Q: What's this I've been hearing about Steve Jobs having some sort of new proposal about doing away with copy protection on digital music?
A: It's a wonderful plan. Jobs suggested last week in an open letter to major record labels that they stop putting copy protection on digital music because it doesn't really work anyway. That's the main part of the plan. The other part of the plan is just as cool: Henceforth, all iPod retail boxes will no longer have those little shoplifting-prevention thingies on them. In fact, you needn't actually even go into an Apple Store anymore to get an iPod. They'll be stacked in neat piles on the sidewalks outside of Apple Stores, and there will be a big glass jug with a sign on it that reads, PLEASE PAY HERE. It's the honor system, and it's awesome, man! Never mind Web 2.0 -- this is about Life 2.0.
Q: Jeff Zucker got promoted by General Electric to president-CEO of NBC Universal despite his mixed record and mostly eroding ratings during his tenure running the company's TV group, including NBC itself. As the FireJeffZucker.com blog puts it, "Zucker steered NBC to its current place firmly behind CBS and ABC with few hot shows." So what's his magic? What does it take to get ahead at GE?
A: Zucker got a lot of credit for postponing the inevitable collapse of NBC's ratings by propping up long-in-the-tooth shows, like "Friends," that were on their last legs. (It was Zucker's idea to save "Friends" by paying the show's stars $1 gazillion each to stay on the air longer than they really wanted to.) At GE, if you make lemonade out of lemons and then you don't dribble too much of the lemonade down your chin while drinking it, you can get ahead. You can score serious bonus money if you don't spill any of the lemonade on your crotch. You get an automatic promotion if you create a colorful PowerPoint presentation about the money you'll save on making lemonade going forward by using non-SAG lemonade makers for so-called reality lemonade.
Q: Former Seventeen Editor in Chief Atoosa Rubenstein is launching some sort of website, but so far I'm confused by what it's going to be about, given the obtuse text she's got up on the sign-up page: "I'm building a new home for our tribe: a place where we can be our fierce, unique and powerful selves -- and have each other's backs. Give me your deets ... and I'll let you know as soon as it's ready. I know we'll have fun. And, sister? I can't wait! You are the power behind this ... and me. I will honor our relationship every step of the way." What gives?
A: Many people assume that Atoosa is creating a website for teens -- but in fact, she's creating a site for, yes, her tribe: rapidly aging 30-somethings who have speech impediments that cause them to use words they think teenagers use (i.e., deets) and generally suffer from the Peter Pan Syndrome (or the female version of it) -- or, as New York magazine's Adam Sternbergh repackaged the phenomenon last year, grups (basically, stunted grown-ups). Think of Atoosa.com as an online support group for grups. If you're in your 30s and you own a leather jacket on the back of which you've spray-painted your name and/or you refer to your phone number as "my digits" and/or you think Justin is so totally supercute, then Atoosa.com is for you!
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