Amazon Faces Serious International Competition, From Japan

A major deal was announced yesterday which should propel Kobo into the top tier. The Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten purchased Kobo – outright – in a straight cash deal for $315m. It sounds like Kobo will continue to be run as a standalone company – the CEO is staying in place and all the employees are keeping their jobs – only now they will have the financial backing of one of the Top 10 internet companies in the world. Make no mistake, this deal means that Kobo is now a serious player.

The Haunting Eyes of Dom Robado Vivaldo

Brazil is a fascinating country. In geographic, demographic, and, in recent years, economic terms it dominates South America; but it’s a world apart: a distinct culture, history, gastronomy, and language. In fact, it’s the only Portuguese-speaking country in all of the Americas. Most Portuguese colonies were further west: Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. This is no accident of history. When Columbus first discovered America for white people, he thought he had reached Asia, opening up a quicker, less treacherous route to the lucrative Spice Islands (at the time, certain spices such as nutmeg were more valuable than gold).

The Length of a Piece of String

If I was to tell you an interesting story about the first time I went to Brazil, I would tell you about the time I woke up face-to-face with a bull’s severed head. I wouldn’t tell you about the weeks beforehand when I did nothing but lie around on the beach and drink too much, or the months of planning, trying to decide which flights to buy, and wondering whether I needed malaria pills.  The point is, you start a story at exactly the point where it gets interesting, and you end it before it starts getting boring. But how long should that be?