It was an oddly light offering with regards to tech news this week, even with Facebook’s F8 conference, although one man did accidentally erase his entire company with one line of bad code. That said, here’s a rundown on a few items from the week:
This article from Medium this week speaks of how we might in twenty years’ time look back at 2016 as the year the Internet broke free from its current constraints and “became one with the physical world.” The author spent time with Andy Rubin, creator of Android, at his lab in Palo Alto, California and from that believes that this is the year we’ll see an AI-actuated version of the internet come to life and with people like Rubin involved, it will be an open source one.
Given how much press they are getting right now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some of the most recent press on Bots for the week: Life on the Human/Bot Continuum, Inside Microsoft’s build-a-bot strategy, and Facebook Messenger introducing ‘chat bot’ artificial intelligence.
Last week in HBR was a thought piece on how it’s good bosses, not wellness programs, that bring about wellness in employees. Time and time again, we see that employees prefer a happier workplace to more money. But what leads to employee happiness? A humane workplace. An organization that is built on trust and respect, as well as kindness, forgiveness, and inspiration. The best way for us, as leaders, to improve our employee’s well-being is through what we do day-to-day, not through wellness programs. Also from HBR was an article on how we’re making the wrong case for diversity in Silicon Valley. Instead of just focusing on the social case, let’s look at the business case as well.
Along with that, there’s a terrific post from Kim Scott, a former Google and Apple executive, on the need for radical candor, regardless of gender, in the workplace. As leaders, we need to get our teams to overcome their fear of conflict, starting with a foundation of trust, and not shy away from sharing what they really think of an idea. Along with that, we have to get over a fear of offending, and we certainly need to retrain ourselves from decades of coddling some individuals due to gender and also viewing women who are direct in a negative light.
For those of you who’ve heard quite a bit of rumblings about cable being dead, Wired has a good article about Layer3 and their plan to take on Comcast to reinvent cable. While I think we’re going to see content providers going away from the standard cable package for delivering their content (and already have), the intent behind Layer3 is to re-vitalize the cable market by making the cable experience better.
Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, has invested $250 million dollars in his Parker Institute to develop cancer immunotherapies. This is the largest donation to the field of immunotherapy ever, and is meant to fund something of a cancer cure moonshot. Broadly speaking, cancer immunotherapy researchers seek to understand the mechanisms by which cancer cells evade detection. They are bringing new therapies to market, notably immune checkpoint inhibitors, which help the immune system recognize and target cancer cells as foreign. Parker is approaching cancer research with a startup mindset, funding the ideas that are too complicated or too ambitious for the status quo.
strategy+business has a long missive around the winners, losers, and strategies in the new world economic order. It’s a longer piece, but a good one to read for an overview on where we’ll see the world economy as a whole trend over the next few decades. They also give six key areas businesses should be focused on: developing a cyber-focused center of excellence, mastering the RMB, recognizing relations as a key competency, effectively managing in a multipolar world, cultivating talent wherever you do business, and nurturing innovation everywhere.
One of the more noticeable schisms between younger consumers of technology and everyone else is the tendency for younger people to simply opt in when it comes to sharing sensitive data with the world. One might point to snapchat and say that this isn’t true, that younger users are concerned with privacy. To me it seems they are more interested in limited privacy, and have little concern for what information they share overall with the world, in particular when it comes to location based or demographically based services. This TED talk from 2014 goes into why privacy matters, both in the services we use and with regards to what others (and our government) can discover about us.