13th October 2016
Last week we covered the story of Kim Kardashian and how use of social media may have made her an easier target for criminals. In the wake of this, she disappeared from social media for a week, but has since returned albeit, in a rather muted fashion. In a story with similarities, (but working in reverse) ACLU have published a report showing that social media companies have (indirectly) been providing data to the police. Specifically, to monitor, locate, identify and arrest protesters in Baltimore, in the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray.
This is a rather wonderful construction. Quartz.com provides an expansive, engaging and rolling Map Of The Web. ‘Unlike a highway or forest, it exists in places we usually do not see.‘
A special report in The Economist, into the cyclical rise and fall of large companies. ‘In the industrial era companies used economies of scale to become giants: the more a steel company could produce, the more it could cut its unit costs, driving its smaller competitors to the wall, and the more money it had to invest in research, marketing and distribution. Tech companies have reinvented this principle for the virtual age by shifting their attention from the supply side (production efficiencies) to the demand side (network effects). Just as the old industrial giants used technological innovations to reduce their costs, the new tech giants use technological innovations to expand their networks.‘
This from a few weeks back, but it is an extraordinary story and worth picking up on. ‘Many young professionals in San Francisco and beyond are experimenting with “microdosing”: taking small quantities of psychedelic drugs – typically LSD or psilocybin mushrooms – every few days in the hope of improving their performance at work. Would you take LSD to give you a boost at work?‘
(‘Historically,) the value chain for any given consumer market was divided into three parts: suppliers, distributors, and consumers/users. The best way to make outsize profits in any of these markets is to either gain a horizontal monopoly in one of the three parts or to integrate two of the parts such that you have a competitive advantage in delivering a vertical solution. In the pre-Internet era the latter depended on controlling distribution.’ Of course the internet has changed this paradigm, as explained by stratechery.com, and their Aggregation Theory.
Really interesting piece from @neilperkin about the shifting value in mobile. Handset sales are stabilising at the same time as app downloads are dipping. The key current and future growth area, is in AI. ‘(According to) the law of AI Lock-in… once AI starts to confer an advantage to a particular business in an industry, it becomes increasingly critical to success in certain classes of products and baked-in to competitive advantage, resulting in increased investment from everyone. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said AI is the future of Google, ushering in a post-smartphone world where intelligence is embedded in everything.‘
Lovers of enlightening newsletters will be interested in this from Gina Pell – The What kicks of its first edition with a summary of TV shows you should binge this Autumn. No coincidence that Gina is the partner of Dave Pell, curator of one of the best newsletters on the web – Next Draft.
Typically thoughtful musings courtesy of @brainpickings. From Seneca the Younger – ‘It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury…we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.‘
‘Great Unsolved Mysteries of The Web’ – Why don’t retargeting ads stop after I’ve bought the product?’
Ending (for a change) on a somewhat momentous note, according to Barak Obama in Wired, ‘Now Is The Greatest Time To Be Alive‘ (short video)