Donald Jenkins
New York NY 10003 United States

Blog posts

Leavers have no political mandate to inflict constitutional and economic suicide on the UK: a general election is sufficient to return us to sanity

There is a way out of the unprecedented crisis in which the UK has been plunged by the Brexit referendum. Constitutionally, the result does not bind the Government or Parliament, which alone holds the power to initiate the withdrawal procedure enshrined in article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. In the calamitous situation unleashed on the country by the referendum result, and especially given the inadequacy of the mandate that the Leavers purport to hold in consequence of the referendum, the Government would unquestionably be acting, not only constitutionally, but in the national interest, by seeking a fresh political mandate to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union through an early general election.

Read the rest of this entry

The absurdity of Brexit

My belated contribution to the Brexit debate: I cannot see a single reason to vote to Leave. Neither the British economy, nor our exposure to immigration, nor even the sovereignty of the Queen in Parliament would be in any way enhanced by withdrawal, and there are plenty of reasons to fear our country will be weakened.

Read the rest of this entry

Papering over App Store problems

The challenges facing Adobe are shared by almost all productivity apps. Productivity apps are indispensable (and thus priceless) to some users Productivity apps usually have high learning curves Well-done productivity apps require significant investment up-front Productivity apps require regular maintenance and upgrades Unfortunately, app store economics don’t really work here. f you have a low […]

∞ Read the linked article

Prepare To Pay For Your Privacy

If you think the war on privacy and the rise of the surveillance state is bad enough in the First World, just imagine how bad it will be in nations where the people are poor, their governments have few checks and balances, and there’s no tradition of civil liberties. And surveillance technology gets cheaper much […]

∞ Read the linked article

The Facebook cult devotees haven’t been silenced by the botched IPO

Facebook is indeed, as Blodget says, extremely expensive relative to its expected earnings over the next year or two. But, unlike most businesses, Facebook’s long-term upside has nothing to do with its expected earnings over the next year or two. It’s believed by many to be extraordinarily valuable not because of its advertising income but because it has a real chance of becoming a company unlike any that has ever existed before, with the possible exception of pre-breakup AT&T.

It’s amazing how the idea that Facebook somehow succeeded in abolishing the traditional business model (its ‘upside has nothing to do with its expected earnings over the next year or two’) is surviving even the most botched IPO in stock market history. Despite this article being almost surreal in its naivety, it makes fascinating reading.

∞ Read the linked article

Facebook: not quite staring into the abyss yet

Facebook isn’t staring into the abyss—yet. But Mr Zuckerberg, like many of his generation, appears structurally incapable of long-term planning. He should have been acutely concerned at the fact that his brainchild’s IPO valuation, at about 65 times consensus 2013 estimated earnings per share, was, by any stretch of the imagination, absurd. Despite the post-IPO correction, it still is. And the idea that Facebook might somehow solve the trap into which it is being drawn in mobile by developing a phone runs directly counter to everything we’ve learned to distrust about the company.

Read the rest of this entry

Apple, Google and Microsoft: have the basic strategic rules stayed immutable?

When Microsoft set its sights on a market, it would squeeze the life out of the market leader like an anconda wrapping itself around its prey. Before it was done, the company struck numerous segments, including personal computing (Apple and IBM), word processing (WordPerfect), spreadsheets (Lotus), databases (Borland and Sybase), networking (Novell) and Internet browsers (Netscape).

It’s not hyperbole to say that Apple’s phoenix-like rise and Google’s ascent are directly and positively correlated with Gates’ decision to step away from running his company as CEO in 2000.

A remarkably prescient look at Apple and Google’s recent strategies compared with Microsoft’s in times now past.

∞ Read the linked article

Stuff I couldn’t do without in 2012

My annual celebration of various materialist things this year includes loincloths, shoes with holes in them and, of course, the full list of super-hype software that any Apple fanboy must use at this point in time on pain of being ridiculous.

Read the rest of this entry