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Drones ≠ Delivery

Interesting long piece in the Economist about drones from last week.

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Key points that were interesting for me:

  • Commercial drones are taking off faster than military ones (see chart)
  • The US armed forces have about 11k drones, dramatically up from a few in 2001
  • Most of the interesting uses are not in delivery (despite all the hype in the popular press), but rather in imaging
  • The future of drones may be “multi modal” – i.e. drones that operate on the ground and fly rather than just do one thing

And if you are bored reading about this and want to watch some fun drone tricks, try this TED talk from a few years ago. It’s cool to watch.

Time to break up Google?

tech monopoliesI ran across this really nice written article on the state of tech dominance from the NY Times – “Is it time to break up Google?“. It essentially argues that Google, Amazon and Facebook have become natural monopolies and we continue at our peril if we don’t do anything.

A couple of points that caught my eye:

  • While profits have soared at the tech companies, revenues for newspapers and music companies have fallen by 70% since 2001
  • Newspaper publishers have lost over 50% of their employees between 2001 and 2016

Worth a read.

 

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Oracle, IBM “most hyped” cloud vendors

I ran across some data on the “most hyped” cloud vendors from Oppenheimer research that I thought would be useful to share. It essentially confirms that Oracle, IBM lead in the “hype vs. reality” for cloud. [The essential question asked in the survey was:”Which cloud vendor has least lived up to the hype?”]

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Notice that Amazon is near the bottom, where one would expect it to be.

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Masters of the universe

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Interesting article  from the NYTimes on the people who run the world – a.k.a. the ~2500 billionaires. A few points that caught my eye:

  • Six of the top 10 billionaires made their money in technology
  • A new billionaire is created every three days in Asia(!), with 65 percent of the region’s billionaires in China. So much for communism not being the way.
  • 57 percent are self-made, and another 31 percent received an inheritance and grew it into billions.
  • Over half of all billionaires are worth between $1 billion and $2 billion. Go up to $5 billion and there are 2,101.
  • More of today’s billionaires went to Harvard than to any other school. Stanford was second.

Definitely worth the read.

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Hot temperatures lead to hot tempers

February 13, 2017 Leave a comment

If you thought the public discourse on social media wasn’t civil now, there may be more bad news as the world gets hotter. MIT tech review published this in the latest edition and the data is apparently a study of over a billion tweets.

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Apparently there’s a correlation between profanity (at least in tweets) and the ambient temperature.  If you are looking for the original paper for more details it can be found here.

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Competing against luck

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

If you are looking for growth areas for your products / services, this new book by Clay Christensen says that you need to get into the head of your customers and really understand what they are looking to getcompeting-against-luck done (“hire”).

Given all the hype around data and analytics it is refreshing to be told to take a “wide angle” perspective; it is not enough to hoover up all the data, run it through some fancy segmentation analysis and then add in some focus group interviews. One has to think about the context, the emotions etc. I’m not sure if any of this is really new; it kind of reminds me of design thinking. However, it’s probably a good reminder for all of those trying to think about growth and innovation.

By the way, if you are pressed for time and you want to get a flavor of the book, you may want to hear the podcast on HBR.

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“It’s 1994 for voice”

January 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Ieuphonia-2 love this quote from an article in the Economist this week about the rise of voice based computing. (For those too young to remember, this was of course when Netscape first launched and provided a way for ordinary people to get on to the web).

A couple of other items that caught my eye:

  • Only 1/3 of users use their personal assistants, although ~95% have tried them
  • Apple’s Siri receives ~2B requests per week
  • Cortana’s (Microsoft) team includes playwrights, a poet a screenwriter and a novelist. Plus some developers I would assume.

 

(For those curious, the photo is from here)

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