It’s nice to have a job in an economy where not everyone does, and in a field—journalism—where the economic prospects are uncertain. Many publishers are looking with concern at a world where Facebook and Apple are using their power to steer readers to proprietary platforms, as innovations in ad blocking threaten the whole existing business model, which was already sort of provisional. Then again, Re/Code reported this morning that Axel Springer, the publisher of Bild and Die Welt, is going to buy the website Business Insider in a deal that “values Business Insider at $442 million.”

Business Insider has already been added to Wikipedia’s list of Axel Springer’s holdings, right below “the German edition of the magazine Rolling Stone.”

I had been working at home on my computer, and then I decided to go to the office.

The elevators in our apartment building run these video screens of news and ads. The video feed is called “Captivate.” You get headlines and weather and a map of flight delays, interspersed with advertisements. It’s impossible not to stare at the screen.

The new office we’ve moved into has Captivate screens too, but I mostly take the stairs.

I forgot some stuff in the apartment and turned around and rode the elevator back up to get it.

Then I went back out again.

There are lots of crazy valuations out there in the online media world. Some of them have explanations behind them: BuzzFeed at $1.5 billion, say. BuzzFeed is a metastatic content-as-marketing-as-content laboratory, a new sort of thing that superficially resembles certain parts of certain parts of certain prior things but obeys its own post-conceptual logic. No one knows how far BuzzFeed may go.

Here is a Business Insider post aggregating Re/Code’s coverage of BuzzFeed’s valuation: “Report: NBC is investing $250 million in BuzzFeed.”

A year before, BuzzFeed was valued at $850 million.

There was some dog shit on the sidewalk. Someone had tried to pick it up but it was still dog shit.

Business Insider is a site that does some aggregation and some blogging. We mostly notice it when its boss, the disgraced stock analyst Henry Blodget, puts up one of his trademark stream-of-consciousness blog posts, in his trademark mooncalf-savant voice, goggling at a newspaper or calling for a service employee to be fired or photo-documenting the experience of flying on an airplane in an exhaustive and badly shot cameraphone slideshow.

Or wondering why people hate the Jews so much.

The New York MTA has installed these signs in some stations to tell you how soon the next train is due. It’s information, although it doesn’t always feel like the empowering sort of information, as when the trains are running late and bunched up, as they were for me.

In fact, that first 1 train was so late, it blew its horn and rolled through the station without stopping. Maybe it had previously warned the passengers on board who’d planned to get off at 66th Street that they’d have to get off and take another train. Maybe it just kicked them off somewhere further downtown and told them to circle back on an uptown train.

I had to wait for the next 1 train.

When Re/Code first reported that the Axel Springer purchase was in the works, it said the deal valued Business Insider at $560 million. Today, with the deal officially happening, the underlying valuation has been revised down to $442 million. A difference of $118,000,000 is noise in the signal.

After various other considerations, allowing for existing minority ownership to continue, Re/Code reports that Axel Springer will end up paying $343 million.

A ride on the New York City subway costs $2.75 with a multiple-use MetroCard. A little more than six months ago, it cost $2.50. A little more than two years before that, it cost $2.25. You have to pay whatever the fare is, if you want to get anywhere.

I changed trains at Times Square, to the BMT Broadway Line. I think it was an N train but I wasn’t paying attention; it might have been an R. The train interior didn’t look like the 1 train interior, overall, but the floor looked like the 1 train floor.

Here are 343 dollar signs in a row:


Back when the subway fare was $2.25, it was hard to get internet service on a cell phone on the train. Now there are pretty strong signals in most stations along my commute, unless I catch a Q train and go all the way to Union Square.

I read this tweet about the growth of the Beijing subway system while the train was stopped. I would have read more but the People’s Daily didn’t include a link to its fuller content, just a tweet with an image. And then the train went into the dead zone of a tunnel so there was no point in trying to hunt for it on the browser.

Business Insider does not have any noticeable role in the platform industry. It just puts content up on the internet.

Someone had scattered pages of a free commuter newspaper on the subway steps and the sidewalk by the Flatiron Building. People used to read lots of newspapers on the subway, newspapers they’d paid to buy.

There was a gumball machine out on the sidewalk in front of an Origins store. I don’t know exactly what Origins sells, but I think of it as one of those stores where people lurk outside offering free samples as if they’re free samples of food, but the samples are really soap or something. I’m not sure at all, by extension, that the round things this machine would dispense for a quarter would be gumballs and not balls of soap or some cosmetic product.

The home page of Business Insider today is full of headlines that use the “curiosity gap” technique, which I thought had fallen out of favor:

CARL ICAHN WARNS: It would be disastrous

The man who delivered one of the great economic speeches in history just made a bold move to bolster India’s economy

This health-conscious fast food chain is challenging McDonald’s to be healthier

Your Mac is going to change this week

NASA’s “major” Mars water news is a distraction from something much more exciting

What? Who? Which? What?

When the sidewalk is under construction, construction crews sometimes just put up some barriers and turn part of the street into a substitute sidewalk.

One of the headlines at Business Insider’s home page is very specific:

German publishing powerhouse Axel Springer buys Business Insider at a whopping $442 million valuation.

“Disclosure: Axel Springer is an investor in Business Insider,” the story says in italics, at the bottom.

The lobby of our new office building is under construction. Before, you had to touch an RFID tag to a little reader on a desk on the left as you came in. Then they finished work on the right-hand side of the lobby and moved the desk over there. Now it looks like they’re putting in gates so people will swipe through in the middle.

Soon, though, we’re supposed to have a separate side entrance to the building. Things change before you can really even start to take them for granted.

By the time I got to my desk, my phone battery was pretty close to spent. Everything else about the phone is fine as far as I’m concerned, but the new ones are supposed to have better battery life.

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