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
- How Tech Bubbles Accelerate Innovation (shift.newco.co, 3)
An interesting contrarian take on the phenomenon of bubbles: They might not only be an inevitable but also a necessary step in order to establish technological innovations.
- E-Commerce as a Jobs Engine? One Economist’s Unorthodox View (nytimes.com, 2)
Let’s continue with approaching conventional wisdom from a different angle: There are at least some indicators that e-commerce is actually creating more (and possibly even better) jobs than what disappear in stationary retail. Especially intriguing: The theory that e-commerce transfers previously “unpaid household labor” (such as the physical procedure of going shopping and carrying goods home) into the labor market.
- How music streaming service SoundCloud ended up on the brink of extinction (businessinsider.de, 3)
A summary of the events and strategic decisions that brought SoundCloud to the critical point where it is right now. I’m streaming from SoundCloud right at this moment and hope the service finds a way to survive. However, I am pessimistic that this is possible without a takeover by a company with deep pockets.
- The 4 Keys to Learning Anything (zenhabits.net, 2)
Excellent framework. I realized recently that I actually have become “addicted” to learning. When I don’t actively learn something during the course of a day, I feel unaccomplished. Maybe not a very healthy state either, but I think a main driving factor for me is what’s called in this piece “Find Enjoyment in the Process”. Once you find enjoyment in the process of learning, it is hard to let it be.
- I’ve been a self-employed independent creator for 10 years. I don’t recommend it. (medium.com, 2)
Thought-provoking musings. Worth noting though that there is a big difference between not recommending it and not liking it.
- Startups are cheaper to build, but more expensive to grow – here’s why (andrewchen.co, 2)
Important fact to consider before throwing yourself behind a startup idea.
- This Communications Service For Gamers Has Already Outgrown Slack (forbes.com, 2)
This is the first time that I hear about a team chat service named Discord. To my own surprise, it is said to have more than 45 million users, high activity levels, and it appears to be eyeing beyond the initial core target group of gamers.
- California is changing its roads for self-driving cars (scpr.org, 2)
California is aggressively pushing ahead with preparing its road system for self-driving cars. A state official explains in this informative interview what that means.
- Amazon’s push into social may set it on a collision course with Facebook (venturebeat.com, 2)
- Google’s brave new friendless feed (techcrunch.com, 2)
The past days have been interesting, with both Amazon and Google emphasizing their ambitions to compete with the existing feed-based social media services, but on their own terms (and in case of Google, for once completely without social component).
- How AWS Cloud is demolishing the cult of youth (redmonk.com, 1)
The tech industry tends to be obsessed with youth. But Amazon is a bit of an outlier.
- Apple’s other products (asymcro.com, 2)
Why it makes no sense at all to analyze the performance of Apple’s “services” and “other” products isolated from its main business.
- What if AI is a failed dream? (madebymany.com, 2)
While it currently does not look like it, it’s still a question worth thinking about, in order to maybe come up with a plan B.
- AI Is Inventing Languages Humans Can’t Understand. Should We Stop It? (fastcodesign.co, 2)
Once you begin to ponder about which language AI-powered machines should use to communicate with each other, you might not be able to stop. It inevitably has to lead to questioning the role of human language, its shortcomings etc.
- Companies Increasingly Punch Back at the Media (ishmaelscorner.com, 2)
Companies that act as their own little media entities and that show up with their rebuttals to critical media articles right next to it on Google News are becoming the new norm.
- How Uber’s Hard-Charging Corporate Culture Left Employees Drained (buzzfeed.com, 3)
A 27-minute read confirming everything you assumed about Uber’s cut throat work culture. It keeps astonishing me what some people are willing to go through to gain lots of money and power. Sadly, this often means not only ruining themselves (which everyone is free to do) but also leaving all ethical and moral concerns aside and causing collateral damage to society at large.
- Why a Company Can’t “Be More Like a Startup” (steveblank.com, 2)
“Startups can do anything. Companies can only do what’s legal.” – for a long time, Uber was the prime example for the first sentence. However, the tide might have turned this year.
- Ethereum Is Already Using a Small Country’s Worth of Electricity (motherboard.vice.com, 2)
The long-standing energy issue of Blockchain applications. However, according to this article, there is a solution in sight.
- In Urban China, Cash Is Rapidly Becoming Obsolete (nytimes.com, 2)
A well-known phenomenon: Newcomers (here China) leapfrogging the technological status quo (prevalent in the West) and turning into the leader when it comes to user adoption of a new technology or way of doing things.
- Creation and consumption (ben-evans.com, 2)
People refer to the PC as a device for creation and to the smartphone as a device for consumption. If you look beyond the cliché, there is not so much substance.
Recently on meshedsociety.com:
- Analyzing the Hacker News front page as a Python beginner
Learning to code gets much more exciting when you know enough to run your own little projects: I analyzed the Hacker News front page and created a couple of plots visualizing the data.
Podcast of the week:
- a16z Podcast: Addiction vs Popularity in the Age of Virality
A great question being investigated here: What does it actually mean to be popular in the age of virality?
- The Kevin Rose Show: Ryan Holiday – Stoic Philosophy 101
I find the Stoic philosphy to be a highly effective “tool” to better handle some of the phenomena and side effects of the digital age, so I warmly recommend this talk between Kevin Rose and “The Daily Stoic” author Ryan Holiday.
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