Weekly Links & Thoughts #88

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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Length indicator: 1 = short, 2 = medium, 3 = long

  • The Age of Apple is Over (3)
    Is Apple the new Microsoft? It looks like it. But of course that’s nothing bad. It just means that one has to adjust expectations.
  • The Future is More Content: Jeff Bezos, Robots and High Volume Publishing (3)
    Some predict a decrease in the amount of new content online, caused by the overheating or even collapse of the attention economy. However, after having been acquired by Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post is headed into the opposite direction: More and more content that increasingly caters to the long tail. A must-read analysis of the Post’s publishing strategy and what it says about the future of content (consumption).
  • The New World Order Is Ruled By Global Corporations And Megacities—Not Countries (3)
    The rise of powerful corporations as well as the growing importance and interlinking of cities across the globe as been an recurring theme at meshedsociety.com. This feature connects both trends by pointing to the common denominator: Most nation states are increasingly powerless.
  • The European Union’s online reforms help the old more than the new (2)
    The headline sums up the core problem with the European Union’s plan for a single digital market quite well. Helping startups, newcomers and innovation is only second priority. Sadly.
  • Systems blindness and how we deal with it (2)
    The theories of systems thinking are fascinating and their internalization is critical to better navigate complex world. System blindness is one part of systems thinking: The inability to see certain effects that will be the consequence of an action. These consequences are often labeled “side effects”, but as the author argues, there are no side effects, just effects that result from our flawed understanding of the system.
  • Bring your own network (1)
    This appears to me as one of the crucial principles of our times for not only new recruits but for all kinds of scenarios in which individuals team up to achieve a joint goal: People don’t only bring their knowledge, but also their networks – which in our digital era can be huge. BYON. Love it.
  • How to Teach Computational Thinking (3)
    Computer scientist Stephen Wolfram explains in this longform essay how kids can learn to think computational (with the help of the programming language he invented). Self-promoting but nevertheless quite educational.
  • Barcelona just Declared War on Airbnb (and its Hosts) (2)
    Some cities were very quick to oppose the trend of private homes being transformed into holiday apartments, others are slower. But eventually, every city has to come up with a solution which works for everyone.
  • It’s Tough Being Over 40 in Silicon Valley (2)
    Quite tragic, even more considering that being 40 today does not mean the same thing as being 40 two decades ago. For many people in cosmopolitan Western cities, 40 is the new 30.
  • Dear Mark Zuckerberg (2)
    In the wake of the controversy about the photo of the “Napalm girl” deleted by Facebook, Jeff Jarvis argues that Facebook needs to stop pretending that its culturally embedded philosophy of algorithmic thinking is enough to govern complex public debates happening on its platform.
  • Twilio study: most consumers now want to use messaging to interact with businesses (1)
    Twilio is biased here. Nevertheless, from my own perspective, I have a big desire to switch any kind of interaction with businesses from the phone to messaging. So far, despite Facebook’s attempts to bring c2b conversations to its Messenger, this desire is largely unfulfilled.
  • Who will buy Twitter? We ranked all the possible buyers (3)
    A solid composition of pros and cons for the most likely buyers.
  • Moon shots – the new trend in corporate venturing (2)
    Now that the Unicorn euphoria has calmed down, technology investors focus on the next thing: moon shots. Large investments in long term and risky innovation projects.
  • The returns to entrepreneurship (2)
    A 7 year old blog post nailing how entrepreneurship in the Internet age has changed compared to before, and what the impact is on society: the smart are getting richer.
  • How Nida is “uberising” hotel rooms (2)
    What an interesting sounding business model: Nida rents a few hotel rooms from smaller non-chain hotels and rebrands them as Nida Rooms, offering guests the promise of “clean budget rooms in a good location at the right price”.
  • No Driver? Bring It On. How Pittsburgh Became Uber’s Testing Ground (2)
    When reading about Uber’s self-driving car pilot project that just was kicked off in Pittsburgh, maybe I am not the only one who has been wondering: “Why Pittsburgh?”. The New York Times explains (in short: It seems as if Pittsburgh simply has not put too many obstacles in Uber’s way, unlike many other cities).
  • I rode in a self-driving Uber, and I’m glad there was a real driver as backup (1)
    So how does it feel to be an Uber passenger cruising through Pittsburgh in a self-driving vehicle? Here is a short first account.
  • Augmented Exercise: People Playing Pokémon Go Have Burned 340 Billion Calories (1)
    Totally amazing. From the article: “The reality is that one lightly augmented reality game has probably done more to get people off their couches, out of their homes, and on their feet than decades of well-meaning propaganda from governments, schools, and health authorities.”

Recently on meshedsociety.com

Podcast episode of the week

  • a16z Podcast: Sleep!
    Thought-provoking discussion between Arianna Huffington and Nitasha Tiku about our culture’s (and the tech industry’s) problematic relationship with sleep.

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