my digital nationalism

looking for Indonesia's significance on the web

Archive for the ‘hi-tech’ Category

Why hasn’t Google+ crossed the chasm?

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After reading this excellent post on Mashable about Google+, I found myself wondering, why hasn’t google+ reached facebook level membership?

At the moment G+ has 170 million members, which is a huge number of users and remarkable achievement in its first year, but still that number is less than the number of users facebook grew in the last year, which is from 700 million to 900 million this year.

I attempted to create this simple graphic illustrating the situation:

This graphic captures the situation with google+, that while it is still very popular with a huge user base, but it appears that its appeal is still limited to a very select audience, mainly tech/social media enthusiasts. Facebook, on the other hand, has definitely crossed into mainstream the market, even into our daily lives and culture.

How can we explain this? Why is Facebook so successful, while g+, bearing the google name and unlimited resources, has not yet crossed the chasm?

EDIT:

I have to be honest, when writing this blog post I had not visited google+ in a while. This is what I realized. The mainstream kinda sucks, in terms of the quality of content. Just like how Reddit’s frontpage is so mainstreamified that in order to get to a quality post you have to sift through  a mountain pointless memes, I have just realized that my facebook stream is full of updates of people I know but to be honest not very interesting. My google+ stream, in contrast, is full interesting content, it could be because the people I follow, but it is also because there is a general air of intellectuality in google+ that is lost on facebook, well, lost or never did exist in the first place.

So maybe for google+, it’s best that they stay where they are.

What do you think? If you beg to differ, please feel free to comment.

Written by randomwalls

June 28, 2012 at 9:26 am

Building Something

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So I mentioned in my post before that I have been picking up coding. I am taking an online course on MIT OpenCourseWare, I am learning the basics of Python from learnpythonthehardway.org, which is an excellent way to get acquainted with the basics of coding, and also reading the book Think Python, which is also an excellent book to learn the foundations of programming.

On the side I am also learning HTML at w3schools.com. An from this I decided to start my own website, which I am proud to show here, www.gumoh.net.

I know its not much at the moment, but I am proud to say that I worked on this site on my own, with some assistance in purchasing the domain and setting up the host server. The coding is all done in HTML edited with notepad ++, and my FTP client to upload files to server is WinSCP.

Also, the site is mobile responsive meaning that if you view it using your laptop it will show 3 columns, but if you resize your window, or, you are viewing on your iphone or android phone browser the layout will resize to single column, like this:

I thought this was pretty cool and I was surprised how simple this was to implement. I may not understand the underlying coding involved to make this thing happen yet, but that is something I intend to learn over time. The framework I used to make this responsive site is GetSkeleton.

I am reminded of something I read on the learnpythonthehardway.org, it’s that learning to code is like learning a musical instrument. Before you write music you have to learn the chords, before you understand the chords you have learn the scales, before you learn the scales you have to learn how to move your fingers. And that is the stage that I am at, I am learning to move my fingers on the instrument an getting a feel of what I can do with this.

On a closing note, It’s a really exciting feeling working on something and seeing it come to life, and I am getting as excited about learning to code as I was about learning to play guitar almost 20 years ago when I was a teenager.

Hopefully I will learn something useful that I can use to build something that I can call my own.

Written by randomwalls

June 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm

The 3 Tech Giants: Income Statements Compared

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You can tell a lot about a company by looking at its financials.

The purpose of this post is to look at income statements of Apple, Google, and Facebook. And we try to point out any interesting similarities or differences between these companies, based on the numbers. Of course these 3 companies work in different industries and the numbers are not comparable to each other, but what I’m trying to do here is to get some feel of what the margins and cost structure of these giants are.

(Apple and Google income statements are taken from the latest 10-k filing, and Facebook’s income statement is taken from their from S-1, with some formatting done by myself for comparison purposes.)

So here they are,

What can we learn from this?

1) Net Sales/Revenues, Apple currently makes way more money (net sales/revenues) than google and Facebook combined. With the popularity of its products it’s no wonder Apple is the most valuable tech company in the world. It’s net income (profits), though the lowest of the 3 in terms of percentage of revenues (24%), are the biggest in terms of real dollars, 25.9 billion dollars, almost 3 times as much as google’s profits and 25 times Facebook profits. Please note that the profits in terms of percentages of revenues between the companies are not far off with apple, google, and Facebook at 24%, 26%, and 27%

2) Gross Margins, In terms of gross margin however, Facebook is leading the pack with a 77% gross margin, while google is second at 65% and Apple at 40%. This is because the difference in industries, Facebook and Google are internet companies whose costs of revenue are mainly salaries, revenue share to publishers, and data center costs. It’s online presence allows it to deliver its services at a relatively cheap price and it shows in the gross margins. Apple, on the other hand, is a brick and mortar manufacturing and retail company. They have raw material costs, production and distribution costs, including the costs to staff, stock, and maintain the apple stores they have all over the world.

3) What about Research and Development? No surprise that Google leads the pack with an R&D budget of $5.1 billion dollars (14% of revenue). Apple on the other hand only allocates 2% of its total revenue (2.4 billion dollars) to R&D. Facebook allocates 388 million dollars to R&D, around 10% of its total revenue. Please note that even though Apple only contributes 2% of its sales, that amount is more than enough for apple to keep generating new products. I wonder what would happen if Apple allocated more than that to R&D, what kind of new products would we see in the future?

4) Selling, general and Administrative and Total Operating Expense, Apple’s selling, general and administrative (SGA) costs total 7% of total revenue (7.59 billion dollars), while and google and Facebook’s SGA costs are a higher percentage of revenue (21% and 20%) but lower in terms of dollar values (7.8 billion dollars and 707 million dollars). Whats amazing to me is that in terms of Total Operating Expense, Apple is the most efficient of three with a total operating expense of 9% of revenues (10 billion dollars), which is even lower than google’s total operating expense of 12.9 billion dollars, around 34% of google’s total revenues. Facebook’s total operating expense is 1 billion dollars, 30% of total revenues. This demonstrates that Apple is an incredibly efficient company, and no wonder its profits are so high. These high profits are also due to the fact that they can get away with selling items at ridiculously high prices.

So there we have it, the income statements of the 3 tech giants today compared side by side. What do you think, any ideas or comments?

Written by randomwalls

April 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm