- How the Ukraine crisis ends. [Henry Kissinger]
- Through the watching glass. [Susie Cagle]
- Where Apple design is headed in 2014. [Macworld]
- Biggest gene sequence project launched. [UT San Diego]
- Bitcoin’s uncomfortable similarity to some shady episodes in financial history. [Casey Research]
- Chinese bond default rattles markets. Why? [Yves Smith]
- Spotify and Beats Music acquisitions illustrate differing strategies. [Matt Sandler]
- Why is American internet so slow? [The Week]
- Is Facebook overvalued? [Fortune]
- Virtual reality startups looks back to the future. [MIT Technology Review]
An interactive guide to America’s National Parks is useful combination of text, photos and maps. Check it out. And then think about making this more visual, more alive and more real-time. How would we do that? I think maps as an interface to our real world is still a virgin territory for innovation. Google Maps new design is merely a start. It ends with Harry Porter’s map.
I am going to be in New York for a few days when team Gigaom hosts its annual Structure Data conference on March 19-20, 2014. This year’s conference is about real life uses of data and will include speakers from companies such as D-Wave Systems, Uber, Ford Motor Company, Turing AI, Foursquare, Uber and many others. I will be interviewing Paul Maritz of Pivotal (and former CEO of VMware.) Plus we will have always fun and insightful Lew Cirne of New Relic at the conference, talking about data, metrics and his crazy shirts. Hope you can come to the conference. More details here.
- The Bitcoin Sherif. [Fast Company]
- Commodifying Privacy. [Society Pages]
- Russian Revisionism. [Foreign Affairs]
- The Crimean Tartars: A Primer. [New Republic]
- Could a Russian intervention in the Ukraine burst the London Property market? [Philip Pilkington]
- The future of sex. [Mosaic Magazine]
- Death to the screen. [O’Reilly Radar]
- Why blogging is an amateur thing. [Dave Winer]
- In a digital world, retail matters more than ever. [Ari Bloom]
- Deal me out: A stacked deck at The New York Times. [The Baffler]
Wired recently published an opinion piece by Nassim N. Taleb, well known for writing books such as The Black Swan and Anti-Fragile.
I am not saying here that there is no information in big data. There is plenty of information. The problem — the central issue — is that the needle comes in an increasingly larger haystack.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with the best selling author and thinker, about a year ago. Having just published Anti-Fragile, Mr. Taleb and I ended up talking about data and it’s growing influence.
This being a rainy weekend, I ended up looking into my old notebooks and found some disjointed bits from that conversation. This particular one stood out, for no apparent reason — though at the time I must have thought these pronouncements were important, and thus needed to be scribbled down in my notebook. (I am not even sure if the quotes are complete, but for some odd reason I am overcome by a desire to share these with you.
Nassim N. Taleb: There is a secret relationship between humans and writing, the soothing effect of writing longhand. Between human hands and the book there’s a style; a rational empathy we cannot capture or your eyes can’t see.
Me: So, you slow down the time when you’re writing with ink? When you say “time” what do you mean by “time”?
NNT: No, I meant time as a history, a historical process. Time is volatility, the way I define it. Time is cleaner of fragilities.
The strategy today is simple: In order to move fast, build what you can’t buy or risk losing control of your fate and becoming the next Palm, Motorola, or HTC. And if, in the process, you disrupt an Oracle or a Qualcomm? So be it. You can read my column over on Fastcompany.com.
Previous FastCompany columns:
It has been over a week since Facebook announced its intentions to buy WhatsApp for about $19 billion (all told.) The news obviously generated a lot of debate and a lot of commentary filled the airwaves. The stock market more or less approved of the deal, giving Facebook stock and market capitalization the requisite bump it needed. I argued that it was an irrationally rational deal.
Since I started a new gig, I sort of ignored most of the published commentary. A couple of days ago in a conversation with my new colleague at True Ventures, Keila Fong, we started talking about how different really is WhatsApp that it is worth $19 billion to Mark Zuckerberg. So we ran some numbers and compared WhatsApp’s numbers to some of the other social applications.
These charts show that not only WhatsApp is different, but it is exceptional and did well to capture the moment (i.e., rise of the mobile broadband) near perfectly. They are also not just exceptional, they are a standout with highest rate of growth and getting to that point the fastest.