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Zach Seward

Zach Seward

Chief product officer / executive editor at Quartz
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  • Zach Seward
    Zach Sewardcommented on this story

    HBO Go, HBO Now, and soon HBO Max. My head hurts already. People are already deeply confused between HBO Go and HBO Now. (The former is for cable subscribers, the latter for people subscribing directly from the company.)

    If the company has any sense, it will simplify the offering to a single app called HBO with two subscription tiers and the ability to authenticate with your cable subscription. ESPN went through this with a sprawl of options for its streaming services (remember WatchESPN?), only

    HBO Go, HBO Now, and soon HBO Max. My head hurts already. People are already deeply confused between HBO Go and HBO Now. (The former is for cable subscribers, the latter for people subscribing directly from the company.)

    If the company has any sense, it will simplify the offering to a single app called HBO with two subscription tiers and the ability to authenticate with your cable subscription. ESPN went through this with a sprawl of options for its streaming services (remember WatchESPN?), only to end up back very recently at a single app for everything called...ESPN.

    Harder than it sounds, but also the only right answer. It’s not a confusing assortment of brand names and apps, it’s HBO.

  • Zach Seward
    Zach Sewardcommented on this story

    Kudos to Linton for being candid and just saying he was fired. The company's official line was that he "will step down."

  • Zach Seward
    Zach Sewardcommented on this story

    It's really interesting to see a site like StockX succeed in the face of competition from bigger, more-generic marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist. Of course, there are other good examples of successful marketplaces for secondhand goods in specific categories, like 1stdibs for furniture and ThredUp for clothes. Just goes to show that, if you're not going to be the biggest, you better own a niche really, really well.

  • Zach Seward
    Zach Sewardcommented on this story

    I had not considered this problem with workplace communication tools, but it's a great point. Arguably, employees have more options for protecting themselves from harassment in a physical work environment than in a digital one like Slack. And a corporation has greater ability to enforce rules within systems it controls than on a platform that sets its own rules.

  • Zach Seward
    Zach Sewardcommented on this story

    iCloud uses AWS, which means Apple is the biggest example yet of AWSaaS, my very awkward coinage for cloud services that are built on top of other cloud services. I wrote about this trend when Twilio, which hosts everything on AWS, went public: https://qz.com/1601476

    You might think it’s precarious to build a service on top of AWS that could easily be replicated by AWS itself at a price that, by definition, will always be cheaper. And, in fact, for both iCloud and Twilio, there are already Amazon-owned

    iCloud uses AWS, which means Apple is the biggest example yet of AWSaaS, my very awkward coinage for cloud services that are built on top of other cloud services. I wrote about this trend when Twilio, which hosts everything on AWS, went public: https://qz.com/1601476

    You might think it’s precarious to build a service on top of AWS that could easily be replicated by AWS itself at a price that, by definition, will always be cheaper. And, in fact, for both iCloud and Twilio, there are already Amazon-owned replacement services. But it turns out you can build really big businesses that way. (Twilio is up 8x from its IPO price over three years.) Some lot of the enterprise tech companies going public this year are also in this category of AWSaaS startups. Stripe is another great example. In all cases, they win over AWS itself by providing a better, more-focused user experience.

    Of course, none of this is a problem at all for Amazon. As the article reports, it just signed Apple to a $1.5 billion deal over five years to essentially white-label AWS as iCloud.

  • Zach Seward
    Zach Sewardcommented on this story

    Uber stock will have a single-class voting structure, meaning that regular shareholders will have the same voting power as executives and other insiders. This is a really interesting shift from the practice of most public tech companies since Google went public 15 years ago and created a class of shares with 10x voting power in order to ensure its founders maintained control.

    Of course, it's easier to make this choice in Uber's case because the founder has already been ousted as chief executive

    Uber stock will have a single-class voting structure, meaning that regular shareholders will have the same voting power as executives and other insiders. This is a really interesting shift from the practice of most public tech companies since Google went public 15 years ago and created a class of shares with 10x voting power in order to ensure its founders maintained control.

    Of course, it's easier to make this choice in Uber's case because the founder has already been ousted as chief executive: He still own 8.6% of the company, but will only get 8.6% of the vote. What a crazy idea! This should be standard practice. Shareholders have not insisted on it, so companies going public with strong founders have been able to go the other way.

    There's a movement among institutional investors to push back on dual-class voting structures, but they could use the support of the SEC and Congress.

  • Zach Seward
    Zach Sewardcommented on this story

    One can only conclude from this piece that taxation is fundamentally broken above a certain level of wealth in the US. It’s a great look at exactly why that is.

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