Five for Friday: Blockchain, Digitization, and Disruption (of a sort)


So we had a pretty straightforward  (and sometimes grammatically incorrect) explanation of blockchain previously that outlined how the technology works and why it is important … well, sort of.  The importance of it doesn’t just lie in pulling the middleman out of the process, and it doesn’t just apply to financial services – a while back I threw out an article about how it was revolutionizing the shipping industry as well.  To follow on to last week’s share, this week I wanted to throw out a few other articles to keep moving us down the path: first is this piece from Infocast that outlines blockchain more technically (it’s from the Director of the IBM Blockchain Labs, so go figure –by the way, he has a series of posts about the topic through Infocast) and then this piece from HBR entitled “The Truth About Blockchain,” and finally, direct from IBM, guidelines for blockchain adoption in the enterprise … again, by Nitin Guar.

While I was perusing HBR this week, I also stumbled across an article from 2012 that I hadn’t seen before entitled “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.”  Paired with that in the same issue was a piece about how Big Data was bringing about a management revolution.   I know we’re all already aware of those facts, but it’s still good to take a moment to go back five years later and revisit.  That somewhat sets up this piece from McKinsey out this week around competing in a world of sectors without borders.  IT’s not short, but it is interesting as it outlines how we might continue to see digitization impact and influence the world next.

Also in the news this week were some interesting bits from the world of higher education: first, a piece about MIT and Stanford researchers demoing 3D computing chips capable of both storage and computing, which will dramatically impact the current limitations around compute created by having to move data between chips.  A while back I posted an article about the death of Moore’s Law.  Well, this is the kind of evolution in computing that challenges that notion.  Then there was this piece about how Texas A&M landed a $1.6M grant to study algorithmic decision making.  OK, so what?  Well, first the grant came from DARPA, the folks who brought a few other technology revolutions over the past few decades, and second, because the intent is to lead to machine-based decisions that can also outline the “why” the machine reached the decision.  It’s one more step along that path towards artificial general intelligence I’ve outlined before.

Here’s a great one from Inc. about the twenty things most valued employees do every day.  Key for us is setting forth a vision for our people and then giving them the path towards how we achieve it.

Yes, it’s a tech heavy week, but that’s just sort of where things are in the news coming through my feed, at least with what is catching my eye. More so, it’s a disruptor-heavy week, and  along those lines I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this article about DoNotPay, a bot platform that is helping people get out of paying parking tickets that just released 1000 new bots to help with legal troubles … and gives you a taste of how technology could upend the legal profession.

There’s that great ad by Apple “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” which outlined how people who used and embraced Macs were different.  Apple’s culture revolves around the why they do what they do, not the what.  Many of us are familiar with Simon Sinek’s  book Start with Why, which is based on his TED talk from 2010, “How great leaders inspire action.”  Take some time this morning and watch his follow on, “Why good leaders make you feel safe.”


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