How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts — researchers studying the Chinese government’s paid social media commentators have determined their purpose is to distract, not debate. We estimate that the government fabricates and posts about 448 million social media comments a year. In contrast to prior claims, we show that the Chinese regime’s strategy is to avoid arguing with skeptics of the party and the government, and to not even discuss controversial issues. We infer that the goal of this massive secretive operation is instead to regularly distract the public and change the subject, as most of the these posts involve cheerleading for China, the revolutionary history of the Communist Party, or other symbols of the regime. (via Marginal Revolution)
RethinkDB Post-Mortem — fantastic analysis of why the company failed, from a founder. our users clearly thought of us as an open source developer tools company, because that’s what we really were. Which turned out to be very unfortunate, because the open source developer tools market is one of the worst markets one could possibly end up in. Thousands of people used RethinkDB, often in business contexts, but most were willing to pay less for the lifetime of usage than the price of a single Starbucks coffee (which is to say, they weren’t willing to pay anything at all). This wasn’t because the product was so good people didn’t need to pay for support, or because developers don’t control budgets, or because of failure of capitalism. The answer is basic microeconomics. Developers love building developer tools, often for free. So, while there is massive demand, the supply vastly outstrips it. This drives the number of alternatives up, and the prices down to zero.