Friday, 1 November 2013

What I've been reading this week

I’ve had a week of travelling so a slightly truncated reading list today, nevertheless, this week: invisible jobs, Tesla’s IT, collaborative economies, iPad Air thin but unrepairable and Sony blows up volcano

Business models

Oh sh*t. Here we go again. Patent wars kick off once more.

New business models

Tesla is a really inspirational digital company. It has used the freedom that the connected world enables to totally reinvent the car company. It also develops most of its IT systems from scratch to give it differential capabilities. Those who are still buying into the big, old fashioned ERP, finance, CRM etc… systems take note.

An excellent article about invisible jobs: the increasing number of people taking advantage of digital marketplaces like AirBnB, Etsy and Uber to make an additional income. This is a vitally important subject to understand as it isn’t one covered by the activities of most economists – there aren’t statistics for this kind of activity and it is likely to become ever more prevalent. Another example of how digital is returning us to the personal lifestyles of the pre-industrial age.

Astro Teller describes the ethos of Google[x]. Nothing new, but I do like the idea that in order to be a successful PLC in digital the number of voting shares must be kept to a minimum to avoid short term paranoia about “results” and the resultant focus on quarterly results instead of multi-annuals.

This is a great example of the power of digital. These guys spotted an opportunity to provide information on the impact of health insurance changes, found data on premium calculations online, then set up an information exchange to inform consumers. All in 6 months.

On demand delivery is all the rage – here Wun Wun offers free delivery of candy for Halloween in New York.

Short article on new business models that are being enabled by the collaborative economy.


My greatest technology fears are: artificially intelligent robots enslave humanity; genetically engineered virus wipes us all out; physics experiment creates micro black hole that destroys the Earth. Americans’ tech fears are more prosaic. Hacked bank accounts, email and – God save us – a hacked social media account.

A slightly updated Glass has been announced by Google… but I still can’t get one .

New York is replacing all of its streetlights with LEDs. Smart move as it’ll reduce electricity consumption, but most importantly strip out a whole ton of unionised labour. Excellent news.

iFixit have already torn down the iPad Air. It gets 2/10 for reparability. No surprise there, then… Otherwise, it’s basically an iPhone 5S under the skin. The much smaller battery will also be a boon. The older Retina iPads have horrendous charging times for their massive batteries! I’m very tempted.

Finally some common sense on the use of electronic devices at take-off and landing. It’s always been an absurdity that these things could interfere with flight systems, which are predominantly fibre-based anyway and have heavily shielded electronics to protect them from lightning and ionising radiation.


Nearly 80% of Facebook users are using mobile. Impressive given how the company struggled with the channel even a year ago. Its profitable as well – generally good news for Zuck!

Just for fun

Sony’s new 4K ad is pretty mesmerising!

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