2015 predictions are dumb. But …

CES is going on, so there are lots of amazing new technologies in the news, like autonomous cars, wearables, more practical things, and completely impractical things.  Digital people are often accused of being too gadget focused, and it is weeks like this when we are certainly somewhat guilty.

But I’m a little bit over gadgets.  They’re cool, but I think they are simply indicative of a much more interesting moment.  So here’s my grand prediction.  2015 will be the year of discovery.  Previous years we thought about technology, digital infrastructure, services and experiences.  That was all building toward now, where the internet reaches a majority of all intelligent life on earth.  It is now nearly more ubiquitous than access to clean water or consistent electricity.

Think about that.  In less than 30 years, the internet (as a set of technologies) has become more important to the human experience than one’s sense of smell.

So what does the world look like when the internet is the most important infrastructure of life?  Well, we stop talking about it as a series of technologies or devices (Ben Evans’ talk from GE Minds + Machines conference goes into depth).  We start talking about what we do with it.  2015 is when we learn how humanity and society will change based on our newly found low-friction, even effortless access the information, tools, insight & inspiration we need to live better lives.

While this may be a uniform philosophical question, each corner of the world will have different challenges and paradoxes to work through. while the US and Europe fight about packet uniformity and classifying access providers as utilities, a whole different picture exists in developing nations, where, to quote Jan Chipchase, “the network is never neutral.”

To paraphrase Ben Thompson from his most recent podcast: what kind of world do you discover when every company in every industry can assume every person has access to the internet?

(every few weeks I contribute to a short newsletter for my blue hive colleagues about cool things in digital.  This is my most recent article)

Three things to read about Ferguson

I’m by no means someone who should have a strong and/or relevant opinion about the events in Ferguson MO.   But I’m reading everything I see to try to understand what’s happening in & to the US.  Here’s a collection of links to people who have interesting things to say:

Killer Mike on Instagram

Killer Mike at a Show in St Louis, the day of the Grand Jury ruling

Ta Nehisi Coates (the Atlantic)

What cannot be said is that America does not really believe in nonviolence—Barack Obama has said as much—so much as it believes in order. What cannot be said is that there are very convincing reasons for black people in Ferguson to be nonviolent. But those reasons emanate from an intelligent fear of the law, not a benevolent respect for the law.

Chris Rock in The Vulture

What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t?

I’d do a special on race, but I’d have no black people.

Well, that would be much more revealing.

Yes, that would be an event. Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

Right. It’s ridiculous.

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. […]

(it is a wide-ranging interview: read the whole thing)

Inspiring reads: Mobility, Innovation, Disruption and heart

(every few weeks I contribute to a short newsletter for my blue hive colleagues about cool things in digital.  this is my most recent article)

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, so instead of a cohesive point of view about a topic in Digital, I’m sharing the raw materials: here’s some great articles, podcasts, websites and videos that have inspired me in the past few weeks:

Mobile is eating the world:  100 years ago, Trains were the innovative technology transforming the world.  That’s right, Trains.  Benedict Evans takes us through what it means for a technology to transform life, and how Mobile technology has surpassed “technology” and is more like “trains”, that is: irreplaceable, fundamental infrastructure for modern life.  DROP EVERYTHING AND WATCH this  video of Ben Speaking at a WSJ event about the year ahead on the internet.

Continue reading Inspiring reads: Mobility, Innovation, Disruption and heart

Digital Advertising is complicated, fake & hated, but …

(once every few weeks I contribute to a short newsletter for my blue hive colleagues about cool things in digital.  this is my most recent article)

Let’s be honest: online advertising is really, really complicated.  The most complicated and fragmented of the whole ecosystem is probably Display advertising.  It’s hard to really explain how it works, how it’s measured, how people interact with it, and how much it impacts the wider internet and digital economy — and I say this as one of the people within Blue Hive tasked with explaining it!

Continue reading Digital Advertising is complicated, fake & hated, but …

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