"business" entries

Four short links: 8 February 2016

Four short links: 8 February 2016

Experimental Support, Coding Books, Bad Decisions, and GitHub to Jupyter

  1. Elemental Machines — Boston startup fitting experiments & experimenters with sensors, deep learning to identify problems (vibration, humidity, etc.) that could trigger experimental failure. [C]rucial experiments are often delayed by things that seem trivial in retrospect. “I talked to my friends who worked in labs,” Iyengar says. “Everyone had a story to tell.” One scientist’s polymer was unstable because of ultraviolet light coming through a nearby window, he says; that took six months to debug. Another friend who worked at a pharmaceutical company was testing drug candidates in mice. The results were one failure after another, for months, until someone figured out that the lab next door was being renovated, and after-hours construction was keeping the mice awake and stressing them out. (that quote from Xconomy)
  2. Usborne Computer and Coding Books — not only do they have sweet Scratch books for kids, they also have their nostalgia-dripping 1980s microcomputer books online. I still have a pile of my well-loved originals.
  3. Powerful People are Terrible at Making Decisions TogetherResearchers from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, undertook an experiment with a group of health care executives on a leadership retreat. They broke them into groups, presented them with a list of fictional job candidates, and asked them to recommend one to their CEO. The discussions were recorded and evaluated by independent reviewers. The higher the concentration of high-ranking executives, the more a group struggled to complete the task. They competed for status, were less focused on the assignment, and tended to share less information with each other.
  4. MyBinderturn a GitHub repo into a collection of interactive notebooks powered by Jupyter and Kubernetes.
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Four short links: 25 January 2016

Four short links: 25 January 2016

Company Mortality, Geoffrey West Profile, Microservice Toolkit, and Problem-Free Activities

  1. The Mortality of Companies — Geoffrey West paper: we show that the mortality of publicly traded companies manifests an approximately constant hazard rate over long periods of observation. This regularity indicates that mortality rates are independent of a company’s age. We show that the typical half-life of a publicly traded company is about a decade, regardless of business sector.
  2. The Fortune 500 Teller — profile of Geoffrey West. (via Roger Dennis)
  3. Gizmoa microservice toolkit in Golang from NYT. (via InfoQ)
  4. Intellectual Need and Problem-Free Activity in the Mathematics Classroom (PDF) — Although this is not an empirical study, we use data from observed high school algebra classrooms to illustrate four categories of activity students engage in while feeling little or no intellectual need. We present multiple examples for each category in order to draw out different nuances of the activity, and we contrast the observed situations with ones that would provide various types of intellectual need. Finally, we offer general suggestions for teaching with intellectual need.
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Four short links: 22 January 2016

Four short links: 22 January 2016

Open Source Ultrasound, Deep Learning MOOC, Corp Dev Translation, and Immersive at Sundance

  1. Murgen — open source open hardware ultrasound.
  2. Udacity Deep Learning MOOC — platform is Google’s TensorFlow.
  3. CorpDev Translation“We’ll continue to follow your progress.” Translation: We’ll reach back out when we see you haven’t raised more money and you are probably more desperate because of your shorter runway.
  4. 8i Take Immersive Tech to Sundance8i’s technology lets filmmakers capture entire performances with off-the-shelf cameras and then place them in pre-existing environments, creating a fully navigable 3-D VR movie that’s far more immersive than the 360-degree videos most have seen.
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Four short links: 19 January 2016

Four short links: 19 January 2016

Spermbots, Reputation Risks, Lab Robot, and Stack Expansion

  1. SpermbotsResearchers from the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden in Germany have successfully tested tiny, magnetically-driven power suits for individual sperm that can turn them into steerable cyborg “spermbots” that can be remote controlled all the way to the egg. But can they make an underwire bra that the washing machine doesn’t turn into a medieval torture device?
  2. What’s Eating Silicon ValleyIn 2014, more Harvard Business School Grads went into technology than into banking for the first time since the dot-com era. […] another reason Wall Street had trouble maintaining goodwill was because of some of the attributes above—hard-charging, too much too soon, parallel reality, money flowing everywhere, rich white guys, etc. The Wall St comparison was new to me, but I can see it as a goodwill risk.
  3. OpenTrons — $3,000 open source personal lab robot for science, with downloadable/shareable protocols.
  4. Why Big Companies Keep Failing: The Stack Fallacy — you’re more likely to succeed if you expand down (to supplant your suppliers) than up (to build the products that are built on top of your product) because you’re a customer of your suppliers, so you know what good product-market fit will look like, but you’re just fantasizing that you can supplant your downstream value.
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Four short links: 26 November 2015

Four short links: 26 November 2015

Mozilla Search, Web Dependencies, Systems and Power, and Alphabet Structure

  1. Firefox Leaves Google’s Money Behind (CNET) — regional deals with other search engine companies, notably Yahoo in the United States, Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia.
  2. Managing Performance of Third-Party Scripts — in the words of Tammy Everts, A typical web page contains 75+ 3rd-party calls, which means 75+ potential webperf SPOFs.
  3. How Change Happens — draft of a book with a “systems and power” approach. Consultation period ends December 10, so get in fast if you’re interested. (via Duncan Green)
  4. More on Alphabet (NY Times blog) — G charging its Alphabet siblings for services like HR, mapping tech, compute, etc. Paging Ronald Coase! Ronald Coase to Finance!
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Four short links: 11 November 2015

Four short links: 11 November 2015

Fundable Hardware Trends, Experience Heuristics, Robot Design Software, and Ops Feedback in Dev Tools

  1. 2015 Hardware Trends — HAXLR8R deck of the trends they see in fundable hardware.
  2. Heuristics — the heuristics and intuition risks that beset backcountry skiers are instantly recognizable to dev managers.
  3. Interactive Design of 3D-Printable Robotic Creatures (Disney Research) — paper describing software to let you design (add/remove motor-controlled legs, change shape, customize gait, etc.), modelling how they’ll move, and then 3D print when you’re happy. (via IEEE Spectrum)
  4. Runtime Metric Meets Developer: Building Better Cloud Applications Using Feedback (Adrian Colyer) — surfacing operations data like calls/sec, time to complete, etc. in the developer’s IDE. Wow, that’s genius. (And Adrian’s explanation/excerpts make this easy to digest)
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Four short links: 6 November 2015

Four short links: 6 November 2015

Media Money, Linux Security, TPP and Source, and Robot Chefs

  1. Grantland and the Surprising Future of Publishing (Ben Thompson) — writing is good for reach, podcasts and video good for advertising $. The combination is powerful.
  2. Security and the Linux Kernel (WaPo) — the question is not “can the WaPo write intelligently about the Linux kernel and security?” (answer, by the way, is “yes”) but rather “why is the WaPo writing about Linux kernel and security?” Ladies and gentlemen, start your conspiracy engines.
  3. TPP Might Prevent Governments from Auditing Source Code (Wired) — Article 14.17 of proposal, published at last today after years of secret negotiations, says: “No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale or use of such software, or of products containing such software, in its territory.” The proposal includes an exception for critical infrastructure, but it’s not clear whether software involved in life or death situations, such as cars, airplanes, or medical devices would be included. One of many “what the heck does this mean for us?” analyses coming out. I’m waiting a few days until the analyses shake out before I get anything in a tangle.
  4. Innit Future Kitchen — robots that cook. Is nothing sacred for these steely-hearted bastards?!
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Four short links: 29 October 2015

Four short links: 29 October 2015

Cloud Passports, Better Python Notebooks, Slippery Telcos, and Python Data Journalism

  1. Australia Floating the Idea of Cloud PassportsUnder a cloud passport, a traveller’s identity and biometrics data would be stored in a cloud, so passengers would no longer need to carry their passports and risk having them lost or stolen. That sound you hear is Taylor Swift on Security, quoting “Wildest Dreams” into her vodka and Tang: “I can see the end as it begins.” This article is also notable for The idea of cloud passports is the result of a hipster-style-hackathon.
  2. Jupyter — Python Notebooks that allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations, and explanatory text. Uses include: data cleaning and transformation, numerical simulation, statistical modeling, machine learning, and much more.
  3. Telcos $24B Business In Your DataUnder the radar, Verizon, Sprint, Telefonica, and other carriers have partnered with firms including SAP, IBM, HP, and AirSage to manage, package, and sell various levels of data to marketers and other clients. It’s all part of a push by the world’s largest phone operators to counteract diminishing subscriber growth through new business ventures that tap into the data that showers from consumers’ mobile Web surfing, text messaging, and phone calls. Even if you do pay for it, you’re still the product.
  4. Introducing Agate — a Python data analysis library designed to be useable by non-data-scientists, so leads to readable and predictable code. Target market: data journalists.
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Julia Ko on developing a different kind of smartphone

The O’Reilly Solid Podcast: Entrepreneurship, niche product development, and spotting business opportunities.

Subscribe to the O’Reilly Solid Podcast for insight and analysis about the Internet of Things and the worlds of hardware, software, and manufacturing.

Desoto_car_phone_Dave_S_Flickr

Many of the hardware creators we speak with come into their work through the enthusiast route: they start with an engineering problem they want to solve or a piece of technology they think is interesting, then look for an application that would support a business.

Julia Ko, our guest on this week’s episode of the Solid Podcast, started her company SurePod a very different way. She saw the business opportunity first, studying wholesale mobile contracts and the sales networks that distribute medical devices, and she developed a plan for a simplified mobile phone for older people. Only then did she learn the technical aspects of hardware production.

In this episode, we talk about Ko’s development as an entrepreneur, the challenge of creating a product for which you aren’t the target audience, and the best mobile phone carrier (Ko says it’s AT&T).

Read more…

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Four short links: 13 October 2015

Four short links: 13 October 2015

Apple Chips, Death of the Data Center, IBM R&D, and Stateful Services

  1. Apple’s Incredible Platform Advantage (Steve Cheney) — the best people in chip design no longer want to work at Intel or Qualcomm. They want to work at Apple. I have plenty of friends in the Valley who affirm this. Sure Apple products are cooler. But Apple has also surpassed Intel in performance. This is insane. A device company – which makes CPUs for internal use – surpassing Intel, the world’s largest chip maker that practically invented the CPU and has thousands of customers.
  2. Data Center’s Days are Numbered — Adrian Cockroft says, the investments going into bolstering security on AWS and other clouds are set to pay off to the point where within five years, “it will be impossible to get security certification if you’re not running in the cloud because the tools designed for data centers are sloppily put together and can’t offer the auditing for PCI and other regulators.”
  3. A Peek Inside IBM’s R&D LabIBM still has a physics department, but at this point, almost every physicist is somehow linked to a product plan or customer plan.
  4. Building Scalable Stateful Services (High Scalability) — elucidation of a talk by Caitie McCaffrey (YouTube), tech lead for observability at Twitter.
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