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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- The Internet of Things Will Be the World’s Biggest Robot
A powerful metaphor. Maybe also a bit creepy.
- The Reality of Missing Out
Brilliant piece describing the increasing dominance of Facebook and Google along the complete advertisement value chain. This might also be one of the explanations for why many of previously thriving ad-financed Internet companies have seen their stock prices collapse lately – investors are realizing how Google and Facebook are sucking up an ever growing part of the total advertising pie.
- A Brief History of the Corporation: 1600 to 2100
Looking at phenomenons taken for granted today from a historical perspective often leads to new and informative insights. That’s also the case with this long essay. Worth a read if you have a bit more time.
- Expect Some Unicorns to Lose Their Horns, and It Won’t Be Pretty
The consolidation in the Internet and technology industry is in full effect, leading to decreased valuations for many of the so called “Unicorns”, which in turn can cause various conflicts within the organizations. This article explains it well.
- How the decimation of the IPO market has hurt the economy and worse
One of the reasons for why the number of Unicorns has grown so massively is that many maturing companies have postponed to go public, instead relying on huge amounts of external funding. The billionaire, entrepreneur, investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a big problem with this trend.
- Sound Blaster: Make Some Noise
I haven’t gotten in contact with the term “Sound Blaster” for probably 20 years. Reading this brought back some nice memories from my early PC days.
- Robots deliver fun with hotel room service orders, and they don’t expect a tip
Great idea! Whenever I order something through room service (which is not often), I find the moment of delivery extremely awkward and uncomfortable.
- Can You Fall In Love With Someone Through Text Message?
- Your Next New Best Friend Might Be a Robot
I’m convinced that having machines as “friends” (no matter if with a physical representation or purely software-based) will become a totally normal thing within a few years. If you doubt that, just think about how Tamagotchi was a big deal in the 90s. If certain requirements are met, people don’t care about whether they invest emotions in a creature of flesh and blood or a computer.
- The Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Internet
Learning about the sad state of Internet connectivity in Ethiopia surprised me. So far I was under the impression that this African country belongs to the more forward-looking and advanced ones on the continent (in part this picture was created thanks to the success of Ethiopian Airlines, I guess).
- The end of politicis: Cities, Social Networks and Loneliness in the 21st Century
Inspiring interview about how the forces of digital, culture and cities are impacting each other and changing our lifes.
- How Ljubljana Turned Itself Into Europe’s ‘Green Capital’
Sounds very promising. Time to book a weekend trip to Ljubljana, I guess.
- Searching for the Algorithms Underlying Life
A scientific interview about the question if there is an algorithm that could describe and quantify the process of learning in humans, using the knowledge gathered from building artificial intelligence.
- A data-driven argument on why Marc Andreessen is wrong about Free Basics
India has banned Facebook’s widely criticized initiative to provide poor citizens with a scaled-down version of the Internet, with the social networking company as the gatekeeper. This post offers some very good arguments for why this is the right thing to do.
- The New, New Economy: How the World of Online Publishing Is Changing, and Why You Should Care
A competent, accurate description of how independent online publishing has changed over the past years, concluding that times are much tougher now for those trying to build up reach with a blog. Sad but likely true.
- How this Uber driver made £60,000 in 6 months while barely driving at all
Back when Dropbox was the hottest kid on the block, some people accumulated huge amounts of additional free storage by making heavy use of Dropbox’ referral system. Now thanks to Uber and its referral system, some people actually can make a living by bringing new drivers to the service, without driving themselves.
- Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police
Where there is a need, there is an app.
- Slack Was Voted Fastest-Rising Startup at Tech Award Show—and 4 of Its Black Female Engineers Accepted the Award
It sounds so trivial, yet in the white-men-dominated Internet industry, this is an incredibly unusual and powerful message.
- The Apple Watch got me hooked on mechanical watches
This is probably not the effect Apple hoped for when it launched the Apple Watch.
- Quartz’s new app wants to text you the news
This is what I call innovation. It remains to be seen whether the smart text bot approach will work well with news in the long run, but initially, this app looks extremely cool. Try it.
Recent articles on meshedsociety.com
- Slack & the next step in the evolution of messaging
I consider Slack and similar team communication services to be the next step in messaging. After one-group-per-thread chat apps comes the concept of group communication hubs which combine the best features from messengers and traditional social networks. The big question is: Will Slack be the one driving this forward even outside the field of professional communication or someone else?
- How the media reports about SoundCloud’s financials
News about SoundCloud’s financial results are making the rounds. Many sites focus on the bad and the ugly, but I like how one site puts the reader’s needs into the center.
- Inside the hype
Over many years I have witnessed others and myself joining in on hype after hype about new online services and apps – which later flopped. Time to look a bit closer at what’s going on when this happens.
- Countering monopolistic tendencies in tech
The monopolization of the digital economy is advancing rapidly, which challenges the national cartel offices. It’s clear that they have to adjust their criteria for investigations.
Podcast episode of the week
- Dorm Room Tycoon: Ciarán O’Leary about Investing in Europe
Listen to this if you are interested in the European technology and startup scene and in the investment business that makes this scene possible.
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