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Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, admitted on Sunday that he had never once used Taobao, the ebay-like flagship website for the ecommerce company he will be taking public later this year, writes Charles Clover and Ma Fangjing.
The odd sounding admission came in the middle of a rambling commencement speech to graduates of Tsinghua University on Sunday, in which he highlighted his humble origins and lack of professional experience. He needs to keep his emotional distance from his products, he said, so that he can make decisions about them objectively. And that apparently means not knowing how they work. Read more
From interfaces operated by gestures to digital ads that target the viewer, plenty of innovations were prophesied in ‘Minority Report’, writes Jeevan Vasagar in Berlin.
Rather fewer gee-whiz novelties were on view in the final scene, when three of the central characters were shown reading books in a cabin with smoke curling from the chimney. When Berlin-based audio site SoundCloud moves to its new offices, officially opened today, one of the rooms will take a leaf out of that final, low-tech image from the Steven Spielberg film. Read more
By Gautam Malkani
It was the geeks who made commerce cool. Or at least that’s the popular assumption. Silicon Valley’s tech scene supposedly did for business and entrepreneurism what James Dean did for denim.
Start-up founders became superstars and VC morphed into modern-day A&R. San Francisco’s earlier incarnations as the home of beat writers, hippies and counterculture in general merely reinforced this view.
Apple’s acquisition of Beats by Dr Dre may look like another case in point. But it isn’t. Instead it reminds us that, tech schmeck, business became hip because of hip-hop. Read more
The importance of small and medium-sized enterprises as engines of job creation is a well-established economic fact. In countries such as Italy and Spain, SMEs account for 70-80 per cent of the workforce, and for a similar proportion of all newly created jobs, writes Ferdinando Giugliano.
Much less is known, however, about which kinds of SMEs are better at boosting employment. The SMEs universe is varied, but distinguishing between them is essential for governments to direct their economic policies in an effective way.
Alibaba is taking a minority stake in China’s largest online video site, Youko Tudou, as it prepares for its own blockbuster initial public offering in the US.
Youko Tudou said on Monday that the Chinese e-commerce group, together with its founder Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, would jointly invest $1.2bn in the video site.
Alibaba will hold 16.5 per cent stake in Youku after the deal, with Yunfeng holding 2 per cent. Read more
In a handy coincidence of scheduling, Apple and Facebook will both report earnings after the market closes on Wednesday.
The two Silicon Valley giants will give Wall Street a fast look at the state of the mobile and online advertising markets, at a time when tech valuations are facing growing questions from investors like David Einhorn. Read more
The Heartbleed bug, a flaw discovered on encryption software used on about two-thirds of all websites, was created unintentionally, the programmer responsible has said.
Robin Seggelmann, a German programmer, described the flaw as the consequence of a “trivial” error in an update to OpenSSL, the software widely used to enable secure connections, writes Jeevan Vasagar. Read more
by Barney Jopson
Frustrated by not being able to dictate your shopping list to Amazon? Well, even if you weren’t, Jeff Bezos’s company has come up with a solution to the problem you never had.