Last week there was a bit a news around Uber losing a bit of money in the first half of 2016. This week, news came out about Google’s own efforts to undercut Uber in San Francisco in the ride-sharing game leveraging its Waze app. That goes a ways to explain why David Drummond exited from Uber’s board, and this week Stratechery has a great article on the evolution of transportation as a service. Mind you, Google would be wise to focus on first/last mile issues like Uber and Lyft, and at the same time might not avoid “doing evil” in that pursuit.
Speaking of cars, did you know that earlier this year for the first time the net adds of connected cars surpassed that of smartphones in the US. This all points to how connected cars are going to become revenue machines, or so says TechCrunch, and I think they’re on to something.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a bit of a geek and I like learning about obscure or trivial things. I like it when writers connect disparate concepts in new and insightful ways. While these aren’t obscure, this article from Business Insider that walks through the seventeen equations that changed the world was right up my alley.
If you hadn’t heard, there’s a strike today in India which has shut down most of the country. The strikes were driven by the belief that Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, is pursuing anti-labor policies. Entire cities have been shut down, with transportation and banks hit hardest. On top of that, add this article about how Tata and Infosys are starting to feel the Brexit heat and you start to see the potential storm that could hit India’s economy.
There was a great interview this week from recode with Quip CEO Bret Taylor, not just because it explores his belief that companies die when they are afraid to fail, but also for his statement that you have to aggressively recruit a diverse workforce from the start or you will fail at employee diversity. Popular Science has a piece this week that speaks to hiring diversity in Silicon Valley as well.
I gave an overview a while back on artificial intelligence and the difference between narrow and general intelligence. The reality is we just don’t know how far we are out from having AGI, which is likely the next internet or iPhone level innovation. The New Yorker’s Om Malik explores the hope and hype of AI this week, and the thing that struck home for me most was this “computers do the best they can (that is being consistent, objective, precise), and humans do our best (creative, imprecise but adaptive).” That’s the best description I’ve heard of the disconnect, and the reason why even when we achieve AGI the human race is so interesting – because we’re imprecise but adaptive.
The first software startup was founded in 1892. Well, not really, but that kind of hyperbole catches the eye, doesn’t it? Well, GE is that software startup, and while they just started their push to be competitive with Google and Microsoft a few years ago, they’re serious about it, to the tune of billions of dollars and thousands of people.
Speaking of click bait and hyperbole, ever wondered how government agencies can hack into your smartphone? Well, here’s a story of how hackers from the NSA got caught doing exactly that.
You may have heard the news this week that the EU has levied a 13 Billion Euro tax on Apple for back taxes. Apple’s response? That the EU can either have their back taxes or jobs, but not both. Robert Reich explores why it is so difficult for governments to stand up to Apple (and others), while The New Yorker walks through how Apple created Ireland’s economies, “real and fantastical.” If you are wondering how Apple and others avoid paying taxes, Wired has you covered, while 9to5 Mac discusses how tone deaf Tim Cook’s response to the findings are.
There’s an interesting question that keeps popping up: why is consumer tech ignoring baby boomers? While millennials are an important market share, the people with the money are their parents, and yes, millennials may end up inheriting a gob smacking amount of wealth, it seems short sighted to keep ignoring a generation with money to spend today for the generation that will spend money tomorrow.
Mark Zuckerberg is not a happy man this week. You’ve likely heard about the latest SpaceX rocket explosion, and that that rocket had a Facebook satellite as its payload. Apparently, Zuck is “deeply disappointed” that the satellite was lost, although likely not because of the $195M price tag. Nope, it’s more to do with his mission to bring internet access to Africa, and his belief in Nigeria’s tech industry.
Did you hear the one about Amazon leasing its own fleet of airplanes? What about the drones (even pizza delivery!)? To date Amazon has been great business for UPS and FedEx, but the times they may be changing.
Here’s an interesting fact for you this week: 90% of software developers live outside of Silicon Valley. It only makes sense when you think about it, but often we don’t. What about this: in five years, the Midwest will have more startups than Silicon Valley.
So, oddly, airlines are finally catching up with warehouses and supply chain management in that Delta is using RFID tags to track baggage. The eventual hope is that RFID tags will be incorporated into luggage at manufacture so that we, the consumer, can register our bags ourselves to take that burden off the airlines, but we’re a bit away from that. It’s nice to see that at least one airline is finally catching on.
We all have biases, conscious or sub, and when we do become aware of them, then we face the challenge of overcoming them. In this TED talk, Vernā Myers looks closely at our attitudes towards out-groups and how we can move towards the groups that make us uncomfortable.