Monday, August 24, 2015

In Love with Love: Ashley Madison and the Politics of Cheating

Canadian dating website Ashley Madison is still in the news for its infamous data hack - and the continuing fallout. (Now police blame two suicides on the unauthorized publication of members' identities.) 

The hackers apparently targeted Ashley Madison because they're opposed to its casual encouragement of extra-marital affairs. This has been going on a long time - I remember when the Toronto Transit Commission refused to rent ad space on the side of buses for a promotion like "Life is short, have an affair."

So I did a big Twitter dump today collecting cool tweets about Ashley Madison from its CEOs and some commentators. Here's that Twitter essay in all its 140-character glory:

"Life is Short": 20 thought-provoking tweets about Ashley Madison and its wakeup call to the world. 

Early on, Ashley Madison focused its advertising on Friday and Saturdays. Later it learned the best day for seeking adultery is: Monday!

Reporters often asked Ashley Madison founder Noel Biderman how he’d like it if his wife had an affair. His response:

"I would be devastated, but I wouldn't blame a website or an inanimate object." (Biderman says the media only ran the first 4 words)

Inc’s 2009 interview with Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman:

Watch Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman exploit the fault lines of The Lang O’Leary Exchange.!prettyPhoto[Gallery]/2/

Ashley Madison’s Biderman: “The infidelity economy is bigger than the single-marketplace economy.”
Ashley Madison’s Biderman: “I would say Ashley Madison has saved millions of marriages through its services.”
Ashley Madison’s Biderman: “Infidelity is universal. It happens the same way in Tokyo as it does in Toronto and Talahasee.”

Kevin O’Leary’s response to hearing Ashley Madison’s business model: “This is a really monetizable, measurable business.”

Amanda Lang to Ashley Madison’s Noel Biderman: “Wouldn't you rather make the same amount of money doing something that wasn’t gross?”
O’Leary reply: “What do you mean, gross? What are you talking about?” Ashley Madison’s Biderman: “I didn’t invent infidelity.”
Lang to Biderman: “Your tagline is, ‘Life is short. Have an affair.’ That’s kinda gross.”
O’Leary: “Amanda’s in La-La Land again.”

Ashley Madison CEO: “There’s not much difference between Ashley Madison and Most of their users are single, some are married…”
“…Most of ours are married, some are single. It’s just the marketing positioning we create.”

Biderman: “Ashley Madison’s presence is not such a bad thing. If we weren’t here, singles dating sites would be overrun with married people”

O’Leary’s final question to Ashley Madison CEO: “Why don't you have more competition?” Biderman: “It’s difficult to  market infidelity.”

On his personal website, Ashley Madison founder Noel Biderman call himself the “Successful Entrepreneur People Love to Hate.”

Wikipedia says Ashley Madison has 39 million users. 90-95% are male. Says Wikipedia: “This is not revealed to prospective users.”

Sunday, August 09, 2015

What's the difference between a startup and a business?

On, I site I visit fairly infrequently, someone asked the difference between a business and a "startup." 

Once upon a time, most people would have said, a startup is a young business, just as a baby or infant is a young person.

But things have changed in recent years, and we're all getting smarter about the unique role and needs of a startup. So here is the answer I submitted: