$1B for a box of razors, Where Machines Could Replace Humans, Why Toxic Leaders Get Promoted + more

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When I first heard of Dollar Shave Club, it was through the same medium as most everyone else – some pretty funny Super Bowl commercials and the media following that.  I thought it looked like a fun and irreverent company, but didn’t subscribe myself until we analyzed it in B school and several guys in my class said they were subscribers and raved about it.  Now it seems that shipping a box of razors every months or so (plus some other items) turns out to be worth $1 billion, or so the offer from Unilever would have us believe.  Pando lays out what entrepreneurs should learn from this acquisition (hit or miss on the article – they’ve started locking their content) while Streatechery speaks to how the $1B price is low compared to the price of Gillette and how it is negatively disrupting the vertical.

Business Insider has once again brought us their “THE SILICON VALLEY 100: The most amazing and inspiring people in tech right now.”  While there are many names you’ll recognize on this list, there are quite a few that you may not, and for me it’s a great way to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s driving innovation in Silicon Valley.

Ever wonder that the best TED talks ever were?  Well, according to Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, these are it.

strategy+business has a trio of good articles this week: What Consumers Most Want from Health Insurers’ Technology, an interview with Greg Beck (Silicon Valley’s Farsighted Banker), and Five Behaviors That Can Create an Innovation Culture.  In that last one, they include , building collaboration across your ecosystem, measuring and motivating your intrapreneurs, emphasize speed and agility, think like a venture capitalist, and balance operational excellence with innovation.

If you found the first strategy+business article interesting, go over and check out what STAT has to say about how ‘digitizing you and me’ could revolutionize medicine.

Bloomberg lays out for us this week something that many may not have noticed: oil isn’t looking to be the future for Big Oil.  They took a look at Royal Dutch Shell to explain why.

If we take a look at the global stage right now, it’s incredible to see how “truth” is being undermined by opinion and fact is falling by the wayside.  The Guardian has supposed that technology is the culprit.  TO me, technology has certainly made it more difficult for public and private leaders to lead and focus on the broader problems facing us.

McKinsey has a great article on how and where machines will replace humans in the near term, and it’s not where you might think.  Automation isn’t set to eliminate any job completely in the next decade, according to McKinsey, however automation will affect portions of all jobs.  In my mind, that’s a good thing, as greater efficiency through automation leads to other advances that will redefine the jobs of the “robot economy.”  While the full results of their study won’t be out until early 2017, McKinsey gives us a glimpse of what they’ve discovered and breaks it out into three main categories: those that are highly susceptible, less susceptible, and least susceptible to automation.  It’s a really fascinating read, and a hat tip goes to Mike for sharing it with me.

Along with the McKinsey piece is this one from Xerox on 19 jobs for ‘bots (and why that’s not such a bad thing).

O’Reilly has a thought provoking piece this week on how decentralization might just give us the reboot we need to reopen the web and accelerate innovation.

It’s been an interesting few weeks for Microsoft with the announcement of the LinkedIn acquisition.  With that acquisition, you may be wondering what the email, data, and privacy implications may be.  Techcrunch has taken a swing at answering those for us.  Also interesting is how Satya may have just fixed Microsoft’s biggest problem.

While I don’t have anything on Google or Apple to share this week, there were a couple of share-worthy items on Facebook, including its inability to increase diversity, again (and how they blame schools for it) and what Facebook will look like in 2026.

In my hours behind a windshield this week I got a chance to catch up on some of Tim Ferriss’s recent podcast and one of them was his interview with Chris Young, the brain behind ChefSteps.  He is obsessively focused on how to bring science into the kitchen and has had a pretty amazing journey.  Pi.co happened to interview him this week as well, it’s worth a read, and the Ferriss podcast is long but a good one.

As a good friend of mine always tells me, great leaders listen twice as much as they speak.  Here’s an article from HBR that speaks to what great listeners actually do.   Oh, and if you want to pick up a book on the subject, check out The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever.

Last this week from The Military Leader is an article on why toxic leaders keep getting promoted.  While not meant for a civilian audience, it reinforces what we already know – toxic leaders advance because we focus too much on what they accomplish, not how they accomplish it.  They may get the mission done, but the trail of destruction they leave in their wake is rarely noticed by their superiors but deeply felt by their peers and subordinates.  The parallels to our lives as leaders is clear – many of us get mired in reacting to the world around us, where the truly successful leaders initiate change in their organizations.  Our task-saturated culture keeps us from finding the cognitive space we need to create long- or even mid-range plans.  That’s the challenge for all of us: finding the space we need to grow into better leaders, and defending that space once we find it.

And on that note, I’d like to leave you this week with this talk by Drew Dudley on everyday leadership.  In it, Dudley asks us to celebrate leadership as the daily act of improving each other’s lives.

 

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Brexit …

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I don’t think there’s a lot to add when it comes to the news this morning that Great Britain voted (by a 4% margin) to exit the EU.  Markets are being hit (although not as hard as might be expected), banks are roiling, xenophobia in the US has picked up a new pace, and David Cameron has resigned.  There are some balanced views on this out there, some of which include UK’s ‘Brexit’ results rattle the world, Britain Votes to Leave E.U.; Cameron Plans to Step Down, World wakes up to ‘Brexit’: 5 things to know,  The Brexit contagion: How France, Italy and the Netherlands now want their referendum too , Sterling Crash Just the Start of Brexit Market Fallout, Why Britain Left, and you can watch the live Sky News feed through the day to learn more.  I will note that US markets seem to be doing relatively well all things considered, rebounding quite a bit after a drop at the opening bell.

Living in small town America now and many cities in the past, I, like you, have observed the steady and sure decline of the shopping mall.  There are numerous drivers for that, from online shopping to population migration to consumer tastes.  Bandier is trying to change that with an approach that focuses on selling their product last and creating an experience first.

If you’ve not heard about the latest IPO this week, it boons well for the Startup world in Silicon Valley.  After a lackluster IPO for SecureWorks, the cybersecurity arm of Dell, Twilio’s IPO was a breath of fresh air with a 96% rise in value at the IPO.

Maybe you were scratching your head with some of the Facebook acquisitions over the past few years, from Snapchat to WhatsApp.  If you took the time to walk through Mary Meeker’s talk/slides that I shared a few weeks ago, you might have noticed a big disconnect in the growth in mobile computing and the spend on mobile advertising.  As we rely more on mobile, that gap will close and Facebook has positioned itself well to reap the rewards from it with its focus on Mobile.

I know there’s been a whole lot of press on chatbots, VR, AR, and machine learning this year, and I don’t want to keep adding to that pile, but I think the Wall Street Journal did a good job this week of exploring what current thinkers in the AI space think is next for machine learning.

If you’ve not read Eli Goldratt’s The Goal, you may be unfamiliar with his Theory of Constraints and how it applies to change management.  This week, strategy+business revisits our need to find the “Herbie” in our processes and focus on that – the part of the process that created the logjam similarly to how Herbie, a member of Goldratt’s scout troop, impacted the entire troop because of his pace.  It wasn’t until he led the group that the most efficient pace could be found.  From a change management standpoint, that means that companies can only operationalize real improvement at a certain pace.   strategy+business outlines five steps to accomplish this: identify the current constraints on your progress, set a pace that supports your “constraint resource,” sequence priorities over time, elevate the pace, and pay attention as your constraints shift.

Paired with that is an article this week from Harvard Business Review on how to navigate a digital transformation.  To not get left behind in the evolving consumer landscape, companies need to pivot to a digital strategy.  With that, they need to reallocate their asset portfolio to support new, digitally enabled business models. Speaking of pivot, HBR recommends a process they call PIVOT for those looking to make this transformation: pinpoint your starting place, make a complete inventory of all your organization’s assets, visualize a new future as a digital network where your firm partners and co-creates with one of your external networks, begin to operate a pilot of your network business by shifting small amounts of capital (including time, talent, and money) to the new initiative, and begin to track the progress of your network initiative.

I’ve had a number of friends tell me that I should watch Mr. Robot.  Well, given that I gave up cable more than eight years ago and don’t think much of Hulu, I was out of luck until Amazon started streaming season one through Prime.  Amazon’s GUI may be awful, but this content was worth getting into.  I’m only a few episodes in, but so far the hacks being used in the series are scarily accurate, and they are for a reason.  Part of that is because of Michael Bazzell, the technical advisor of the show.  After growing up building his own computers and having a deep interest in hacking.  He worked for a Midwestern police department and then the FBI before heading to Hollywood.  Now Tech Insider is claiming that Mr. Robot is the only show that has gotten hacking right, and you can get a quick overview of the top hacks used in Season One of the show from engadget, the backstory on Bazzell from Vulture, and some of the flaws with the show from Wired.

I start there this week as I continue to highlight some of the issues facing us today as hacking proliferates revealing more and more sensitive data.  A few weeks ago I spoke of Palantir, a data analysis company that has a reputation that drives legend in Silicon Valley.  Well, last year Palantir hired a set of hackers to try and take control of their network and information, which they were easily able to do.  The results of the hacking exercise — known as a “red team” test — show how a company widely thought to have superlative ability to safeguard data has struggled with its own data security.  Then there’s this in depth look by MIT Technology Review on an $80 million hack and the dangers of programmable money, another on the U.S. Cyber Command Chief on what threats to fear the most, and then interviews with Tessa88 and Guccifer 2.0, the former who was responsible for hacks that led to major password captures from MySpace and LinkedIn (note: change your passwords if haven’t already) and the latter for the dump of information from the DNC.  I need to do a deeper dive into this topic versus just throwing articles out there at you as I did with Artificial Intelligence, and I plan to in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned …

The logical place to leave off this week is this talk by Rodrigo Bijou on how governments don’t understand cyberwars – we need hackers.

The New Economics of Cybercrime, Entertainment & Media: A World of Differences, Why Is Chick-fil-A’s App Number One in the App Store? + more

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As we’ve seen ransomware in the headlines and gaining prevalence when it comes to cybercrime, it’s good to take a look at what progress has been made and as well some of the new dangers that are out there.  This week The Atlantic looks at how we’ve progressed over the past decade and the rise of ransomware and then there is a companion piece from Euronews in February about how the Internet of Things is being impacted by cybercrime.

“Code wins arguments,” “Move fast and break things,” or “Done is better than perfect.”  Those are some of the mantras that ring in the halls at Facebook and it has led to their ability to get to market faster and build dominance through their open environment.  Zuck has done everything he can to pummel Google Plus into the ground, and now that open culture may lead to Facebook’s dominance in AI.  As well, there’s this piece on how AI is changing SEO.  Speaking (orthogonally) of machine intelligence, Steven Sinofsky has a good read out on the rise of it at this year’s code conference.

If you’ve not really taken the time to consider the Maker Movement and its impact and influence, take a moment to check out this article to get a start.

You may recall Marc Andreessen’s famous “Why Software is Eating the World” essay from the Wall Street Journal, (and if you have a chance, catch the recent Tim Ferriss Show podcast featuring Andreessen), and this week TechCrunch follows on with how software is STILL eating the world five years later.

For many, print media, especially newspapers, have become a thing of the past.  This week, The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy explores how that’s not true for the Washington Post, how Jeff Bezos is reinventing that beleaguered news institution, and what others in the newspaper business may learn from it.

One thing I missed last week when talking about Uber was the news that they’ve joined a partnership with Saudi Arabia to provide transport for Saudi women, which many view as a major setback in the twenty year campaign to allow Saudi women to drive themselves instead of having to hire male chauffeurs or rely on male family members.

If you’ve not heard, Apple made some major changes to how the App Store functions recently.  For a summary, take a look at this blog, and for analysis into it, we can turn to The Verge.  There’s also this piece on how Apple has lost its simplicity, and whether or not that is a good thing.

strategy+business has an in depth look at the Entertainment & Media companies and how they are striving to pivot to serve digital consumers around the world.  This breaks into five shifts that are roiling the industry: demographic shift towards serving younger users, content is still king with regards to competition, the relevance of bundling even in light of everything we hear/read, growth markets, and the ability to build trust.  To that last one, historic shifts are now under way forging the creation of new business models, and perhaps even new industries. Those that are able to integrate the capabilities and approaches that create value for customers will continue to thrive and continue to build loyalty and trust in their customers.  While we think that long range planning for E&M firms may seem nonsensical with as much as the industry has been disrupted and continues to be, there’s also a truth to the staying power of many of the E&M companies due to their ability to pivot while focusing on the power of youth, the primacy of localized content, the resilience of a new kind of bundle, the deepening of developing markets, the potential for new business models.

Wondered how much money Hamilton is making on Broadway and where it’s all coming from/going to?  This piece from the New York Times goes deep into that.  Needless to say, the show is well on its way to becoming a billion dollar phenomenon.

Not that this is news we want to hear, but George Soros is back at it trading again.  Why, you ask, do we not want to hear that?  Because he is incredibly bearish on global markets, betting heavily against China and stating that China’s financial system right now “eerily resembles what happened during the financial crisis in the US in 2007-08.  Looking for more behind the why of China’s fall?  Read here.

Mike Curtis has led engineering teams at Facebook and Yahoo and is now a VP of Engineering at Airbnb.  He started out, however, knowing zero code and in this article looks back on the most important lessons he learned on his journey, including treating engineers like business owners and when to adopt a new technology stack.

When we think of Microsoft, we don’t think open source given the history of the company and how closed the platform has been.  Well, the times they are a changing, a good example of which is this article that starts by delving into Microsoft’s purchase of Xamarin, which makes tools that allow developers to use a shared code base to create “native” applications for mobile operating systems made by Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

It’s a bit out in left field for what I usually dig into, but this week we saw Chick-fil-A’s app become #1 at the app store.  How did a fast food chain climb to the top of the charts so quickly?  Well, in part because they told anyone who downloaded the app that they’d get a free chicken sandwich, and in part because of how they’ve targeted their demographic.  Chick-fil-A has gone above and beyond to secure the loyalty of families and even when there have been the occasional media black eyes, the company has survived and even thrived because of the audience it targets.  How do they do that?  Well, I think it all ties back to how they stay true to their ideals, and while you may not agree with those ideals, you can see the power of that and the loyalty it stokes.  It’s a good lesson for us all.

Along with speaking about culture and values, my brother shot me an article this week about giving away your legos.  This is, in essence, a metaphor for how you have to be willing to let go as you scale your start up.  Another great one from First Round is about the principles of quantum team management.

Fintech continues to be dominating the news cycle, and with good reason.  Most people inside the traditional Financial bulwarks of today despise fintech without even understanding it, and more and more excitement is being generated in the startup world by any number of companies out there.  This article from TechCrunch explores how fintech is playing the long game.

It you’ve got some time to kill this weekend, head over to watch the full Elon Musk interview from the code conference.

My youngest has a tendency to declare that every moment, every thing, every experience in her life is awesome, and while I pretty often agree that that is the case, a few conversations with her this week reminded me of this TED talk.  We’ve seemed to lose sight of what awesome truly means, and by using it in excess, we lessen the impact of that word.  Mind you, I’ll still argue that through my five year old’s eyes, everything does seem pretty awesome.

You’re Never Done Finding Purpose at Work, Yahoo’s False Prophet, Mary Meeker’s 2016 internet trends report + more

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There are two great recent articles from HBR that you should take some time to read this week.  The first, about finding purpose at work, dives into how we always have purpose, or our personal WHY, drive our work, not our jobs or careers.  They recommend taking the time to journal for a few weeks and really keeping track of how much time you spend in the job, career, and purpose mindsets.  That’s a great exercise, but you know what?  First you have to understand your purpose, your why.  That’s a topic I’m pretty passionate about, as anyone who knows me would tell you.  Whether you know it or need to discover it, plaster that thing in front of you every day and spend time in your purpose with intent. Oh, it seems science also tells us that complaining is bad for you.  Go figure.

The second HBR article looks into whether lean manufacturing can put an end to sweatshops.  The author of the article, Greg Distelhorst, spent time tracking the manufacturing practices of Nike’s apparel supply chain.  Nike’s initiative sought to improve manufacturing operations — to deliver high-quality products in relatively small batches and on shorter production deadlines.  Sounds a bit like the model Zara uses.  While this is a start to this research, Distelhorse and his collaborators did find that violations of labor standards did fall by manufacturers incorporating lean principles, pursuing new managerial practices, and educating their workforce.

If you’ve not really been tracking what’s happening in South America, there’s Brazil to worry about and now Venezuela.

Snapchat may seem like a great deal of hype to many, but Fortune this week looks into why their impressive growth curve may justify that $20 billion valuation.

Disruption as a strategy has been touted out there a bit, with disruptive innovation being pivoted off of by many. There’s an interesting blog this week from Jerry Neumann on why disruption is not a strategy.

Microsoft is turning the tables this time on the Federal Government in the U.S. by suing over privacy issues and security in light of ongoing activity by the Justice Department.  As this article from the Wall Street Journal notes, over the past three years, Microsoft has sued the federal government four times, challenging law-enforcement efforts to secretly search customer data on servers at Microsoft’s data centers in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Forbes recently sat down with Google CEO Sundar Pichai for a conversation around AI, hardware, monetization, and the future of search.  Go check it out here.

There’s a great article over at Bloomberg this week about the prosecution of insider trading by the Federal Government.  It’s an interesting story, and better still is how the infographics change as you scroll through the story.

Variety, of all sources, had a really great article summarizing the many ways in which Marissa Meyer has failed Yahoo and its shareholders since her reign began just three years ago.  From the sense-lacking purchase of Tumblr for over $1B to squandering the digital properties Yahoo did have, Meyer has a lot to answer for as Yahoo puts itself up for sale to the highest bidder.

I used to have a Blackberry, and so did everyone with whom I worked.  Heck, I know some folks that are still adamant users today.  Lately, though Blackberry has been used as a term of disparagement, especially in comparison with Apple.  Thing is, though, that Apple’s position may be much worse than Blackberry’s ever have been if they refuse to move away from their closed systems.  Speaking of Apple, let’s take a moment and reflect that we don’t all need to aspire to their design practices.

Two news articles of interest this week about Uber: the first, Wall Street taking an interest in Uber’s car leasing plans with Goldman Sachs leading the charge with a $1 billion line of credit.  This credit facility will allow Uber to continue ramping up its subprime auto leasing business.  The second details how Uber knows too much information about you.  That shouldn’t surprise anyone reading this, and sure, it’s from a somewhat liberal media source, but still something we may see added to the security concerns that continue to grow.

Speaking of Goldman Sachs, though, Goldman has a great piece (including video) on how 5G is going to enable the surge from 12 to 30 billion devices connecting to the Internet of Things

In the news this week is the report that doctors have found the first case of a person in the U.S. carrying bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort.  That could signal the end of the road for antibiotics.

recode has put up all of Mary Meeker’s slides around internet trends from the code conference as well as some analysis .  For those of you unfamiliar with Meeker, she is a venture capitalist and Wall Street securities analyst, with deep knowledge on the Internet and new technologies.  The three takeaways from the talk include internet growth slowing down (excluding India), the way we search continues to evolve from typed words to image and speech-driven search, and apps might rival the home screen on mobile devices for user engagement.

I think we all see ourselves as having some creative bent within us, either in our professional or personal lives.  So how do those we identify as “creative geniuses” come up with great ideas?  This TED talk by Adam Grant delves into that, studying “originals” who dream up new ideas and then make them reality.  Grant talks about the three unexpected habits of those originals, including how they embrace failure.

How Big Data Creates False Confidence, A New Map for Business in Africa, How Giving Up Refined Sugar Changed My Brain + more

How big data creates false confidence.  That’s a doozy of a headline, especially with all the press about how magical and glorious and wonderful big data is.  Sure, we may have a hard time parsing any usable information out of that data sometimes because there is just so much of it, but still, the truth is out there buried in the data, no?  Nautilus has a great blog entry this week about the assumptions we make about big data, a term that can’t even really be defined.  We just know that the data sets are huge and they have patterns buried into them if we can just find them.  So if we do find them, they must be valuable, and right.  That can create a false sense of security, so always remember what Samuel Clemens said: “there’s lies, damn lies, and then there’s statistics.”  The same holds true for big data.

How do leaders create and use networks?  Back in 2007 Harvard Business Review answered that question and it’s a good one for a refresher.  The good meat in this article is around how to be successful at strategic networking, an area that consumes so much energy and the risk around getting bogged down in operational networking.

strategy+business gives a great overview of the current business climate in Africa, highlighting the need for companies to understand the local context in order to be successful.  Africa is home of seven of the world’s megacities and the World Bank expects consumer spending to be US $2.2 trillion by 2030, but the continent is made up of 54 separate sovereign states that cover a vast range of cultures, languages, and people.  Along with that is this article from Quartz about how megacities are the world’s dominant, enduring structures.

As well, strategy+business put together a compendium of twenty questions for business leaders and some hints at answer to those questions, ranging from “how do we win” to “what is honorable.”  My favorite?  “What the hell is leadership.”

Fortune has an article this week about the 21st century corporations and our new business model.  To quote “Imagine an economy without friction—a new world in which labor, information, and money move easily, cheaply, and almost instantly.”  Along with that is the concept that you might be aware of – that the assets of most corporations in today’s day and age are the employees themselves.  The 21st-century corporation will be based more and more on the work of knowledge workers and ideas-based business across all sectors.  That has and will continue to lead to barriers to entry coming down.

One of the top ten leadership stories Fast Company published last year was about how Michael Grothaus gave up refined sugar and how it affected his brain.  I’ve done this a number of times before but haven’t been able to maintain it yet, but I’ve noticed the same issues he highlighted in his article: when refined sugar is in my diet, I’m crankier, I’ll make rash decisions, and I just feel stupider when I do, or at least not as clear headed as when I’m not ingesting it.  The detox isn’t much fun, but it’s a good read and something to consider, especially once you experience the veil of refined sugar lifting.

How good are we at employee recognition?  No, really, how good are we?  Have you paid attention to your own employee recognition program?  Is it a passive part of culture or is it something you are actively engaged in?  Well, for your consideration are a couple of articles: first, one about the top ten reasons why companies fail at employee recognition and then another on why managers fail in this area.  While you are looking at that, take a moment to look at the 2012-2013 Towers Watson paper on balancing employer and employee priorities.

We all believe we know how a successful business must be run, what rules it must adhere to.  Even as we look at all the startups out there, all the corporate giants, even mom and pop shops, we all end up falling into the same rules, the same structure either from day one or when we hit certain milestones.  Semco Partners didn’t. When he founded it, Ricardo Semler asked the simple question of what happens when you take away all of what expect (“the rules”) and just let people work.  Watch his TED talk to learn what did.

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.

The Actuated Internet, Good Bosses Create More Wellness than Wellness Plans Do, the Global Power Shift + more

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.

Rocket Ships, Transforming how retail banking works,How Does In-Flight Wi-Fi Really Work? + more

Many of us have heard much of Elon Musk’s aspirations around commercializing space flight with his company SpaceX, little has been known about Jeff Bezos’ own passion and aspirations around rocket ships.  This week, the New York Times gave us a look into his company,  Blue Origin, and while it is just a start, it seems like exciting things are to come from Bezos and the commercial space race should amp up a few notches in the near term.

Slack has gotten a lot of press of late, with its irreverent CEO and how it is extending its reach and new users at a rapid pace – over 2.3 million daily users at this point.  Arstechnica looks at how Slack got started (modifying IRC so non-technical people wouldn’t find it to be “a pain in the ass”), the desire to change how we work so we can all be virtual, what the transition to Slack was like for the author, the myth of increased productivity, and many other topics.

ZDNet takes a look at the rise of IoT hacking and the implication for security and solutions being pursued.  It’s a good look at how cyberattackers are exploiting any weakness or vulnerability they can find in the enterprise and as we see the growth of BYOD across companies as well as the numerous devices that can and do connect to enterprise networks, those attackers are using anything and everything they can get to to access and exploit networks.  The author suggests asking three key questions when evaluating existing and new assets that have access into your company’s network: what is connected, where is it, and what is it transmitting. That start to fill in the gaps when deciding what the proper protocols are and hopefully uncovering the unknown unknowns that exist in a firm’s network.

Retail banking has gone through a few bumps in the past decade and has struggled to keep up with changes in technology and the market.  TechCrunch puts some thought into what that will take to transform how retail banking works, from going all-in on mobile, the need to cross-sell and up-sell, act as a virtual financial advisor, and focusing on letting the data drive the business.  One thing is true: unless banks start shifting and adapting to accommodate the digitalization of consumer’s lifestyles, they won’t last in the long run.  Along with that, they have another article around the broken world of mobile payments and how to fix it.

I’ve posted several times about Unicorns and how they are and aren’t flaming out, what may or may not be happening from a bubble standpoint, and Bloomberg this week has some more insight into what’s happening from a mutual fund standpoint and how different mutual funds who have invested in various Unicorns are now viewing those investments.

If you’ve not heard of it, Google’s A.I. program AlphaGo has beaten another ‘Go’ champion, and it looks like it is on the way to claim the overall victory in the humans vs. A.I. tournament.  Rolling Stone has a two-part special report on the artificial intelligence revolution that is long but worth the time to digest – Part One is here, Part Two here.  Then there’s how augmented and virtual reality are being used to change how doctors treat patients and the potential there.

Facebook is eating the world.  Or so the Columbia Journalism Review states.  I’ll just leave that there.

Many startup companies make light of how easy it is to sell to big companies, and many of those start ups are here and gone before the ink is dry on those quotes because what sales they do make don’t necessarily have longevity.  Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce (that little company that no one thought would last in the late 90s) thinks the opposite is true: selling to Enterprise isn’t something that should be taken lightly and is something that takes time and focused effort, not just word-of-mouth.  In this article from strategy+business, Benioff explains why.   The contrast to it is Dropbox, which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it seems like an incongruent comparison, as Salesforce is strictly Enterprise based, whereas Dropbox is heavily focused in the consumer space as well (and finds a lot of its traction resulting from that).

Last, we’ve all suffered the woes of lackluster in-flight Wi-Fi from the likes of GoGo.  I’ve always been a bit curious as to how in-flight Wi-Fi really works, and this week The Points Guy posted an article answering exactly that, making it so I didn’t have to go and do any pesky research myself.

Digital Disruption, Not Quite Ready for the (Fourth) Industrial Revolution, Why Nobody’s Wearing Wearables + more

Where and how the global economy functions now versus ten years ago and certainly versus how it will function ten years from now isn’t anything that anyone did or can necessarily predict with how rapidly technology and disruptors are changing that landscape.  This week Business Week dives into how those disruptors are finding success through access, leveraging excess capacity, and the cloud.  Along with that, strategy+business has a great piece on Raising Your Digital IQ that digs deep into how the smartest companies develop and wield their technology strategy.

I was talking to my chiropractor this week and he asked the question “have you ever watched a TED talk,” which led to a fun conversation around which ones he and I liked best.  Not shockingly, I’ve watched a few, and Business Insider has a good collection they shared recently that one should watch if they want to be an entrepreneur.  Not shockingly, Simon Sinek is at the top of the list, this time discussing what he calls The Golden Circle.

Along with disruptive tech, Business Week takes a look at how snapchat built a business and how Khaled Khaled, the most unlikely of success story using an app that is the No. 1 or No. 2 app amongst 14 to 24 year olds in America and the top ten app downloaded in 100 countries.  It also digs into how Snapchat makes its money.

Business Week published an interview with Jamie Dimon this week where they discuss the future of finance and who will own it in the future.  It’s an interesting read about how the finance sector may be disrupted (Dimon thinks that unlikely) and how the finance sector can (and already is) adapt to those challenges.  There’s an abundance of hubris in the article, but one would expect that given Dimon’s success over his career and his role in shaping financial policy post-Great Recession.

If any of you have used Wolfram Alpha, you may enjoy this conversation with its creator, Stephen Wolfram, on AI and the Future of Civilization.  It’s lengthy, and is accompanied by a video that I didn’t get a chance to watch, and it is a pretty amazing read.  There’s no real way to summarize it,  if this sort of thing is your sort of thing, take the time to read all the way through.  A good sample statement that he backs up?  “I see technology as taking human goals and making them able to be automatically executed by machines.”

Along with that (and a much briefer read) is Not Quite Ready for the (Fourth Industrial) Revolution.  The title is referencing this piece from the World Economic Forum that posits that we’re standing on the brink of a technological revolution and preparing that organizationally and embracing that you don’t know what you don’t know (among other things) and to decisively pursue emerging technology to uncover the high potential technology or processes that could reposition your business to succeed in the “Fourth Industrial Age.”  The author then lays out five practices business leaders should follow: Rethink your approach to experimentation, Engage your emerging tech ecosystem, Build your own learning lab, Develop the mind-set of a maker, and Establish a process to scale emerging tech.  To point four, Time had a great article in 2014 about why the Maker Movement is important to America’s future as a good reference point.

No matter the size of your organization or company, it’s refreshing to take a look at how very small teams function and find success.  This blog posting from Venturebeat delves into that, and talks about the need to focus on culture, capacity, and capabilities (in that order) when considering who you hire.

South By Southwest is about to kick off (interactive is slated for March 11 – 15) and while there’s  a whole lot more going on than just tech, it’s venue where many startups that have been finding their way out of the murkiness make their big splash and debut.  It’ll be interesting to keep an eye out for that trend again this year, and you can get a preview of what to expect from this interactive preview.

Last, one of the big questions out there from a tech adoption standpoint lies around wearable.  In 2013, the tech pundits as a whole have been proclaiming that wearables are the next big thing and we hear time and again about how we’re going to be able to cultivate so much data about individuals as wearables become more and more a part of our everyday lives.  I’m a bit of an early adopter myself, going for first gen wearables to help track and hold me accountable to my own goals, but oddly when people ask me about my watch and what I like most about it, the answer never has to do with the data it collects or the insights that I might derive from it.  It usually comes down to base functionality, mostly due to what this article explores while answering why nobody’s wearing wearables: wearables still rely too much on other technology and aren’t really intelligent in and of themselves.

Robots, Robots Everywhere, Global Stockmarket Meltdown, Having your Life Hacked + More

Last weekend I finally got around to seeing the latest installment of the Terminator series and while it was a so-so film for the franchise, it seemed fitting timing given the number articles of late of how robots are taking over our lives of late.  While we’re not approaching the rise of the machines or anything akin to Asimov’s vision from I, Robot, there were two interesting reads this week, one about the robots coming to Wall Street and another about Ryan Calo, one of the minds behind robotics law in the United States.  To follow on to that is another article from the Times about a new breed of Trader out there: Coders with Ph.Ds.

Would you ever consider asking hackers to take apart your life as an experiment?  Kevin Roose did exactly that and it’s a scary but enlightening read.  Most of us don’t really pay attention to how fluid we are with our personal information with location based services and social media.  We need to be, as evidenced by just this bit from the story: they “began by compiling a dossier on me, using publicly available information like my email address, my employer, and my social media accounts. Most of this was information I’d made available on purpose, but some of it wasn’t. (They found my home address, for example, by enlarging and zooming in on a photo I’d posted to Twitter of my dog, which had the address listed in tiny type on the dog’s tag.)”  They pulled Roose’s mailing address from a social media photo of his dog.  Take a moment to think about all the different services out there that simply ask you for your name, date of birth, and address as their identity confirmation.  Then go re-read Roose’s article again.

strategy+business seems to be a weekly collection that I send out, and with good reason.  This week they had articles about Ten Principles of Organizational Culture, Three Secrets of Organizational Effectiveness, and how dysfunctional momentum impacts a company’s values to name a few, all worth a look.

The Next Web published a dive into what they view are the seven pillars of awesome game design. There are seven aspects of game design that need to be considered when you want to design and develop a successful game. They’ve highlighted some great video games that serve as examples of world, systems, content, game writing, level, user interface and audio design (said pillars).  Even if you aren’t into gaming, it’s interesting to look at those components and understand them from a conceptual standpoint and how they are used to pull players in.

Not to be chicken little, but I think it important that we keep abreast of what is happening in the global markets and some of the bear opinions out there.  One from MarketWatch digs into how the global stock market is wildly overvalued.  But it doesn’t stop there – luxury items as investments have had grossly excessive enthusiasm and other stating how they expect gold to rise to $2000 an ounce as we continue to see commodities and markets correct and then decline into recession territory.  Foreign Affairs dived into Eurasia’s coming anarchy and Citi also has some salient points as to why we might be moving into recession territory.  The good news is that this time around we’ve got eyes wide open going into this crunch so perhaps it can be averted.

Some other interesting articles from the week: Why the Future of Work Is at Home, Facebook Internet Drones Find Where the People Are, What’s Next in Computing?, Who’s reading my iMessages?, and Apple vs. FBI: Here’s everything you need to know (FAQ).