Weekly Links & Thoughts #125

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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Reading time indicator: 1 = up to 3 minutes, 2 = 3 to 10 minutes, 3 = more than 10 minutes

  • Howard Schultz Has Something Left to Prove (fortune.com, 3)
    For its effectiveness in the attention economy, this might be one of the worst headlines in history (which ironically makes me put it on top of this week’s article selection). Howard Schultz is the longtime CEO of Starbucks. He has just “stepped down” to become executive chairman. This long feature looks at what made Starbucks a global brand, which role Schultz played in this, and how the coffee chain responds to the challenge to maintain its position and keep expanding in a market which is changing rapidly due to the rise of artisan coffee trends.
  • Should Uber’s next CEO be a robot? (roughtype.com, 2)
    Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is history. And now Nicholas Carr has an interesting suggestion: The next CEO should be a machine. He has a point: “Let’s face it: Kalanick’s great failing was that he was not quite robotic enough. His flaws were not analytical but human. He was a victim of his own meat.” But who knows if a robot would be better. One day, we’d probably wake up to a headline akin to this one by CNN (“The rise and fall of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick”), just replaced with “Uber’s robot CEO” .
  • Leaked recording: Inside Apple’s global war on leakers (theoutline.com, 3)
    Once you read this depiction of Apple’s measures to prevent leaks, it becomes obvious how much of a challenge such an undertaking actually is when you run a global operation.
  • The secret origin story of the iPhone (theverge.com, 3)
    This excerpt from a new book will take 45 minutes to read, but it found it worth the time investment.
  • Conglomerates Didn’t Die. They Look Like Amazon (nytimes.com, 2)
  • Amazon’s new customer (stratechery.com, 3)
    Two good takes concerning Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods which was announced last Friday.
  • Facebook’s AI accidentally created its own language (thenextweb.com, 1)
    This is both impressive and a bit creepy.
  • Turn To Email For Millennial Engagement (mediapost.com, 1)
    Who would have guessed? 58 % of U.S. Millennials (born in the 1980s and 1990s) have a separate email address for brand communication. And: “Millennials are more likely than any other generation to find email and mobile apps important when making a purchase decision.”
  • Are we building artificial brains and uploading minds to the cloud right now? (mrfuturist.com, 2)
    A fascinating thought. Indeed, if one considers that hundreds of millions of people around the planet continuously post their emotional responses, judgments, and biases online, then this data, in a gathered form, might be a potent foundation for artificially brains – that is, if these artificial brains are supposed to come with the same characteristics (and flaws) as the human brain. Recall what was written about Travis Kalanick above.
  • Bitcoin is the Most Stable Store of Value in History (hackernoon.com, 2)
    There is a case to be made that, seen over the complete period of its (still comparatively young) existence, Bitcoin has indeed been pretty “stable” – today a Bitcoin is worth orders of magnitudes more than when it emerged.
  • Network Learning Cities (jarche.com, 2)
    Insightful points regarding the importance and potential of cities in the networked age.
  • Getting Past the Dominance of the Nation State (continuations.com, 1)
    To some extend, this plea for de-emphasizing the nation state will lead to an even bigger role for cities. Coincidentally, both this and the previous article refer to the principle of subsidiarity, which holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most immediate (or local) level that is consistent with their resolution.
  • Estonia to open the world’s first data embassy in Luxembourg (estonianworld.com, 2)
    Estonia is at it again. No other country iterates so much with digital variations of the traditional building blocks of nation states.
  • Can We Mobilize Education Like Manufacturing in WWII? (thisisgoingtobebig.com, 2)
    In order to tackle today’s major challenges regarding ideological conflicts, environment and technology, we should be undergoing the most massive mobilization of human intelligence we’ve ever seen, argues Charlie O’Donnell.
  • The most revolutionary thing about self-driving cars isn’t what you think (weforum.org, 2)
    Because self-driving cars require real-time responses and latency gets in the way of that, self-driving cars will become their own powerful data centers.
  • Adobe shows how to transition to the cloud (diginomica.com, 2)
    I remember some experts’ concerns about Adobe’s future when the company was still in the market of downloadable software. Turns out, its transition to the cloud went down exceptionally well.
  • French President Macron launches tech visa to make France a ‘country of unicorns’ (cnbc.com, 2)
    This will be one to watch.
  • What does it mean for a journalist today to be a Serious Reader? (cjr.org, 3)
    Great feature on the importance of reading for journalists. And obviously, this is not about reading tweets.
  • Why are The Economist’s writers anonymous? (medium.economist.com, 1)
    “Accordingly, articles are often the work of The Economist’s hive mind, rather than of a single author.
  • My thoughts on flight hacking and airline loyalty after 7 years of traveling (medium.com, 2)
    I wrote about my learnings and experiences in “hacking” air travel. As many of you presumably fly a lot, some of you might find some inspiration here.

Recently on meshedsociety.com:

  • If you are worried about “hacked” democracy, quit Facebook
    People who consider Facebook to play a critical role in malicious actor’s undertaking to weaken democracy, should stop using Facebook (I’m not including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram here), thereby preventing themselves from contributing to the business model’s sustainability.

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