Week in a Nutshell #1

Welcome to the first episode of the ‘Week in a Nutshell’ series.

Last week was the first week back at work for me after spending 3 weeks in Turkey. I was busy catching up with all the unread e-mails but I managed to get through. 

Orange font means that it is a hyperlink that will direct you to the original article. You can find my comments about the articles below the list.

Let's get to the list:

  1. Germany’s Carbon Emissions Fall as Renewable Energy Takes the Lead
  2. Benedict Evans: WhatsApp sails past SMS, but where does messaging go next?
  3. The Economist: Turkey's Economy - Saved by the well
  4. Monument Valley Team Reveals The Cost And Reward Of Making A Hit iOS Game
  5. Zenefits Financials Reveal It Is One Of The Fastest-Growing SaaS Businesses Ever
  6. Google To Launch Project Ara Market Pilot In Puerto Rico Later This Year

Germany’s Carbon Emissions Fall as Renewable Energy Takes the Lead

Agora Energiewende's 2014 annual report states that renewable energy resources (including wind, hydro, solar and biomass)  supplied 27.3% of German electricity generation in 2014. 

Report shows that renewable energies were the number 1 source of power production for the first time ever — surpassing lignite coal for the first time.


Benedict Evans: WhatsApp sails past SMS, but where does messaging go next?

There are valuable insights and statistics about WhatsApp in Benedict Evan's blog post. WhatsApp now has 700 million MAUs and it sends 30 billion messages a day. It is 50% higher than the global SMS system sees about 20 billion messages a day. I'm curious about how Facebook will position WhatsApp together with Facebook Messenger against WeChat and Line going forward.

WhatsApp is pretty strong outside of the US and keeping its focus on delivering pure communication experience. However, as I see in WeChat and Line, mobile communication is becoming more than with platform integrations such as mobile payments, hailing a cab and etc. to provide a more integrated user experience.

I think Facebook Messenger will be more open to have these platform integrations and WhatsApp will keep on delivering the pure messaging experience in the short term.


The Economist: Turkey's Economy - Saved by the well

This is a great article explaining the current economic situation of Turkey. I believe there is one stat standing out in this article and I want to emphasize it. I'm concerned about the decreasing education level in Turkey. I'm quoting from the Economist article:

"Only 1% of Turkish students have advanced computer skills, compared with 33% of their Polish peers. High-tech gear makes up a measly 2% of manufacturing exports; R&D spending totals only 0.9% of GDP."

Believe it or not but we are living in the high-tech world. Economies are shaping around technology. Unfortunately, only 1% of Turkish students having advanced computer skills today will leave us even further behind the other emerging countries soon. Then, it will be hard to close the ever increasing gap.

We should implement programming language courses as mandatory high school courses rather than the Ottoman language.


Monument Valley Team Reveals The Cost And Reward Of Making A Hit iOS Game

Monument Valley is by far one of the best games that I played in 2014. I think of it more like interactive art mixed with puzzles.

I'm so happy that the team has earned nearly $6 million in revenue from over 2.4 million individual app sales (iOS drove 1.7 million installs whereas Android led 296k) in 2014. They deserved it considering the quality and the effort that they put together.


Zenefits Financials Reveal It Is One Of The Fastest-Growing SaaS Businesses Ever

Zenefits is one of my favorite startups in the Bay Area and I have huge respect to what they are doing. Zenefits allows you to manage all your HR related activities such as payroll, benefits and employee onboarding through their cloud based HR-platform for free. Yes, they offer this fantastic product for free. Zenefits makes money only if customers choose to name it as their insurance broker. Even then, it receives a commission from the insurance provider, so customers continue to enjoy use of its platform for free. Huge kudos to the team.

Techcrunch article states that Zenefits will surpass $20 million in annually recurring revenue after less than two years in business. That’s up from $1 million at the same time last year, which means the company grew 20x over the last 12 months.


Google To Launch Project Ara Market Pilot In Puerto Rico Later This Year

I've been waiting for this announcement for a while now. I'm very excited about Project Ara. It could save us from overspending on new smartphones every single year.

There are stats why the pilot will be limited to Puerto Rico. 

  • Ratio of entry-level phones to the high-end phones are 1:1 in terms of sales.
  • 75% of Internet access taking place via mobile devices.

Hereby, we came to the end of the first episode of ‘Week in a Nutshell’ series.

Please let me know what you think in the comments. If you liked this post, I'd be happy if you could share, like and/or recommend it.

Thanks,
Birkan