Weekly Links & Thoughts #75

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.

If you want to make sure not to miss this link selection, do like more than 200 other smart people (as of June 2016) and sign up for free for the weekly email. It is sent out each Thursday right after this post goes live, including all the links. Example.

  • The truth about the blockchain: It’s not ready
    Whenever I try to fully understand new ideas built on the Blockchain, my head keeps spinning and I wonder how developers in this field ensure to not completely get lost in the complexity of this topic. Reading that even a Blockchain developer can feel that way is comforting. The whole piece is very worth reading and offers some welcome realism to a very hyped topic.
  • A Thought on Thoughts About the Future
    People tend to take dystopian depictions of the future much more seriously than utopian ones. Imagining an utopia is harder and usually gets you less respect and appreciation by others. A thought-provoking take.
  • The Tech Story Is Over
    John Battelle asks a relevant question: Now that digital technology is mainstream, ubiquitous and at the core of each social issue, what is the next big thing?
  • What is Differential Privacy?
    Whether one was disappointed by the lack of cutting-edge innovation presented at Apple’s most recent keynote or not, one has to give that to the company: It rather unexpectedly managed to popularize a fairly new privacy concept: Differential privacy. This text offers a comprehensible and critical explanation of what differential privacy means and why it would be interesting to Apple. It’s too early to say whether it mainly has to be seen as a marketing ploy or whether Apple is serious about it as a new USP to compete with Google, Facebook and other companies in the age of AI.
  • The End of the Apple Man
    Good observation: Apple seems to have stopped considering affluent white men in their 40s as the (ideal) prototype user for its products.
  • Snapchat Launches a Colossal Expansion of Its Advertising, Ushering in a New Era for the App
    A long, detailed and very informative piece describing Snapchat’s rapid expansions of its ad business. It pretty much was non-existent 2 years ago but is now expected to generate $1 billion in revenues next year.
  • With LinkedIn, Microsoft will know us all too well
  • With LinkedIn Purchase, Microsoft Not Learning Lessons of the Past
    Microsoft announced its plan to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. As one can expect, the opinions on this giant acquisition differ. These two takes are very different. One suggests that through LinkedIn, Microsoft will get vast amounts of valuable user data, whereas the other paints a picture of Microsoft repeating the mistakes it did with Skype. Bonus links: Salesforce should be worried, and it is getting likely that Google might respond with an acquisition of struggling Twitter.
  • How Yahoo derailed Tumblr
    If we are at discussing acquisitions which turned out to be failuxres, this one should be mentioned.
  • How 26 Tweets Broke My Filter Bubble
    Escaping one’s filter bubble leads to personal growth, valuable insights and an improved understanding of the world. But it requires quite some effort, as described in this instructive text.
  • Starbucks has more customer money on cards than many banks have in deposits
    Remarkable. Maybe large consumer companies are turning into the new banks?
  • German Rail aims for driver-less trains in 5 years
    Recently, the German Rail faced a sequence of large-scale strikes by train drivers. These might have encouraged the management to search for alternatives.
  • The Venmo Request: A New Wrinkle in Modern Dating
    As someone living in Northern Europe the practice of splitting the bill after a date does not appear strange to me. Now the peer-to-peer payment app Venmo seems to shaken up the behavioral norms surrounding dates in the US.
  • The Mistrust of Science
    A worrying trend.

Special reading

  • The Future According to Women
    A free mini book in PDF format presenting what over 40 women from various industries expect from and hope for the future. Considering that usually men are dominating the discourse about the future – especially in technology – , this is an important contribution.

Podcast episode of the week

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