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Thomas Baekdal
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Lives in Vejle, Denmark
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Thomas Baekdal

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If you are one of those people who can't decide if you should get a cup of coffee or a smoothie in the morning? Well... check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IO-8Vb8DUrE

Personally, I don't drink coffee (I stopped about 8 years ago)... but I'm now thinking I need to do some smoothie experiments with different types of tea ;)
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My grandfather, who is sadly no longer with us (died last year) and seen here with my niece, once told me something brilliant. Always have one extra month of salary in your bank account.

It's such a simple advice, and yet so brilliant. Having a full month salary as a 'buffer' in case something goes wrong, is perhaps the most important thing I have ever done with my money (after spending the first 10 years of my life in crippling debt). The peace that it gives you is immense, and it gives you the space to make better decisions.

Thank you for that grandfather!

Today, I have extended the same line of thinking to my business. My goal is to always have one year of revenue in reserve. So before I even started, that was what I saved up for.

True, there have been some very sketchy moments during the past five years (I made so little money the first two years that I basically used up all my reserve money), I'm now getting close to reaching that goal as well. That is, I now have (almost) one full year of revenue standing, in reserve, on my bank account ...in case something happens.

So this is my advice to all the startups out there (at least the ones not backed up by VC money). Set it as a financial goal to:

1. Become cashflow positive as fast as possible
2. Build up enough buffer so that you have one year of buffer.
3. Expand from there.

...or rather, it was my grandfather's advice.

It's not what the high-flying VCs will tell you, because they are all focusing on startups as an investment rather than as a business. But as I tweeted yesterday:

Stop having an 'exit plan', start having a 'I will be doing this forever' plan.

And of course, all the very successful companies do this as well.

- Apple does (almost). It had $182 billion in revenue, and $155 billion in cash reserve.
- Google does. It had $29 billion in revenue, and $35 billion in cash reserve.
- New York Times is trying to have it. It had $1.5 billion in revenue, and $1 in cash reserve.
- IKEA is also close. It had €29 billion in revenue, and €17 billion is cash reserves.
- Not to mention, most VCs have this as well.

Many other companies don’t have a year’s revenue in reserve, but a year’s cost in reserve. Meaning that, even if they completely stopped selling all their products today, they will still be able to pay all their expensive (salary, buildings, etc) for a full year before going bankrupt.

I think this is incredibly important.

BTW: Obviously, I don’t make billions, or even millions (or even a million). My business is rather small :)

I have seen startups who are starting out with no money. So instead of building something great, they are forced to pitch whatever idea they have to VC before they even know if they can do it (and it usually ends in tears).

Mind you, I have nothing against VCs as such. If you have a really great idea and you can match that with an investment from a really great VC, what they are essentially doing is to give you enough buffer to make your idea come true. The problem I have with VCs is that it’s just a loan. They expect to get a return on their investment, and in a fairly quick manner as well. This has a tendency to produce only a certain type of startups (those who focus only at creating platforms at scale), which isn’t always the right model for your idea.

I have also seen startups only saving up enough to pay their expenses for the next two months, giving them so little time to build their new business that they fail before they even start.

No matter what, you need that one year of buffer. Not just for the money, but also for the time that it allows you to have to focus on the long term.

My grandfather was rather smart this way. He was the station master for the local railroad, responsible for its day to day operations. So, as you might say, he knew how to run a railroad ;)
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In the early nineties Sweden had a Minister of Finance who has also, by the way, passed away since. She once became (in)famous for expressing her opinion that every citizen should keep a year worth of salary accessible on a bank account. However sound an idea or vision, the problem was (and most probably is) that only a very small fraction of the population had/has the financial strength to keep such a large buffer, thus the minister, who certainly belonged to that tiny fraction while having a salary way above Swedish average, received some due critique. 
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Spot on!
 
Sorry, tech press. Google+ is alive and well.

(Read my column: http://goo.gl/Z6sQ6w )

A chorus of tech journalists this week is saying that Google is phasing out its social network, Google+.

Where did they get this juicy nugget of information? Well, they made it up. And I'll tell you why.

But first, let's look at what the press is saying and compare that with reality:

http://www.eweek.com/cloud/google-is-alive-and-well-despite-persistent-media-reports.html

#GooglePlus #Google+
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I'm so drunk right now but that's so awesome that Google's not going away
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Thomas Baekdal

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They say today is 'International Tiger Day' ... which is silly.
Every day should be 'Tiger day' :)

...and yes, I took this picture all the way back in 2007 in a wildlife park. So majestic and so peaceful. I want to be a tiger in my next life.
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At least we have Caturday every week.
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I’m starting to think I need to buy a new computer. You see, the computer that I use today is a Mid-2012 MacBook Pro 15” Retina. Or rather, it’s the high-end Mid-2012 MacBook Pro with all the specs maxed out when I bought it. It has the fastest SSD, the fastest graphics card, and the fastest processor … of 2012.

And back when I first bought it, it was a stunning machine. It's fast, extremely well made, and just a joy to be had. 

But, of course, now that it’s three years old, things are not as good as they used to be. The battery is worn out and telling me that to ‘[!] Service Battery’. One of the fans is slightly wonky, although I kind of fixed it. But the main problems is that… it’s sloooow. 

The Mid-2012 top of the line NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphic card can’t keep up with anything these days. Taking the Unigine Heaven Ultra test and it only gets 11 FPS on average, but going as low as 5.4 FPS. 

It’s that bad.

You see, I have four requirements for my computer:

1. It must be very good. I spend so much time on it that even the smallest annoyances quickly build up to become seriously annoying issues. Apple is great at this.
2. It must be a laptop. Not really because of the size, but more because I like just bringing my MacBook over to my couch and still be able to get the max performance. (If I’m just writing, my iPad does quite well too).
3. It must be quiet. I’m absolutely allergic to noise. I can’t stand it. And I especially can’t stand the noise coming from computer fans. Apple, again, is excellent at this (well, most of the time anyway).
4. It must be able to play games. The reason is that I don’t watch TV at night. My TV isn’t even plugged into any channels (except for my Chromecast). Instead, I like to spend an enjoyable evening playing a game, like the new Anno 2707 when it comes out. The problem is that my old Mid-2012 MacBook simply can’t do that anymore. It’s too old.

So… the obvious choice should simply be to buy the new 2015 MacBook Pro, right?

Well… yes and no.

You see, the problem is that it’s exceptionally expensive. If I were to get the version comparable to what I bought back in 2012, it would cost DKK 23,219, which is roughly $3,450. 

That’s a lot! 

And while I love the MacBook, I do not really think it’s worth such an excessive price.

So, I started looking around, and the result is what you see in the graph below, where I have compared performance with price.

The first thing you will notice is that the MacBook is incredibly expensive, but not that fast. Notice how my 2012 Mac is actually faster than the entry-level 2015 MacBook Pro you can buy today. How crazy is that? 

This is one of the things that annoys me about Apple these days. When I first started buying MacBooks, they blow away every other laptop. 

Back when I was working at a fashion company, the IT department got me the fastest, top-of-the line IBM/Lenovo laptop money could buy. It had the fastest processor and the fastest graphic card. And yet, it was still four times slower than my private MacBook. That was how awesome Apple used to be. 

But then, Apple turned into the iPhone company that it is today, and the MacBook line kind started being a computer for everyone. The result is what we see today. It’s still a pretty good computer in terms of build quality, but it’s only has mediocre performance. 

Even the top of the link MacBook Pro that you can buy today, with the AMD R9 graphic card, isn’t really that fast. MacBook’s today perform about the same as any other mid-level laptop.

So… a friend of mine suggested that I should just buy a MacBook Air… but as you can see, it only has half the performance of my 2012 MacBook Pro. So, yeah… pretty crappy. Same with the Mac Mini, pretty expensive, terrible performance specs.

I could also buy a 5K iMac, which is a stunning computer, and a beast in terms of performance. But, it’s not a laptop, and it’s way too costly.

What about a Dell XPS? I used to own those back in the mid-2000s. They were good computers. But, no. Today they have terrible specs and are terrible priced. It’s crap.

We could look at the HP models (as well as many Lenovo models), but again… they perform about the same as a Macbook Pro, so… hmm… not interested. 

You see how I keep coming back to the MacBook, even though it’s far from the best choice?

Of course, I could go completely mad and just go for one of the new gaming laptops. Mind you, in the past this was a stupid choice. 

Gaming laptops weren’t actually that much faster, they were ugly as hell, they often overheated and became too hot to use on your lap, they were also too heavy, costs way too much money, made so much noise from the fans that you couldn’t sit the same room, and they made you look like a dork. 

Many of these problems still exist today, but it is getting a lot better. The noise problem has mostly been solved due to far better cooling tech and design. This has also mostly solved the heating problem, both the Alienware and the ASUS are cooler under load than the MacBook Pro. They are fast as hell, all easily beating the MacBook Pro by miles, they are still pretty heavy, but not as excessively so as before … but they are still pretty ugly. 

I am tempted though. The performance is just crazy, AND they are only 2/3 the price of the Macbook. They are actually cheaper than the low-performance entry level Macbook Pro.

Yeah… I really can’t decide :)

What I’m actually thinking is this: 
1. Buy a beast of a gaming laptop for home (probably the Asus or the Alienware, depending on which one is the quietest)
2. Buy a Chromebook (one of the better designed higher end models) for when I just want to write somewhere. 

I could do both and still come out cheaper than buying a MacBook Pro.

Buying the new MacBook Pro 2015 model? Eeerrr... I really want to, but... that price! You pay a helluva lot for that Apple logo. 

What do you think?
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I'm not a gamer but when i want to play a game it won't be on a laptop because the thing gets very hot to touch and the  mobility is hindered by the power line. Then the need for solid network is a must for serious online gaming again dangling another cable to a laptop, prone to accidents and such.

Your graphs show that there's little correlation between the cost of a laptop and 3d (test bench) performance. If you have a gaming PC (a good graphic card really) or a dedicated hardware gaming machine,, you can get better mileage of both.

MacBooks are incredible machines  if we leave the 3d performance on a less important place  
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Did you know that Bug Bunny is 75 years old today. He came to life on July 27, 1940 in the short film A Wild Hare.
http://time.com/3967572/bugs-bunny-75/

I have watched every single Bugs Bunny video ever made, and today I still love the occasional fun with Bugs and his friends. 

There is another interesting thing about these old videos. They are the forerunner for social videos. Think about it. Each video is 7 minutes long, which is the perfect form of snackable content for people needing a break. But unlike most videos that we see today, Bug Bunny was not created as the result of a content strategy, trying to optimize content for scale and volume at the lowest cost. Bugs Bunny was the product of love, care, and amazing creative effort. 

We could all learn something from this. If you want to create snackable content, don't do what most people do today. Do what Warner Brothers did back in the 1940s. They were the absolute masters of creating quick, efficient and delightful videos that people absolutely love. 
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Im very thankful to all of you guys..I love this. Very awesome 
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If you haven't seen it yet, Wired's story about how Chrysler/Jeep cars can be hacked is extremely shocking. Just look at the video at the top of the article.

Three things comes to mind:

1. Why the heck is any part of the car controllable remotely via the infotainment system? Why are those two systems even two-way connected? More to the point, why isn't the input of data cleaned. That's security 101.

2. Why did Chrysler have to physically recall the cars to issue an security update. If the hackers can control the entire car remotely, why can't Chrysler update it remotely?

3. They performed this test on an actual high-way, in traffic??? Seriously? I get that it created a much more powerful message, but that's insane!

http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/
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+Jan Bruun Andersen there is a good discussion on the Android board on how this exploit is mostly benign because it would need a second exploit to escape the sandbox and would have no direct access to the file system. 
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As you may have heard, a lot of people (and journalists) are talking about this 'blue moon' thing, as if it's something special. It's not. It's actually an example of human cluelessness. Let me explain ... :)

Blue moon is when there are two full moons in the same calendar month. In July, we had a full moon on July 2nd, and then again on July 31th. The first full moon was just a regular full moon, while the second full moon, called a blue moon, is also just a regular full moon.

No, it's not blue or even blueish. No, it's not some fancy astronomical event, nor is it a part of some cosmic phenomenon. It's a just a regular full moon. 

Here is the problem. Traditionally, we are defining a day as being the time it takes for the Earth to spin around itself. A month is the time it takes for the Moon to spin around Earth. And, a year is the time it takes for Earth to spin around the Sun.

So how long does it take for the Moon to orbit Earth? Well, that is a surprisingly complicated question to answer. 

Generally there are two ways of defining it. We can define it as the actual astronomical time that it takes for the moon to complete one full orbit. This is called a real orbit, or a ’sidereal’ month. 

And a real lunar month is only 27.322 days. 

Yep, our moon actually orbits Earth 13.4 times per year, not 12 as you might have thought. 

However, since Earth is moving around the Sun as well, a full moon (and a new moon) isn’t related to the orbit of the moon, but rather the position of the moon in relation to the Sun, and our perspective of it from Earth.

This is called a Synodic month, or the time it takes for the Moon to position itself in the same place relative to the Sun and us. And this happens every 29.531 days. This means that we get a full moon 12.368 times per year.

If you think this is confusing, take a look at the wonderful animation below, made by W. H. Freeman back in 2004 (http://goo.gl/HvgnJR).

So, the reason why we had two full moons last month was not anything special happened. Instead, it’s simply because our moon doesn’t care about how silly we humans have defined a month.

We, as the Moon would say, got our calendars wrong. In fact, it's not even August. Since the moon orbits 13.4 times around the Earth, we are currently in this extra month which I will call 'awesome-month' ;)
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👍
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Some people are just crazy talented...
How to turn a picture of from today into a picture of the future:

~via https://www.artstation.com/artwork/lockdown-b21215a7-50bf-4b53-8b53-fef2d819d8ec

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19zCs2vIGMc
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How many users do you have on your site? That should be a simple question to answer, but it almost never is. And the worst part is that we usually don't know whether our data is accurate or not.

But there is one situation where we do have pretty accurate numbers, and it gives you a glimpse of how crooked your audience numbers really are. Here is how to test this yourself.

The Unique User Reality Check:
http://www.baekdal.com/analysis/the-unique-user-reality-check/
Anyone who has ever tried to analyze the performance of a website are familiar with the problem of inaccurate data. I have written about this in so many of my articles. It's not that the analytics tools are directly trying mislead us, it's just that there is a limit to how accurate we can measure things.
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So... the fake profile spam that we have over at Twitter seems to be spreading to G+ as well. All of these are newly created accounts, all containing about the same type of posts ... and all of them started following me.

Over at Twitter, this happens when companies selling followers need to create a batch of seemingly real accounts. They will add a bunch of accounts, fill them with seemingly real activities (posts, favorites, comments, people they follow), so that they later sell them to clueless brands desperate for fake attention.

I can only assume it's the same thing that is happening here.

This is the new level of spam. It's not actually directed at you or me, but we are drawn into because they are using us to legitimize their actions. And, they skew our real follower numbers, which is really annoying.

In a month's time, they will likely be gone again, since I'm sure Google will remove them. But by that time a thousand other fake accounts will have been made.

What really annoys me about this is that this whole thing is probably done by only one or two people. But with the way the internet works today, we can't stop them. We can only block each of their thousands of accounts, one at the time. It's same about all other types of spam.

We need a new online authentication system. We need a way to stop people rather than things. Imagine if you could say 'block this person, regardless of how many fake accounts he creates'. Yes, yes, I know... there are a lot of problems with that line of thinking, but still.
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What's unfortunate is that having to sign up with your real name was how to keep this from happening, and that's how it was on G+. This had to be changed because people were suddenly unable to use the other Google products in the same way they had before because of the forced integration of G+ into those products.
Being my choice of social network, I hope it accomplishes it's original goals when Google inevitably reworks/brands it. 
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Too funny :)
 
This is specifically for all my Analyst peers.

I have to admit it took me a second, and then I burst out laughing! It is pretty funny. And, a real issue.

Hope you love it.
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hahaha
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Writer, social advocate, and magazine owner
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  • Baekdal.com
    Writer, social advocate, magazine owner, and internet manager, present
  • Baekdal.com
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Owner of Baekdal.com (magazine about new media), author, analysts... and social media teddy bear :)
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I spend my life asking just one question: "Why?" ...and then I write articles and books about the answer.
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