Friday Reading #9 (The from a train edition)

Heading north on the 19:55 train from St. Pancras. I have just attended the Design Of Understanding conference which was bloody marvelous. I am writing this using Internet Explorer 7 via the power of train wifi and under the influence of a little bit of alcohol. Broken links and fomatting errors aplenty I fear. eBook type thingy is here and the subscribe via email option will be posted later as I can’t get it to work on the train. IE7…why.


How To Kill A Bad Idea

“Contrast that with software. What are the criteria for evaluating software? Software doesn’t have mass. It doesn’t have shape. It doesn’t cast shadows. It has no edges. It has no size. You can’t pick it up. You can’t feel it. It doesn’t obey the laws of physics. It’s not really even there. Nothing is pushing back, saying, “That’s a bad idea; that won’t work; that’s going to burn someone or hurt someone or make someone drop it or…” Almost none of the tools we’ve developed to evaluate physical objects apply to software”


The Happiness Machine

“In the last couple years, Google has even hired social scientists to study the organization. The scientists—part of a group known as the PiLab, short for People & Innovation Lab—run dozens of experiments on employees in an effort to answer questions about the best way to manage a large firm.”


The Singularity Has No Business Model

“From our perspective on this, Sterling’s take on the Singularity, and how it will come about, does not take into account the nature of exponential technology, and as such is clearly missing the boat. As countless comments and the economy itself tells, there is a massive business potential in the development of artificial intelligence, and if we simply track Moore’s Law to the number of bits in the human brain, we will definitely hit the potential for greater-than human abilities computationally in the periods Kurzweil outlines in his book, The Singularity Is Near”


Google and the future of search: Amit Singhal and the Knowledge Graph

“Search will be included in people’s brains,” said Page of their ambition. “When you think about something and don’t really know much about it, you will automatically get information.”


Corporate Hackathons: The Fine Line Between Engaging and Exploiting 

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing a manifesto here. I’m not making a stand against coding competitions, hackathons, or code fests. I think they’re great when they’re held for the greater good or for the benefit of the participants themselves. But I think it’s a little lame when a big corporation tries to leverage this model in order to advance their own brand without giving all the participants something worthwhile. I don’t think they’re being evil or unethical. Just lame.”


There is No Spoon: The Construct of Channels 

“Let’s start with the recognition that channels aren’t a place that customers are at in any point in time. Customers don’t think in terms of channels in their mental model. They think about their experience, the sum of all their interactions across time with a product or service. Customers think about their goals, and not whether they are traversing a landscape of channels to accomplish that goal.”


It’s the Moral Thing To Do

“Walter urgently needs a way to explain to his family where he’s getting two hundred thousand dollars for an operation to give him a long-term reprieve from cancer. We already know his pride made him reject an offer to cover the costs made by old friends who’ve become rich as legal chemistry entrepreneurs. Now it turns out that his amour propre is deeper and more perverse; for Walter, it’s not enough to refuse charity. He wants the impossible, to conceal from his family that he’s cooking meth, but at the same time to get them to understand that he made the money by his own sweat and wits.”

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