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Never, ever confuse what happens on a runway with fashion,” Mr. de la Renta once said. “A runway is spectacle. It’s only fashion when a woman puts it on. Being well dressed hasn’t much to do with having good clothes. It’s a question of good balance and good common sense.
Oscar de la Renta

Living Systems and The Information First Company

Corporations – which by US law enjoy the status of personhood – act much like organisms in biological systems. Some are fitter than others, and every so often you see punctuated equilibrium – a quick reset of the ecological landscape. Further, it struck me that we’re in the midst of such a phase shift as we become information. 

Most corporations are organized to maximize their use of energy and matter, because those are the most expensive parts of their businesses. Digital companies, on the other hand,  place information at the center of their business.

Put another way, they are “information first” companies.  They map the flows of information in a market, and organize themselves so as to exploit or leverage those information flows, even if the flows are “potential information” – information used in a new way, a manner which may be more efficient, productive, or valuable. Put information first, and let that determine how best to organize energy and matter. Industrial era-companies, on the other hand, value their hard assets first (energy, matter), and only view  information  as a way to organize or protect those assets.

In his words: Marc Andreessen on big data, bitcoin and upending the world of finance - The Washington Post

“For five years, many of the world’s best mathematicians and computer scientists have been studying bitcoin and trying to figure out what’s wrong with it. They haven’t found anything yet. Every critique people have of bitcoin, so far, can either be answered with, ‘The designer anticipated it and has a solution built into the system,’ or, ‘There’s a service that can be built on top to address the problem.’ That’s the magic of why everyone out here is so excited about it.”

How Brad Pitt brings out the best in dads -

Men are changing because their power over women is waning. “Gender inequality . . . has been on a declining trend over the past 60 years in most world regions,” says the new How Was Life? report by the OECD. Things have got better especially since the 1980s. Women are catching up with men in age at which they get married, seats in parliament, property rights and education. Even Saudi Arabia, the last country where only men are allowed to vote, has promised to let women vote and run in next year’s local elections.

Richer people are generally more likely to have more friends, get married, be in better health, and so on, all of which improve life satisfaction. So rather than isolating the effect of income, which economists tend to do, we need to sprinkle its effects across all the other inputs into life satisfaction. When this sprinkling takes place, the effect of income on life satisfaction is much greater than found previously in the literature because we are picking up its indirect effects as well as the direct effects that come from having a bigger bank balance.
Happiness by Design - Paul Dolan

Peter Thiel Is Wrong About the Future - Virginia Postrel @ Bloomberg View

The reason mid-20th-century Americans were optimistic about the future wasn’t that science-fiction writers told cool stories about space travel. Science-fiction glamour in fact worked on only a small slice of the public. (Nobody else in my kindergarten was grabbing for “You Will Go to the Moon.”) People believed the future would be better than the present because they believed the present was better than the past. They constantly heard stories — not speculative, futuristic stories but news stories, fashion stories, real-estate stories, medical stories — that reinforced this belief. They remembered epidemics and rejoiced in vaccines and wonder drugs. They looked back on crowded urban walk-ups and appreciated neat suburban homes. They recalled ironing on sweaty summer days and celebrated air conditioning and wash-and-wear fabrics. They marveled at tiny transistor radios and dreamed of going on airplane trips.

Then the stories changed.

The world economy: Wealth without workers, workers without wealth - The Economist

"In the coming years the disruption will be felt by more people in more places, for three reasons. First, the rise of machine intelligence means more workers will see their jobs threatened. The effects will be felt further up the skill ladder, as auditors, radiologists and researchers of all sorts begin competing with machines. Technology will enable some doctors or professors to be much more productive, leaving others redundant.

Second, wealth creation in the digital era has so far generated little employment. Entrepreneurs can turn their ideas into firms with huge valuations and hardly any staff. Oculus VR, a maker of virtual-reality headsets with 75 employees, was bought by Facebook earlier this year for $2 billion. With fewer than 50,000 workers each, the giants of the modern tech economy such as Google and Facebook are a small fraction of the size of the 20th century’s industrial behemoths.

Third, these shifts are now evident in emerging economies. Foxconn, long the symbol of China’s manufacturing economy, at one point employed 1.5m workers to assemble electronics for Western markets. Now, as the costs of labour rise and those of automated manufacturing fall, Foxconn is swapping workers for robots. China’s future is more Alibaba than assembly line: the e-commerce company that recently made a spectacular debut on the New York Stock Exchange employs only 20,000 people.”

The New York Times needs to rethink its strategy — untargeted mini paywalls aren’t the answer

"From my point of view, there are two related problems with the NYT’s strategy: one is that it is trying to slice its existing content into smaller and smaller pieces, and that runs headlong into the law of diminishing returns, since each piece will generate less and less value because it appeals to fewer people. The second is that it is relying on tiny paywalls — and largely untargeted ones at that — to take up the slack created by the slowdown in its big, one-size-fits-all paywall."

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