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.

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.

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