Friday, 4 October 2013

What I've been reading this week

I’m still easing myself back into my weekly blog after a long absence. To that end, here’s a brief roundup of stories from the TMT industry that caught my eye this week.

This week: Deep web trembles as Feds shutter Silk Road, Google’s transformation into design leader, Facebook Wi Fi launches, 3D printers hit UK high street, cold brew in the home finally a reality

Traditional business models

I like that Apple outdoes Google as Executives pick of the most innovative companies – their design dictatorship is probably more attractive to the average CEO than Google’s chaotic approach. I’d love to see who made it into the long tail of the survey. Chances are that those are the true innovators. http://www.businessinsider.com/most-innovative-companies-in-the-world-2013-9

Twitter has announced its IPO, initially for a fairly modest $1Bn. Notable that it’s still loss making despite over 200 million users. Trouble with Twitter is that it will be much more difficult to generate lots of advertising space, although admittedly engagement is probably better (because the ads are more difficult to avoid!). I’m undecided… http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/oct/03/twitter-ipo-share-sale

Silk Road has been closed down. I suppose it was a matter of time… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24373759

…BitCoin prices have fallen rapidly – what value has an anonymous currency got now the biggest market place for its use it gone… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24381847

…but there’ll be dozens of other Silk Roads. The online black market is here to stay. http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/10/03/heres-two-silk-road-alternatives-where-you-can-still-score-drugs/

And of course you can still indulge your need for illegal fun in Grand Theft Auto 5. The numbers for this title are staggering - $1Bn in sales in the first 3 days. Wowsers! http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-10/03/gtav-by-the-numbers

New research from the London School of Economics suggests that piracy isn’t in fact killing the music industry. If it was, it’s also the slowest murder in the history of the world :/. This really is worth a read… http://www.scribd.com/doc/172985274/LSE-MPP-Policy-Brief-9-Copyright-and-Creation

New business models

A very insightful article on how Google has transformed itself from a utilitarian software company into a design leader. http://www.fastcodesign.com/3016268/google-the-redesign

This kind of lightweight, online tool will be the death of the big information providers. Their big corporate clients will just want direct access to the data fire hose. Smaller companies would probably get just as much from this kind of simple, cheap service. http://dataminr.com/

An interesting social news curation site. http://www.upworthy.com/

A more specialised news aggregator that’s aimed at US party politics… http://policymic.com/

Facebook is offering US retailers a wi-fi service that enables them to share information about the habits of their customers. Interesting cross-over into the real world and less invasive than FourSquare et al. http://www.fastcompany.com/3019103/fast-feed/have-a-store-facebook-wants-you-to-use-facebook-wi-fi

More African smartphones come to market, this time in Nigeria. I wonder whether this is too late to market though – there are lots of low cost options that carry foreign brand halos and in my experience, African consumers like to believe that they’re buying quality. We’ll see. http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2013/10/race-on-for-africa-developed-smartphones/

Ten ‘innovative’ Parisian startups… Sitting in London I’m chuffed by how massively un-innovative they all are J. http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2013/11/european-startups/paris

Technology

Just 5 years after the launch of the iPhone, its potential as a hub for a range of sensing technology is now being realised. Check out this Star Trek like sensor module… https://grandst.com/p/node

UK high street technology retailer is to start stocking 3D printers. This technology is rapidly going mainstream – I don’t expect high penetration because it’s still more of a chemistry set than an XBox, but imagine ownership will steadily creep up over the next 3 to 5 years. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/02/dixons_stocks_3d_printer/

3D printers is still a tiny market though – 150 sold per day according to some Gartner research. http://qz.com/132002/for-all-the-hype-fewer-than-150-consumer-3d-printers-are-sold-per-day/

Personal monitoring continues to grow and now there’s consolidation in the web services that aggregate the data behind it. Runkeeper owners Axel Springer have bought a 50% stake in rival runtastic for ‘an eight figure sum’. The latter has 19m users, which is pretty impressive in a niche, fragmented market. http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/01/axel-springer-takes-majority-stake-in-runkeeper-rival-runtastic/

Just for fun

I love this sort of attention to detail – a massive infographic of all of the space ships from major sci-fi series. Geek-tastic! http://dirkloechel.deviantart.com/art/Size-Comparison-Science-Fiction-spaceships-398790051

You may laugh off the idea of cold brewing coffee at home as hipster frivolity, but I love how Kickstarter makes all these niches accessible. Thank God for the Internet. http://www.fastcodesign.com/3018352/wanted/kickstarting-a-coffeemaker-for-cold-brewing-at-home


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