Facebook single-handedly made its home county the best-paid in the nation

Facebook employees made so much money from the company going public last year that it shot San Mateo County, where the company is headquartered, to the top of the charts for highest average weekly income in the nation.

San Mateo average wages rose to a rate equivalent to yearly earnings of $168,000, significantly higher than even New York County, home of Wall Street and several other high-earning industries.

The Wall Street Journal’s Scott Thurm verified that Facebook’s IPO was responsible for the massive increase by looking at the wages by job sector.

He found that the roughly 6,200 “industrial” workers (which Facebook employees count as) earned $6.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012 – which works out to almost $83,000 a week. This lines up with the timing for many Facebook employee’s stock options, which vested in November of last year.

This isn’t the first time that a tech company going public has made a significant number of its employees exceedingly rich. Microsoft compensated many early employees with generous stock options. After a hundredfold increase in its stock price between 1986 and 1996 it was estimated that at least 10,000 “Microsoft millionaires” were created by 2000.

Facebook is becoming a social media hydra

The great defriending of Facebook:

When friends’ posts do show up in your feed, a lot of times they’re just sharing another image or link or video. External content, i.e., stuff that isn’t native to Facebook (memes, articles, pretty science photographs), is the network’s new social currency. Facebook is mutating into a social media hydra, a bit like Twitter, which dominates live events (Facebook even experimenting with hashtags) and a bit like Tumblr, which rules entertainment and fandom. The only problem? Those companies are already the very best at what they do, and to compete against them Facebook has to dilute the highly personal network of real relationships that makes it unique.

Soon you’re going to start judging Facebook friends on how good they are at sharing stuff—not on their actual relationship with you.

Among my friends, Facebook is considered something a necessary evil in the social scene. No one really likes using it, but it’s still where everyone uploads all their photos with friends and family and where we go to set up plans with groups of people. But no company wants to own the site that people feel they have to use despite hating it – that’s like being MySpace in 2007.

(He said as he posted this to The Russell Bulletin’s Facebook page and shared to all his friends.)

HTC First Discontinued Already


BGR has confirmed that HTC and Facebook’s little experiment is nearing its end. BGR has learned from a trusted source that sales of the HTC First have been shockingly bad. So bad, in fact, that AT&T has already decided to discontinue the phone.

Wow. Remember how proud the HTC CEO was at the Facebook Home launch? I have a strange feeling he’s not too pleased any more. Turns out people aren’t feeling the need for a Facebook phone after all.

Tesla’s Elon Musk leaves Zuckerberg’s lobbying group FWD.us

Exclusive: Elon Musk quits Zuckerberg’s immigration advocacy group | Reuters:

Billionaire environmentalist Elon Musk has quit a Silicon Valley advocacy group formed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg after the group funded ads for senators touting their support for an oil pipeline and oil drilling in Alaska.

Musk leads one of the world’s best known “green” companies, electric carmaker Tesla. A Tesla spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday that the South African-born entrepreneur preferred not to elaborate on his reasons for leaving FWD.us.

I was initially excited when I heard that Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley leaders were founding a lobbying group to push for immigration reform. If anyone could cause real change in Washington, it had to be a bunch of liberal millionaires and billionaires with money to spend, right? Then the group started supporting Senators in favor of Arctic drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline. Not cool, Zuckmeister.

Facebook adds feeling/doing sharing options

Facebook Asks You To Please Select Your Emotion:

It could make us more willing to express how we feel. Or you could say it over-simplies our complex moods and lives. But today the Facebook status update box began offering the option to “share how you’re feeling or what you’re doing” through a drop-down menu of emoticons and media. We’re entering a more structured era of communication, where both friends and big data know exactly how we tick.

As if Nielsen ratings could become any more useless.

It’s like the different moods that used to be on MySpace profiles, if MySpace had been around during the era of big data. I hate it, but it’s going to tell Facebook so much about everyone’s habits.

If people start using it, I bet this feature shows up on the Facebook Home lock screen.


Facebook Home as a first step to making an operating system

Matt Drance explains how Facebook is using Home to enter the operating system game at its own pace:

Facebook has loudly and confidently entered an arena it has no prior experience in, and has set a clear path to expand its influence at its own pace. Facebook Home will provide a halo effect to current Android users that warms them up to a full-blown “Facebook phone” in the years to come. It gives Facebook the experience, confidence, credibility, momentum, and time to build a better and broader mobile experience than they would have been able to build otherwise. It’s as prudent as it is ambitious.

From everything I’ve heard from or about Zuckerberg, this seems like the kind of move he would make. Small step -> Collect data -> iterate -> more data -> big step.

Dan Frommer thinks there’s a market for a Facebook phone

Who’s Going To Buy The Facebook Phone?:

But that’s hardly the entire phone market. It’s actually only a fraction of it.

What about those millions of people who have bought Android phones — and some iPhones, probably — who don’t really care that they’re Android phones, or even smartphones? The types of people who, every couple of years, go into the Verizon or AT&T shop and walk out with whatever newish thing the store rep says they should buy? (All those people who buy Android phones but don’t really show up in usage logs.) Or even first-time smartphone buyers? My guess is that many — most? — of these people are Facebook users, and could easily see some utility in having Facebook features highlighted on their phones. And — bonus — Facebook’s software looks good. Much better than the junk that ships with typical low-end Android devices.

Boom. Done. Easy, defensible purchase, assuming the price is right.

Some people just don’t give a shit about the things that nerds do. Plenty of people my age use their phones for only Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Will the HTC First do well? Probably not, but I don’t think Facebook should stop trying.

Facebook Friends Aren’t Pretty

Ellis Hamburger discussing one problem with Facebook Home for The Verge:

Facebook’s images are stunning, but how does your lock screen look when it’s actually a stream of oversaturated Instagram photos and out-of-focus baby pictures? Or worse?

Hamburger provides a very good summary of what is likely to be a massive issue for Facebook Home. Surely there should be some sort of setting that allows you to select whose filtered gems you want to show up on your lock screen. Having said that, perhaps some people want that sort of stuff on display to them automatically, after all Facebook Home isn’t made with people like me in mind. 

Rdio announces video streaming service: Vdio

Introducing Vdio – Rdio Blog — Rdio Blog:

So, what exactly can you watch on Vdio? Everything from the newest releases to cult classics and a whole lot in between from the major studios and networks. Right now, you can watch Skyfall, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, The Hobbit, and thousands of other hit movies. You can also watch zombie heads explode on The Walking Dead, tune in to the Dowager’s latest quip on Downton Abbey, death-grip your armchair during Homeland, or marvel at the jaw-dropping perfection of Breaking Bad. TV shows are available the day after they air and you can subscribe to seasons at a discount. We plan on adding new titles and bonus content daily, so be sure to check back regularly to see what’s new.

Netflix’s recent Facebook integration has proven to be inconsequential to my usage. Rdio seems to be better at social, but I have a feeling that people prefer subscription to a la carte when it comes to video. If you’re interested in trying, you get $25 in credit for subscribing to Rdio’s $10/month plan.

Update: I agree with Shawn Blanc:

I would say that some sort of amalgamation of the two access models would be great: Paying Vdio a monthly fee to get unlimited access to whatever movies and TV shows that they are able to negotiate with studios, and then the ones which are not available that way you can pay extra to buy or rent.

But then I realize I already have that exact service via Netflix, iTunes, and my Apple TV.

As far as I can see, the only leg up Rdio has over Netflix and iTunes is their social network. As they wrote on their announcement post, some of the advantages to Vdio are the social-esque features such as seeing what your friends are watching, and creating “sets” (a.k.a. playlists for TV shows and movies) that you can then share with people.

Facebook to introduce hashtags

hashtag twitter

Mike Isaac, for AllThingsD:

At least, not yet. As was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal, and as I’ve verified through sources of my own, Facebook plans to launch its own Linkify’d version of the hashtag, allowing users to connect common themes and trending topics around the social network by adding the simple hashtag symbol to a status update. Clicking through sends a reader down a rabbit hole of information, all connected to the hashtag being followed.

On the plus side, I’m past the age where I’d have to see high school girls using them. #drama