Google beyond Search, Build Networks, Not Bots, Facebook’s Vision for the Year 2026 + more

To start off, take a look at this article from CNET that hints at the different areas that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is investing in to find new Blue Ocean for the company.  While search continues to be a cash cow, Alphabet is wary enough to realize that at any time disruption could occur and that diversification is required.  The question is, how much leeway will Alphabet’s investors give the company; profit missed expectations in Q1 and if that trend continues, we may see a shift in the appetite of Alphabet’s shareholders.

Construction may not be the first thing to come to mind when we think of big data and analytics, but this article from Forbes highlights how the industry is being transformed by Hadoop and data lakes.  The constant tension between architects, engineers, and owners may find a happy medium through the use of big data.  When working through the complexity of large construction projects, firms need access to both two and three dimensional models, financial and corporate data, schedules, pipelines, weather, and much more.  The industry is now working directly with tech firms to develop specific tools to enable hoped for efficiencies.

re/code adds its voice to the Bot conversation this week with the position that when focused on who consumes your content or product; one should first focus on building the network of users behind that product before venturing into the arena of bots.  Why?  If we look at the number of apps out there that are downloaded and used once and then never used a second time, it’s staggering – some 75% of all apps suffer from this.  Why?  Because the companies that release them don’t create the ecosystem to hook users into using them by making them feel part of a network.  If companies start building bots for other people’s platforms without learning their lesson from failures in single use apps, they will fail to engage their audience again.  With that, take a moment to look at a dive into what chatbots reveal about our own shortcoming.

Will we see algorithms replace the RFP process familiar to so many of us?   That’s the aim of Agency Geek in the marketing vertical. By having agencies fill out a survey and submit a profile, Agency Geek hopes to leverage its 100-point algorithm to skip a step in the process as a start and identify agencies that fit the customer’s needs before the search process even begins.  While it’ll be interesting to see if the company finds success with this method in the marketing vertical, I think it again points to a great use for big data and analytics in the future.

There’s a great excerpt from Algorithms to Live By: the Computer Science of Human Decisions at Wired this week – how computer science reveals exactly how to organize closets.  It’s not a short read, but it has some of the better analogies when it comes to computer science which is easily accessible for non-technical people out there.  The book itself looks promising and I’ll have to add it to the bottom of my current stack.  The top of that stack right now?  The Power of Thanks, but more on that in another week or three.

If you think that you already share more information than you should with Facebook, check out the vision Zuckerberg laid out at the F8 conference and you’re in for an unpleasant surprise.  That said, with the way we continue to opt in and vary how we connect with others, it will become the norm with relative ease.  As part of that, we can expect a world where everyone has an internet connection, where we will choose who our “personal tribe” is not by proximity but by choice, and Facebook will have an ecosystem where their platform in the backbone of the business to consumer space in our new semi-virtual world.  Speaking of our coming virtual world, Motherboard has a good look at how photogrammetric virtual reality is where it’s at.  Then there’s this article about Magic Leap, the world’s most secretive start up.

That’s enough for this week, although if you’ve got some extra time, there are two good articles from HBR this week on the secret history of agile innovation and why unicorns are struggling, as well as Fortune’s article on why Richard Branson thinks you should hire from within and let employees work from home, and last James Baldwin on the creative process and the artist’s responsibility society.

Since this has been an algorithm heavy week, it seems only fitting to end with an excellent talk from Kevin Slavin on how algorithms shape our world.

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