Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I'll say it as bluntly as I can: I don't understand what has happened to the world.

I have a yardstick, a calculus, that helps me explain things to myself when it comes to the valuation of companies. Conveniently, "The New York Times" is worth around one-billion dollars. One-billion dollars is a lot of money. Not long ago, Jeff Bezos of Amazon renown, bought "The Washington Post" for $250 million. So I get that the Times is worth four times the Post.

Here's what I don't get.

Candy Crush, the game pictured here will be going public. It's valued at more than $7 billion dollars.

I don't care how many people are playing Candy Crush on the subway to work. It's not worth seven New York Times'.

Just like I can't imagine Whatsapp is worth 19 New York Times'.

I suppose some of these figures can be explained by "the Greater Fool Theory." The idea that something is worth X if someone is willing to pay X+5.

But something, still, is out of whack.

It seems we have de-valued everything serious in our society. We live in a world where Kanye and Kim on the cover of Vogue pushes wars, famines and financial shenanigans out of our minds. For instance, during our recent wars, we have spent $85,000* per citizen of Afghanistan and Iraq. This at a time when our own country seems to be crumbling. (* $6 trillion/70 million citizens.) No one knows this. No one cares. Gwyneth broke up with someone.

Of course, the same holds true for our business.

We chortle over stunts and apps and sitelets that no one ever sees but award judges. We forget that advertising is meant to have a serious purpose: to build brands, to drive business.

Neil Postman said we were amusing ourselves to death.


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