What we read this week (13 Jul)

Our selection of articles this week: the problem with patents, addressing the future ‘evolvably’ rather than sustainably, transparency or the lack thereof in various industries, business models for electric cars, and decency on the internet.

Quote of the week

Still, in talking with Madrigal, you’d find that literally dozens of online, Twitterified connections had leapt from the world of his addiction to the pure, happy world of “in real life.”

Alexis Madrigal

Articles of the week

  • Mark A. Lemley: The Myth of the Sole Inventor
    This abstract of an academic paper suggests taking an approach to patents that would encourage people to invent things while being more reasonable about dealing with simultaneous inventions. A short read, but full of good points.
  • Rachel Armstrong: The Future is Now: A Letter to Arup
    A letter in which Rachel Armstrong expresses her profound disagreement with the notion that the future is ‘over-sold and under-imagined’, and arguing for more investment in long-term strategies and research, rather than focusing on the more immediate future.
  • Transparency International: Shining a light on the world’s biggest companies
    In a global ranking across a wide range of industries, Transparency International reports which industries and companies disclose relevant information that potentially inform their business interests and thus agendas. Among these 105 largest companies worldwide, the mining/oil/gas sector is among the most transparent. Who’s at the bottom of the list besides a number of banks? Well hello, Google, Apple, Amazon.
  • Pando Daily: Better Place, Tesla, and the Mainstreaming of Electric Cars
    Better Place and Tesla are two companies that on the first glance operate in the same market: selling electric cars. But a deeper look at their very different business models reveals why it matters to pay attention to this field.
  • David Weinberger: Louis C.K. and the Decent Net, or How Louis won the Internet
    Comedian Louis C.K. started selling videos of his gigs online, both cheap and free of DRM. Anyone could (illegally, but easily) share them, just like that. And guess what – he’s selling more than ever before, proving that usability and trust in your community can beat all the copy protection your money can buy. In David Weinberger’s words: “Louis C.K. won the Internet by reminding us that the Internet offers us a chance for a moral do-over.”

Author: Maddie

Maddie is a strategist and researcher. She spends much of her time on the think tank side of Third Wave, and enjoys getting into the details of many different topics at once. Through this foraging for information, she finds ways to apply knowledge from one field in new, seemingly disparate ones, both in client work and other research. She holds an interdisciplinary BA in Computer Science, Linguistics and German, and has previously worked at VCCP and at the Science Gallery in Dublin.