Is Pinterest the Next Best Thing on the Web?

Pinterest is the breakout social network of 2012, but even technology addicts could be excused for missing its rise to success.

The web-based “pinboard,” which launched almost two years ago, barely got a mention on Silicon Valley news sites until six months ago, when early adopters suddenly realized that a site with millions of monthly users had sprung up almost unnoticed by the tech press.

That’s because Pinterest didn’t take the usual route of Web-based startups: romancing early adopters and technology journalists before attempting to “cross the chasm” to mainstream adoption. Instead, Pinterest grew a devoted base of users — most of them female — who enjoy “pinning” items they find around the Web. While clothing, home decor and recipes dominate the site, inspirational quotes and humor are also popular topics for users to add to their pinboards.

How successful is Pinterest? Unique visitors to the site grew 400% from September to December 2011, and just last week one study showed that Pinterest drives more visitors to third-party websites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

So will we see a thousand Pinterest clones bloom, or will the site’s stellar growth continue despite others jumping on the trend? I’d say success is assured for Pinterest. Thanks to the “network effects” of these sites — you join because your friends are already there — it’ll becoming increasingly hard to compete with the new king, or perhaps queen, of social bookmarking.

Source: CNN

Image: Digital Trends

Apple: We Can’t Build iPhones in the U.S.

When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president. But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?

Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.

The president’s question touched upon a central conviction at Apple. It isn’t just that workers are cheaper in the international setting. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.

Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”

To thrive, companies argue they need to move work where it can generate enough profits to keep paying for innovation. Doing otherwise risks losing even more jobs in America over time, as evidenced by the legions of once-proud domestic manufacturers — including G.M. and others — that have shrunk as nimble competitors have emerged.

“We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”


Source: Digg

Image: Cult of Mac