What we read this week (8 Feb)

This week we read about Internet-centrism, questionable visions for education’s future, how music recommendation works, why Amazon wants its own currency, and how the way we buy things today is changing the way brands work.

Quote of the week

Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game.

Louis Gerstner

Articles of the week

  • New Republic: Up for Debate: Can Social Media Solve Real-World Problems?
    Evgeny Morozov and Steven Johnson battle it out over “Internet-centrism,” or whether the patterns in the way things work on the internet can be generalized to the rest of life. An intense debate, with some critical thoughts on the role and nature of the internet, as well as some fantastic name-calling.
  • The Awl: Venture Capital’s Massive, Terrible Idea For The Future Of College
    In this long and brilliant piece, Maria Bustillos gets to the core of what learning really is as she documents and contributes to the currently raging debates over MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and what exactly they can or cannot contribute to education. Also have a look at Clay Shirky’s reply.
  • Brian Whitman: How music recommendation works — and doesn’t work
    Brian Whitman of The Echo Nest goes into great detail on the complex subject of how good music recommendations are made, what these recommendations are good for, and where there is room for improvement in this field.
  • The Verge: Why Amazon wants its own currency
    Amazon has announced a new virtual currency, Amazon Coins, that will be an alternative to credit card payment in-app purchases for the Kindle Fire. Adrianne Jeffries questions the motives behind this move, explains how it will work, and concludes that the goal is “to shore up loyalty…and maybe avoid some taxes.”
  • Harvard Business Review: The Rise of the Unbrand
    On the trend of products that are less reliant on “brand”, and more reliant on quality, individualization and usefulness. But in the end, a brand without a logo/name is still a brand.

What we read this week (20 Jul)

Our articles of the week talk about brands in science fiction, startups in the Philippines, mobile vs mobility, predicting violence with algorithms, and empathizing with machines.

Quotes of the week

The invisibility of something [doesn’t imply] its lack of being.

Werner Herzog

What if the “posthuman” isn’t being a cyborg but instead being a cell in a giant’s body, helping to enable a vast consciousness that you’re never aware of and that is never aware of you?

Alan Jacobs

Articles of the week

  • The New Yorker: A Word From Our Sponsors
    Science Fiction got it right again. It’s interesting to consider, in light of brand power struggles at the London Olympics, what impact marketing and corporate culture are having on everyday life. This is a good example of how speculative fiction can bring us to question such situations and ask ourselves: do we want that?
  • SGEntrepreneurs: The Philippine startup scene: Asia’s best kept secret?
    An in-depth article on the current state of the startup scene in the Philippines, particularly the cultural and economic factors that influence the choice of field for new companies.
  • David Armano: The Future Isn’t About Mobile; It’s About Mobility
    Throwing yourself out there isn’t enough anymore – this also applies to the mobile web ecosystem. David Armano recommends that we get acquainted with patterns in modern digital behavior and advises us to learn how to differentiate between mobile and mobility.
  • LA Times: Computer analysis predicted rises, ebbs in Afghanistan violence
    A group of friends, who happened to be computer experts, decided to make something out of the endless data on war in Afghanistan released by WikiLeaks in 2010. Based on the data they extracted by using simple code, they managed to predict fluctuations in the country’s violence.
  • Olivia Rosane: the ROOMBA whirrs for thee
    Reading through the @SelfAwareROOMBA Twitter feed has an uncanny effect: you begin to empathize with a machine. (A vacuum cleaner, no less.) Olivia Rosane does a beautiful job of analyzing the mechanics that cause us to experience genuine emotion in response to tweets from this lonely and perceptive character, and how a Twitter feed comes to take on a personality we can identify with.

We’ve put this week’s reads into a Readlist for your mobile perusal. Enjoy!

What we read this week (27 Jan)

This week’s five top articles feature Youtube’s TV revolution, social media brands, 3D printing piracy, collaborative design and thoughts on ad agencies.

Culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death.

Shawn Parr

The future is where our wishes and fears converge.

Leila Johnston

  • The New Yorker: Will Robert Kyncl and YouTube Revolutionize Television?
    It’s not a secret that Google wants Youtube to become even more then it is today. What their plans are and how they want to achieve them? It’s all in this long and very good article.
  • What do consumers want from social?
    A study from the CMO Council of 1300 looked at the difference of what consumers expect from brands in social media and what marketers think they want. We Are Social has the skinny.
  • The Pirate Bay: Evolution
    The Pirate Bay goes physical, announces to also share blueprints for 3D models: “We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles.” Expect to print your own knock-off Legos soon.
  • Co.Design: Could A Change In Business Model Win Designers A Place In The C-Suite?
    Fuseproject does its design work mostly for equity in startups and is most interested in long-term relationships with the founders to produce better design. Very interesting, alternative business model. A design consultancy that works more like a VC firm.
  • What Do Advertising Agencies Do?
    Faris Yakob explores the real value of advertising agencies and where they’re headed.