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“The motivation question is always important,” Thiel said. “I think [with] the great companies there’s always this mission part where there’s always a sense that if you didn’t do it, no one else would. If you aren’t working on this, this will not get built. That was true of the original Paypal vision.” Thiel said that in most companies, people tend to learn the wrong lessons. For example, if you were in a startup that failed in the 1990s, the lesson was that it was impossible, and that you needed to set your sights on something smaller and easier to execute.
Conversely, if you were a part of a company where everything works perfectly well, like Google or Microsoft, the lesson was that it was too easy, which might contribute to why these companies haven’t produced the volume or caliber of companies that we have seen come from PayPal. Entrepreneurs coming from these types of companies underestimate how difficult it is to build a company. “At this point Silicon Valley has become this magnet for talent from all over the US and all over the world. New York had that position for a quarter of a century, from say 1982 to 2007 or 2008. So, there is a way in which I think Silicon Valley is replacing New York as the place where people try to achieve great things, and I actually think that’s a very healthy shift,” Thiel said.

Seedrs makes it simple for you to discover startups that are looking for early-stage funding, make investments in the ones you like and watch as the businesses you’ve invested in grow, all through a straightforward online platform. We undertake vigorous legal due diligence on every business that is looking to raise money, so you can rest assured that what they say in their pitch is true. And whenever there is a return on your investment – such as when the business pays a dividend, floats on a stock exchange or is bought by another company – we ensure that the money gets paid directly to you.

In this excellent February 2013 paper for Nesta, Counting What Counts, Anthony Lilley, never one to mince his words, pushes the arts and cultural sector (public service broadcasting included) to embrace the opportunity of Big Data:

There are some fundamental barriers to the use of big data approaches in arts and cultural institutions. The first is related to the funding environment. The sector currently largely addresses data from too limited a perspective. Too often, the gathering and reporting of data is seen as a burden and a requirement of funding or governance rather than as an asset to be used to the benefit of the artistic or cultural institution and its work. This point of view is in danger of holding the sector back. It arises partly from the philosophy of dependence, subsidy and market failure which underpins much of the cultural sector including the arts and public service broadcasting.

A shift in mindset to one which sees data more as an asset and not just as a tool of accountability is a fundamental requirement of making the most of the “big data opportunity” envisaged by this paper. Importantly, such a shift which would match much of the rhetoric of “investment” which is used in the sector, particularly by policy and funding bodies. This paper suggests, to date, this rhetoric has largely been just that; a new term to replace the loaded word “subsidy” rather than a genuine change.

The second major obstacle is the limited strategic understanding of or indeed interest in the use of data at senior levels in the cultural sector. For many, the potential of data in the cultural sector is at best a “known-unknown” or worse goes entirely unappreciated. For some, the idea of using data in the the arts is controversial or even anathema. Limited day to day data management skills in many parts of the sector and often less than ideal technology in many organisations contribute to a sense of strategic drift. And yet, there are, of course, islands of passionate expertise and effective activity.

Without question, the effective use of big data (so-called data-driven decision-making or DDD) has the potential to deliver operational and financial benefits to individual cultural organisations in obvious fields such as marketing and development and, in turn, through the ways in which it might inform artistic decision-making.

This paper calls, ultimately, for a strategic approach to sectoral change, to capacity building and to joining up and scaling existing work with a view to achieving a step change in the way that data can help improve the resilience of the cultural sector.

Read the rest of the paper here.

The China Africa Development Fund and China Development Bank have promised to invest heavily into the digitalization of TV in African countries. Since 2007, $100 million has been provided to the project by the China Africa Development Fund and another $50 million is coming, according to Chi Jianxin, president of the fund, speaking at the African Digital TV Development Ministerial Seminar on Sunday. The China Development Bank has offered $400 million in loans for the project and another $400-million loan is expected to go to it in the near future.
The project was begun by the private media group StarTimes, which has its headquarters in Beijing. […]
“People love the Chinese soap operas that are being broadcast by StarTimes in our country,” added Said Ali Mbarouk, Zanzabar minister of information, culture, tourism and sports. “We expect our broadcasting time will be longer than three hours a day now.

The China Africa Development Fund and China Development Bank have promised to invest heavily into the digitalization of TV in African countries. Since 2007, $100 million has been provided to the project by the China Africa Development Fund and another $50 million is coming, according to Chi Jianxin, president of the fund, speaking at the African Digital TV Development Ministerial Seminar on Sunday. The China Development Bank has offered $400 million in loans for the project and another $400-million loan is expected to go to it in the near future.
The project was begun by the private media group StarTimes, which has its headquarters in Beijing. […]
“People love the Chinese soap operas that are being broadcast by StarTimes in our country,” added Said Ali Mbarouk, Zanzabar minister of information, culture, tourism and sports. “We expect our broadcasting time will be longer than three hours a day now.”