Apple. Vs. the FBI, How to Strategize for Robustness, Facebook’s Fumble in India + more

One of the big stories this week has been about Apple’s refusal to allow the FBI access to one of the San Bernardino, CA shooter’s phone as part of the FBI’s investigation.  Apple’s stance is in direct defiance of the FBI and other tech companies have been taking a variety of stances on this, including Google’s confusing and disheartening one based on Google’s previous stances.  This article captures those stances across the industry – stay tuned as this develops.

New Republic this week digs into the mountain of data that Amazon navigates to provide the consumer’s experience and declares that Amazon is the only one who can make useful sense of it, and it begs the question of what Amazon is learning about its customer base given its ability to make sense of all that data.  On top of that, there’s this blog entry by a PhD Student focused on computer vision that delves into the dark side of big data.

In the past I’ve shared some articles on Unicorns and start ups and what their performance (or lack thereof) means.  This week there’s another set that dig a little deeper: What Most People Don’t Understand About How Startup Companies are Valued,  The Unit Economics of On-Demand Startups Explained,  The Rise and Fall of the Unicorn, and Media Unicorns: Unbearable Billion Dollar Valuations.

Boston Consulting Group shared a “how-to” deck on strategizing for robustness.  I like this share because of how it pivots off of the structure of biology for how we can then pursue their proposed principles for robustness, and the infographic is slick and accessible.  It’s a starting point, sure, for much deeper questions, but BCG really crystallizes what we need to be considering as leaders.

A questions I often hear asked and have shared other articles around is whether majoring in liberal arts is a mistake for today’s college student.  Medium this week asks exactly that question, while this article discusses how by becoming an artist you can succeed in the emerging economy, and last The Atlantic takes a look at the why behind the surge of American teens who excel at math.

strategy+business has another great article this week, this time on how to grow into an original person.  Based on a new book on non-conformists, the article talks about how originality is defined (it’s not all about life-threatening experiences or death-defying feats that push you out of your comfort zone) and are more likely to be the ones who discern which ideas are the best.  This flies counter to what we’ve heard, that original thinkers and entrepreneurs need to be risk takers and willing to throw it all to the wind.  It’s all in all, an interesting, fresh take on originality.

If you’d not heard, Facebook had a bit of a PR snag in India this last week, with one of its board members really putting his foot in it by  stating, after Facebook’s Free Basics service was denied by India’s telecom regulator, that “Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?”  There’s a lot of press out there if you want to learn more about the events in question, however Bhaskar Chakravoti has an insightful piece this week on HBR on the lessons we can learn from Facebook’s fumble in India.  Tying back to the notion of how we do need the liberal arts, Chakravoti quote Steve Jobs saying “…technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”

Last, my friend Scott Weider, who is perhaps the most seasoned change management professional I know, sent a  collection of videos on the subject he recommended.  These were all, with the exception of Sinek’s Start with Why, new to me, and were thoroughly worth the watch.

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