Occasional reader – Hulu, Tellme, slum tourism, layoffs

Some interesting reads from the past couple of weeks:

  • Hulu: Great Product, Still Screwed (Silicon Alley Insider) – The much-hyped video site from NBC and News Corp. is now out of beta. Hulu offers free access to full episodes from many NBC and Fox shows, plus a few free full-length movies. Hulu has decent quality video, is easy to navigate and does a good job of suggesting related content. (Hulu’s search feature can use a lot of help with its poor indexing and cryptic snippets like “Season 2 : Ep. 10″.) Despite all this, analyst Henry Blodget thinks Hulu will have a hard time making it due to constraints imposed on it by its corporate parents.
  • Kara Visits Tellme (aka A Little Bit of Microsoft in Silicon Valley)! (All Things Digital) – Kara Swisher visited Tellme recently and talked to General Manager Mike McCue (my boss’ boss). The video offers a glimpse of life at Tellme. In another video, Mike talks about trends in speech recognition. (The videos didn’t work for me in Firefox; if you have trouble, try IE.)
  • Slum Visits: Tourism or Voyeurism? (New York Times) – It’s not my idea of vacation, but apparently a new trend in tourism is organized tours of slums in cities like Mumbai and Rio. Are these tours exploiting the poor in the search for profit? That’s a good question. I was surprised how quickly organized tours of hurricane damage developed in New Orleans. I’ve been to New Orleans twice since Katrina and have refused to go on them.
  • How to Deal With Layoffs and Buyouts (AAJA) – What’s glummer than a gathering of AOL employees at layoff time? A gathering of journalists discussing the future of their business. As newsrooms across the country rapidly contract, young and mid-career journalists face tough decisions on whether to continue to play musical chairs or get out of the business altogether. The Asian American Journalists Association held an informative discussion offering advice to journalists on how to cope in troubled times. Although much of the advice is specific to journalists, there is also solid financial advice for anyone facing layoffs.

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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