Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Big Insights, Big Air, and A Future that is Already Here

Every week, we publish an exciting summary of the best articles, videos, events, and posts that relate to innovative management. This week, check out these 6 articles that inspire better management. Enjoy! 

Bizarre Insights from Big Data 

NY Times
On Sunday, The New York Times ran my article about Gilad Elbaz, who made a fortune helping Google map the Internet. He is now building a company called Factual, which he hopes will be one of the world’s largest and most accurate repositories of facts.

The idea is to have a lot of data of all kinds on hand, because sometimes unexpected combinations of information can lead to valuable insights.

For example, if you buy a used car, your best bet is an orange one. Data scientists at Kaggle, a pattern recognition start-up in which Mr. Elbaz has invested, have matched previously separate data sets on buyers, colors and after-purchase problems. They figured out that if a car’s original owner chose an odd color, the car was most likely a means of self-expression. That self-identification raises the odds that the owner cared more than usual for the vehicle.

Point of View is Worth 80 IQ Points 

During the years I worked at Apple, Alan Kay, a creative visionary, was also there. Kay’s wise memes were often quoted. One of my favorites, “Point of view is worth 80 IQ points,” is a constant guiding consideration for me. It comes to mind when I convene groups or organize advisory boards for companies: Is there a diverse mix of thinkers, personalities, and expertise represented? It’s on my mind when I organize dinner parties. In the years I spent working at Apple and Microsoft, it was on my mind when I made hiring decisions and assembled teams to work on any type of project. In December, I ran into Chris Young, and as we caught up with each other, he related a fascinating, “point of view is worth 80 points,” story. The story, Milk in Kenya, is below.

2014 - The Future is Here

The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. 
-William Gibson, quoted in The Economist, December 4, 2003 
The question we need to ask ourselves about the future is not if it will be digital, there seems to be a unison agreement that it will – the question is what digital means? There are two scenarios:

  1. In the future things stay the same. 
  2. The second scenario suggests a generational shift to how we think – brought on not by the digital platform, but by the abilities of digital that no longer remain niche, but become mainstream. 

First 1080 on a Skateboard
Tom Schaar is the first person to land a 1080 on a skateboard ramp. He's 12 years old.

Paul Allen Backs Wiki Project 

NW Innovation
Paul Allen, via his Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, is one of the major backers of a new Wiki project from the group Wikimedia. According to Wikimedia, it is starting the development of a new project called Wikidata, an online, collaboratively edited database of the world's knowledge. Wikimedia said the effort is being funded by a major donation of 1.3 million Euros ($1.7M dollars), half of it provided by Allen.... 

The Human Voice, as Game Changer 

NY Times
… executives are plotting a voice-enabled future where human speech brings responses from not only smartphones and televisions, cars and computers, but also coffee makers, refrigerators, thermostats, alarm systems and other smart devices and appliances.

It is a wildly disruptive idea. But such systems are already beginning to change the way we interact with the world and, for better and worse, how we think about technology. Until now, after all, we’ve talked only to one another. What if we begin talking to all sorts of machines, too — and, like Siri, those machines respond as if they were human?