December 14th, 2014

Ah, Syncing Problems

I am not sure what happened. However, using Apple Notes, I have three accounts linked -- icloud, google and my ISP. Occasionally, there will be a little hiccup and something won't sync and then I can't convince Apple Notes to start syncing again so I copy the most current version into a new note, that one syncs and I roll my eyes, remember how horrible Evernote was to me and try not to get too mad.

Today, however, I realized that iCloud wasn't syncing on my phone (or, for that matter, on my sister's phone, and there are some relationships between those phones, like, they are on the same wireless provider account, and we have some stuff on a shared AppleID, some stuff through Family Sharing and some stuff not shared) and ISP wasn't syncing on my Mac. I _could_ in theory move all the notes to Google, but I was feeling like that was ridiculous.

So I unhooked the ISP notes across the board and focused on getting iCloud to sync. Which I did, altho at this point, I could not tell you which thing that I tried actually worked. Then I had to do the note restart trick and all seems well at the moment. But I am now back to not trusting it, which is the feeling that tends to cause me to resort to paper, and paper notes have never worked really well for me, not the way notes on my phone and similar has been working for the last year.

I am chagrined.

Perspective Taking, Failure To, Impacts Negotiations, Spanish Publisher Association edition

Not too long ago, Germany passed a law regarding snippets such as those included by Google News below headlines. The new law indicated that publishers could charge for those snippets. Google News indicated that they would no longer link to publishers who so charged. German publishers, who had gone to all the trouble to have that law passed, thought better.

So the Spanish publisher association, which had itself embedded (sort of) in their version of a similar law as the setter of fees and/or collector of same, made the charging for snippets "inalienable". Publishers could no longer back down in the face of pressure from Google. So now, Google Must Pay! Yay!

Google announced that they would be shutting down Google News in Spain, and, further, that Google News around the world would no longer link to any Spanish (not language -- country) publishers.

The Spanish publishers association went, wait! You can't do that! We'll make you stay!

"The Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (AEDE) issued a statement last night saying that Google News was “not just the closure of another service given its dominant market position”, recognising that Google’s decision: “will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses”.

“Given the dominant position of Google (which in Spain controls almost all of the searches in the market and is an authentic gateway to the Internet), AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies”."

What is happening?

Well, Google News says, we don't have ads on Google News so, lacking revenues, we can't exactly pay for these links. Sorry! Bye. The response to this argument has been interesting, because back in 2008, Marissa Mayer was asked what the value of Google News was to Google, for _exactly this reason_, and her answer (remember, this would be pre-crash, and the Eurozone hasn't exactly recovered from that crash yet) was about $100 million in search referral value. But that wasn't for Google News Spain -- that was for Google News worldwide. Also, pre-crash.

Here is a more recent Fortune commenter on the topic, which includes a link to the 2008 Marissa Mayer valuation:

I recognize that Google seems monolithic and ubiquitous, and therefore that it will be always and ever present. Coverage of the perks available to google programmers makes google seem fantastically, even infinitely wealthy. And that can make it very easy for groups such as AEDE to miscalculate when picking the host they intend to parasitically suckle on. If AEDE had contemplated the matter from Google's perspective, they would have anticipated this response -- even tho from all indications, Google has been relentlessly insistent on its position, they have not been passionate or aggressive rhetorically about that position. Because Google was calm, their commitment to their position was misunderstood by AEDE, and now AEDE has lost its host.


But maybe not!

Maybe AEDE would rather preside over a shrinking backwater of publishers in Spain. A dominant position over a small group is desirable to many.

ETA: I'm still trying to understand this article.

Apparently, google was expected to do its complaining at length in Euro courts NOT just up and walk away.

"Esto puede provocar problemas legales para su puesta en marcha, y fuentes del PP han explicado a Periodista Digital que es previsible que Google (principal, pero no único, afectado) acuda a los tribunales y empiece un largo proceso judicial que retrase su aplicación."

And the quasigovernmental organization wasn't there to stiffen publisher resolve post-Germany, it was there to preserve the status quo among newspapers pre-google news by limiting the ability of newspaper publishers to negotiate with google to improve their indexing position. If I understand this correctly, the establishment _really really really_ did not envision google walking away. I'm thinking there was a massive cultural communication breakdown, because the google side stayed way too calm and didn't issue ultimatums and used non-violent language. I'm real unimpressed with political rhetoric in Spain's newspapers, at least the online ones.

WSJ summary of the law and the current state of affairs:

So this is one of the major dailies, not some New Media crowd. And they are quoting people like Wert, who were important in passing the law. Wert seems to be arguing that altho the law goes into effect start of 2015, it won't _really_ do anything until the regulatory components are done, which would have involved a negotiating component including google. So Google left the game too early. I think this is a fair summation of what the Spanish (country, not language) side thinks happened. Which is really different from how the US tech community is thinking about things, in turn different from what some of the commenters on the US side who don't much like the tech giants are thinking about things.

I think it is also worth noting that when France was talking about a google tax/aggregator snippet tax, Schmidt and Hollande put together a 60 million Euro development fund (unclear what if anything has happened with this thing since, given that Hollande is out of office and Schmidt is no longer running things on the daily at the Goog), which was intended to help French publishers sort of enter the modern age. That headed off the French version of the tax. The German one went through under Brin's return to power, and under that setup, the publishers could and did concede, albeit unhappily. The Spanish solution was designed in a way to prevent publishers caving, and El Pais at least keeps emphasizing the French solution. I think maybe the Spanish crowd hasn't figured out they aren't dealing with Schmidt any more.

BATNA, ultimata, and negotiations

My husband used to get kind of upset with me, before we were even dating, because I would sometimes sort of negotiate with an employer (DEC) or whatever (first husband) that I wasn't happy with, but mostly I'd go look for a better alternative (Spry, other people) and just leave. While I didn't know it at the time, what I was doing was improving my BATNA, my "Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement". I found out about BATNA not while I was at Amazon, reading multiple books about negotiation while I contemplated my departure from there, because I was real unhappy about one of my coworkers (among other things), but when I was reading parenting books.

BATNA is great. If you have a great BATNA, you barely have to talk to someone you are working with. You can just say, See Ya, and walk out the door.

The easiest way to understand what happened with AEDE and Google News Spain is that Google had a great BATNA (See ya!) and AEDE hasn't actually contemplated what its BATNA even is.

The reason my husband got kind of upset with me is because I didn't actually bother to tell people I was about to leave. HE was also upset with our employer (DEC -- this was a long while back), so he got a great BATNA, came back to the employer, and required them to match it for him to stick around. Fair's fair. He compares this to Dr. Strangelove, where one side developed a doomsday weapon but didn't tell the other side about the doomsday weapon, so the whole MAD thing stopped working and everyone died. Apparently, you are supposed to tell people before you implement an ultimatum. Who knew?

So after that job, I actually did in fact work pretty closely with my subsequent employers (or at least my immediate bosses, not necessarily the big bosses) when I was unhappy and thinking about leaving. This did, indeed, work out better all around. I didn't really ultimatum them -- I just let them know I was unhappy and they did what they could to help with what they could and I stuck around a little longer, until I was just like, fuck it. Bye. See ya.

But even at my very best from a behavior perspective, I don't actually let other people have much say over my decision making (this is actually the part of the story where you should be thinking, Wow, I really feel sorry for your husband. And he _married_ you knowing this? Yeah, yeah he did. I feel sorry for him, too.). Any given human being is going to fall at different points on a spectrum of how much they let other people influence their decisions.

And there is this thing that the Spanish participants in the Google Tax probably didn't think through completely. While Steve Jobs was pretty happy to participate as the hub of a hub and spoke setup to preserve something like a publishing status quo in the US, and while Steve Jobs was a huge influence on Brin and Page, Brin and Page, ESPECIALLY Brin isn't really that much like Steve Jobs, especially not much like Jobs at the end of Jobs life. And Google was being run on the daily by Schmidt at the time of the French Google Tax negotiation. But Google is being run on the daily by Brin, now. And Brin is a whole lot closer to me on the How Much Do I Let People Influence Me decision scale than Schmidt.

Negotiations are fundamentally about people talking to each other, and letting other people influence your decisions. If you don't let people influence you -- if you decide ahead of time what you are going to do, and then you just do it -- then negotiating with you is not going to last very long, and it is going to be relatively predictable. You will get your BATNA, or the other side will decide to generously give you more than your BATNA. If you attempt a negotiation with a person of this nature, you should know this going into it. I'm thinking that maybe that wasn't clearly understood in this case.

ETA: In case it isn't clear, I think Google News did exactly the right thing. But I also recognize that I accept my husband's assertion that this style of negotiation is basically wrong, in some human way that I only barely understand. And I feel like anyone who sides with Google News, but thinks that walking out on a negotiation without sticking around to deliver an ultimatum before implementing it is wrong, is probably being -- unintentionally -- somewhat hypocritical.