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Tech Bytes – Week of Feb 21

📰 Recent Top Tech News

  1. Facebook Block Australian Pages – A pre-emptive strike, gone wrong?

  2. Citibank gets a $500 Million lesson on bad Software User Interface

  3. Amazon acquires a Shopify Competitor – the Juggernaut expands


1. Facebook blocked pages and any Australian news from being posted on Facebook, but also blocked various Health and Government pages – many of which were quickly unblocked during the day. Facebook did this to protest a proposed bill that will require Facebook (and Google) to pay News companies for news articles.

🔎 Our Take

  • The proposed bill is a flawed attempt to make Facebook (and Google) pay for their dominance in digital media. A more constructive model would be to tax them more (Facebook and Google pay less than 3% tax within Australia, with most sales revenue marked as an expense to an overseas entity)

  • Facebook also blocked innocent pages, such as the Kids Cancer Project, which is sure to anger politicians further. Facebook also accidentally revealed how dominant it is, which is not how they want to be perceived right now.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Be your own platform. Building a connection with your customers will always be a risk if you rely on only one platform. Send direct emails to subscribers, run online live streams, or release your own mobile app – anything that reduces your dependency on any single platform.

  • Stop getting your news from Facebook. With a history of misinformation and an algorithm designed to spread controversial news first, consider subscribing (and paying) for news sites directly.

2. Citibank thought it was transferring money internally, but ended up transferring $900Mn externally, because the User Interface required 2 extra counter-intuitive steps to transfer internally, fooling 3 employees who thought they were doing it correctly. Citibank got back $400Mn, with the remaining $500Mn stuck in legal discussions.

🔎 Our Take

  • User Interface Design is fundamental to creating software products, and also requires updating based on what people are used to using. Citibank could have avoided this by using software that clearly explained what was going to happen next if that particular option was set.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Run a check on your basic customer-side experiences. At a minimum, you want to avoid losing money if potential customers can’t make a payment or reach you. Ideally, you want to have clear instructions on how customers can serve themselves so that they also feel confident in interacting with your site or app.

3. Amazon silently acquired Selz, a Sydney, Australia-based company that allows businesses to launch their own online store, an offering similar to Shopify.

🔎 Our Take

  • Shopify, a competition service that allows businesses to easily start selling online, has been tremendous growth in the past year, with an overall boom in e-commerce. Shopify differs from Amazon by offering an independent branded store, instead of being part of a wider marketplace like This allows businesses to better control the customer experience.

  • Amazon could look at offering a similar experience to Shopify, with a more customised branded storefront, but with stronger ties to the Amazon ecosystem of delivery and ads.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Every product and service needs to be accessible online. Customers expect both a smooth and well-branded user experience and fast delivery with lots of updates. If you have your own site, then make sure the experience is as smooth as Amazon both before and after-sale.

Jargon Buster

  • SSL – Secure Sockets Layer – this technology secures your data when you connect to a particular website. SSL is represented with a green padlock🔒 on your browser address bar.

  • If your site does not have SSL on, Google will actually downrank you because it sees it as a security risk. Ensure your websites are SSL enabled for the best customer experience.

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