benefit from the advances in technology to the point that death will be effectively eliminated."  Very reassuring, I might still be alive in 2050.  This was the excellently executed premise behind Altered Carbon, the terrific sci-fi novel by Richard Morgan.  [ via Slashdot ]

This does of course have interesting consequences for Unnatural Selection!  When memes run the world, turnover among genes is no longer interesting or important.  In fact, immortality is the ultimate gene-stopping meme.

Allen Orr gives a terrific overview of "Intelligent Design", the latest in the long line of Creationist attempts at pseudo-science.  "The movement’s main positive claim is that there are things in the world, most notably life, that cannot be accounted for by known natural causes and show features that, in any other context, we would attribute to intelligence."  Perfect.  So it you can't explain something, you give up and postulate magic.  [ via Panda's Thumb ]

Chris Anderson wonders is the Long Tail full of crap?  Quick answer: Yes.  Slower answer: Yes, but, it is also full of stuff which is every bit as good as the popular stuff at the head.  Mass appeal does not equal "quality".  Consider Aston Martins, they are definitely targeting a niche, but they are definitely not crap.  Great point.

Slate on the Search for 100 Million Missing Women.  "While Oster found, for instance, that Hepatitis B can account for roughly 75 percent of the missing women in China, it can account for less than 20 percent of the boy-girl gap in Sen's native India."  This pretty much defies synopsis, please read it when you can.  Fascinating.

gas prices!YAUFGM - yet another use for Google maps: find the cheapest gas.  Wow, is that ever a market leveler!  [ via blogging.la ]  Pretty soon those little cell phone apps which read UPC codes to do price checks in stores will have maps to show you were to go for a lower price :)

Microsoft is again fast-following; as Scoble reports on Channel 9, "Virtual Earth" is under construction (this link is to movie).  So be it.  Can't wait for v3 of Virtual Earth in 2008, when it works.

So, I am officially a non-participant in the great podcasting hype-a-thon of 2005.  I think blogging is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or maybe since Gutenberg, but podcasting is always going to have a narrower audience.  It just isn't possible to "fast forward" through audio to skim it, and that's the beauty of blogs.  I don't have the time to listen to anyone - no matter how interesting - for extended periods of time.  What about you?

Sigh, even Business Week is podcasting.  I predict this fad will indeed be a fad, and in two years will have gone the way of all fads.  It has its place, but it is not anywhere near as fundamental as the web or blogging.  Furthermore when video podcasting takes hold - coming soon - it won't get that big either (except maybe as a vehicle for amateur porn and other entertainment).

Jeff Atwood is blogging about blogging:

  • you have to want to write
  • you have to believe you have something to say
  • you have to have an interesting way of saying it
  • you have to be a decent (not great, but decent) writer
  • you have to enable blog comments

I agree with all but the last; my comment, left on Jeff's blog (since he does have comments):

"I agree with everything except 'you must have comments, period'.  I've had a blog for several years which doesn't have comments.  I do consider it a blog as [I think] do my subscribers and visitors and linkers.  People respond to me via email or by posting on their blogs, and we link back and forth.  I'm not opposed to comments but I've never felt I had the bandwidth to moderate comments; seems like you have to spend time weeding out spam and flames and stuff like that, and I haven't have it."

So what do you think, any comments?

USB lava lampFinally, continuing the great tradition of making everything USB-powered, here we have the USB lava lamp.  [ via Engadget ]  I am not making this up, and I want one :)

 

 

 
 

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