Here is a weekly selection of 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 during the weekend.
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- How the sharing economy turned San Francisco into dystopia for the working class
When talking about the gig economy and its impact on individuals, economy and society, differentiating is crucial. Yet, I cannot help to think that the development overall leaves too many people worse off than before.
- The 10 edgiest innovation ideas of 2016
A sophisticated list with a couple of ideas that indeed deserve to be described as “edgy”. And some which are pretty tough to swallow.
- I Found Out My Secret Internal Tinder Rating And Now I Wish I Hadn’t
If you are on Tinder, the company uses all your and other people’s actions inside the app to create an attractiveness score, in order to better match you up with people who have a similar score. It might sound creepy, but it makes sense. Lets just hope that the scores never leak to the public. This could hurt a lot of egos.
- I drew a bunch of dots to explain why social media is broken
A self-promoting post by the creator of This.cm – but in my eyes very accurate.
- Ankommen! German App for Migrants Teaches Critical Info, Language Skills
I am very pleased that Germany managed to launch an official mobile app targeting newly arrived migrants. It sounds like a no-brainer and in 2016, it is. However, Germany has a track-record of ignoring and of not leveraging the potential of the digital world, so with that context in mind, to me this is a surprising initiative. Let’s see how the app catches on.
- On Apple’s Insurmountable Platform Advantage
A brilliant analysis (from October 2015) detailing how Steve Job’s decision to design iPhone processors inhouse has become a huge competitive advantage, and how the facilities and the know-how will benefit the company during the creation of the upcoming Apple car.
- The Power of Data Network Effects
The Venture Capitalist Matt Turck explains the allure of data network effects. Unlike with traditional network effects in which the value for every member of a network increases with the total number of members, data network effects occur when a product or service becomes smarter for all users the more data it gets from users.
- The Labels Still Don’t Get YouTube And It’s Costing Them
Mark Mulligan describes the music industry’s double dilemma with YouTube: The service is outperforming on-demand audio streaming services as a music destination (but generating less revenue for the music industry), while at the same time native creators are outperforming traditional musicians.
- Your predictions about technology in the future are probably wrong
- Snapchat’s Missing Out on Millions Because It Sucks to Find Stuff on Its App
On Snapchat, finding users, publications or brands to follow is notoriously hard (or to be more specific: Impossible if you do not know their username). This article discusses the question whether that should be considered a bug or a feature. Good question.
- Swedish Tech Companies Undisputed European Champions of VC, New Report Says
Remarkable: In 2015, Swedish tech companies have collected more funding than tech companies in any other European country. Although to be fair, Spotify’s $500 million round skewed the statistic a bit.
- The Controlled Deflation of the Bubble is Almost Complete
This is the first high-profile tech entrepreneur I am aware of to state that the tech industry’s bubble “has been successfully deflated in a very controlled fashion”.
- What’s in a Boarding Pass Barcode? A Lot
Next time you want to throw away your boarding pass after a flight without destroying it, think twice.
- The CIA-backed start-up that’s taking over Palo Alto
Palantir, dubbed by Business Insider “The most secretive unicorn in Silicon Valley“, is taking over building by building in the city of Palo Alto, for a reason: the proximity to Stanford University. For Palo Alto, the city where Facebook was born, this has big consequences.
- The e-book Industry is in a State of Decline – 2015 Year in Review
This is not how it is supposed to be. Theoretically, e-books should still be in the beginning of the category’s product life cycle. But maybe, in practice things are different? Or it is just a temporary dip.
- Evernote’s 5% problem offers a cautionary lesson to tech companies
Insightful analysis of why Evernote did not succeed with continuing on its growth path. Learnings for all startup entrepreneurs inside.
- The Easy Way To Learn Hard Stuff
Smart advice. I have started to learn Python with the help of Codecademy and will try to implement the philosophy presented in this piece in my next steps (provided that I will manage to make “next steps”).
- Nest Thermostat Glitch Leaves Users in the Cold
I am full of doubts about whether the smart home really is a good idea. But I also have doubts if it even matters for future market success whether it, maybe only in hindsight, will turn out to be a bad idea.
- The Zappos Exodus Continues After a Radical Management Experiment
A prime-example for bold risk taking: A while ago, the Amazon-owned U.S. online shoe retailer Zappos has introduced the self-management system Holacracy to its employees. Those who did not want to accept the change could take a generous buyout. With this offer, the company lost 18 percent of its workforce since March.
Recent articles on meshedsociety.com
- Digital communication lacks a human side and Virtual Reality could change that
Palmer Luckey of Oculus VR thinks that Virtual Reality makes digital communication a lot more human than previous technologies. Maybe there is hope that a mass adoption of VR would help to tackle the widespread problem of hate speech online.
- Food hacking and my experiences with Joylent
Are you wondering why people would replace their delicious meals with powder and shakes? I explain why I did it and how it went so far.
- Understanding the world in 2016
The world seems more chaotic, complex and volatile than ever before. I present a few mental models and thinking strategies which I try to employ in order to better understand what is going on.
Quote of the week
- “Email might be the cockroach of the Internet”
Stewart Butterfield, founder and CEO of Slack, on the a16z Podcast.