Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.
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- A deep look at Google’s biggest-ever search quality crisis (searchengineland.com, 3)
The wave of fake news and the ideological war about facts and truth are undermining the foundation of Google’s success: The trust in its search results.
- 10 work skills for the postnormal era (workfutures.io, 3)
While this intelligent list is labeled “work skills”, these skills might as well be considered general personal traits to thrive in the years to come. According to the author Stowe Boyd, “boundless curiosity” is the most crucial skill to develop. This sounds right to me.
- This Must Be The /r/Place (waxy.org, 1)
On April Fool’s Day (which is “when the internet is at its most annoying” – quote from this post), Reddit launched an incredible social experiment which was aimed at demonstrating how its users in collaboration can build great things.
- Computer Moves (reallifemag.com, 3)
With machines getting better at all kind of mind games, it is about time to learn to lose and to see the potential in that kind of “skill”. Because in fact, even if computers will increasingly beat humans, that won’t make games obsolete. You are always more amused to beat a friend than a computer. Computers can teach important lessons to use when playing against humans.
- Will robots displace humans as motorised vehicles ousted horses? (economist.com, 2)
If humans will become the new horses, then maybe we can find peace in the knowledge that horses are still around, even if they are not needed anymore. But obviously this comparison is flawed since humans are experts in making up tasks (which often are complete bullshit), which horses aren’t. Still a thought-provoking analogy.
- Forget butter with your popcorn. How about a steak at the movie theatre? (theglobeandmail.com, 2)
Prepare for the emergence of “microcinemas” that make the question where to go after obsolete. In some places in Asia (and possibly elsewhere, too), getting full meals even during the movie is already possible.
- The High-Speed Trading Behind Your Amazon Purchase (news.morningstar.com, 1)
If you ever have wondered about odd pricing of products sold by third parties on Amazon, this might explain it. It’s astonishing to learn how third-party vendors are battling for visibility.
- It’s getting harder and harder to tell Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter apart (recode.com, 1)
Could be one reason why Snapchat is now trying to become a search engine.
- Starbucks, Amazon, Dunkin’ Donuts Drive New Mobile Payment Behaviors (mediapost.com, 1)
Smart point: The players that are successfully pushing mobile payments are those that embed it into the larger customer experience process. This is the added value that has been missing and that has been preventing mobile payments from reaching mainstream for so long.
- Streaming Music Services, From Most Screwed to Least Screwed (gizmodo.com, 2)
A remarkable list. There for sure will be more casualties in the streaming space.
- Inside chatbots’ year of growing pains: ‘We’re at an inflection point’ (marketingland.com, 3)
About the state of the chatbots. The hype and inflated expectations are gone for now, but that’s most likely a good thing.
- Germany’s Race to Catch Up in the Startup World (spiegel.de, 3)
Personal observation: Interestingly, it seems as currently not startups but the widely respected German industrial incumbents (and specifically the car companies) are pushing digital ideas forward the most. Let’s see if they will be successful in invalidating the innovator’s dilemma.
- Venture Capital Funnel Shows Odds of Becoming a Unicorn Are Less than 1% (cbinsights.com, 2)
Of 1098 tracked tech companies that raised seed financing rounds in the US in 2008-2010, only 46% managed to raise a second round of funding, and 0.91% companies became unicorns valued at $1 billion or more.
- Why this venture capitalist wants to make traditional VC obsolete (americanbanker.com, 3)
Speaking about venture capital, in this insightful interview, the VC Brock Pierce predicts that in 10 to 20 years no startup in the world will be financed in any way other than through crypto tokens. If you have no idea what he is talking about, don’t only read the interview but listen to the podcast episode recommended below.
- Why HTTPS Won’t Keep Your Internet Usage Habits Secret (inc.com, 2)
Good to be aware of the shortcomings of the secure protocol for web communication.
- Companies start implanting microchips into workers’ bodies (latimes.com, 2)
How long until this becomes a requirement at certain types of companies in order to be eligible for employment there?
- Mastodon is dead in the water (medium.com, 3)
Over the past days, a new decentralized Twitter clone called Mastodon has captivated the attention and imagination of people in the tech sphere. Read this well reflected analysis of the pros and cons (the article’s sentiment is less negative than what the headline suggests).
- Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things (atlasobscura.com, 2)
This has nothing to do with the usual topical scope of meshedsociety.com weekly, but it is too fascinating not to point to.
Recently on meshedsociety.com:
- Becoming a “better” human in the digital age
In the digital age, the human brain can be tricked and manipulated more effectively than ever before, as most recently shown by Uber’s attempts to influence its drivers’ behavior. So how to maintain a level of autonomy then? Most probably by developing the ability to go against one’s nature and primal instincts – which humans have done many times before.
Podcast episode of the week:
- a16z Podcast: Cryptocurrencies, App Coins, and Investing in Protocols
This podcast offers rather challenging content due to the complicated nature of the topic, but the participants try their best to make it as comprehensible as possible. In my opinion, the potential of using cryptocurrencies to fund and finance startups, open source software and new protocols is too intriguing to be ignored.
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