Microsoft Woes, 24 Lessons on Technology, Innovation, Media and Business from SXSW 2016, Culture Is Not the Culprit + more

If you didn’t see the news, at a launch party last week Microsoft threw a bash in San Francisco at a game developer’s conference.   This is totally incongruous with the firm’s ongoing efforts to encourage women to work in the tech industry.  Being an ex-Softie, I’m not surprised that this happened but absolutely ashamed that it did.  While still “viewed” as a part of the gaming culture (an outdated view given the high number of game players that are women), it’s truly troubling for a company of Microsoft’s size and influence to continue to foster a culture where this is possible.  What made it worse was how the head of Xbox then addressed how this affected the company’s appearance without calling out the underlying issue.   There’s been an understandable outcry as a result.

In addition to that, Microsoft launched and deleted within 24 hours a “teen girl” AI named Tay after the internet made it racist in little time.  Now, arguably, it wasn’t a true AI and it learned from what was tweeted at it.  Cleverbot had a similar issue a few years ago, but not as quickly and with such results as what happened with Tay.  There are quite a few articles on this one, including from MarketWatch, Slate, The Telegraph, and The Guardian to name a few.  I should warn you that the internet took Tay down the path of racism, holocaust denial, and a number of other paths before you read the articles. Along with that, though, is this article from the Wall Street Journal about the infancy of AI.

As the title implies, 24 Lessons is a summary article from The Medium about the key themes from South by Southwest this year – many we’ve already discussed, some that are new, and some that are novel.

There’s an interesting piece this week from HBR on how, while most companies try to fix culture when they get into trouble, in the end the leaders of those organizations realize changes to culture by putting new processes or structures in place to address the tough issues a business is facing.  The authors cite conversations with Doug Baker, Richard Anderson, Alan Mulally, and Dan Vasella to illustrate their points, and time and again it came down to changing the processes at the company that brought about the culture the leaders desired.

One developer.  Eleven lines of Code.  One broken internet.  That almost happened this week.

Goldman Sachs put out a good summary on Blockchain and how it could disrupt everything that is a good follow on for previous articles I’ve shared.  This one is a pdf report and is from their Emerging Theme Radar so it delves into a number of other topics as well, including how the Cloud can help cure cancer, another coming flash crash, and space one again being the new frontier.

The on-demand app economy we’ve seen thrive with Uber and AirBNB may not be one that translates everywhere after all.  That said, things are starting to heat up between Lyft and Uber.

If you’ve not heard of Domo, take a moment to read this piece on the data analytics startup and why they’ve been running in stealth mode so long.  They’ve just announced a new app called The Business Cloud that takes all of the data that Domo is really good at importing from other apps and puts it all into a slick, useable interface that allows users to see what anyone else in their company is working on.  It’s early days, but we might finally have a dashboard that pulls all the data into one easily digestible place.

Have you wondered what Alphabet is and what the impetus was behind creating it?  Fast Company has outlined that in this recent article as to the why that drove the restructuring and what we might expect to see come from it.

Last, take a few minutes to meet the dazzling flying machines of the future.

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