A Blog by Jonathan Low


Nov 15, 2018

5G Will Roll Out In Globally Next Year, Faster Than Expected

The market wants speed - and they're willing to pay for it. The rest is logistics. JL

Conor Reynolds reports in Computer Business Review:

5G looks set to happen faster than many anticipated globally. US chipmaker Qualcomm for example said it expects the first mobile 5G network launches will begin in the second calendar quarter next year, with commercial launches occurring simultaneously across the US, Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. The need for 5G  is highlighted by the demand by consumers for fast data connectivity.

The Business Of Managing Experience In the Experience Economy

Experience is deeply personal. It is also eminently manageable. JL

Ben Thompson reports in Stratechery:

Customers are just as connected as the employees of any enterprise. This can be frightening for businesses where every week some terrible story about poor customer service goes viral. (But) reaching (customers) is cheap. Even basic channels are effective at showing how consumers are feeling. Experience management promises the ability to understand what is happening directly. What makes (it) into a tool is tying customer feedback to specific interactions or transactions. Experience management is about helping every person outside of companies influence every person inside

Cheap Is Great, But Beware Of 'Free'

One way or another, you're paying. JL

Barry Ritholtz reports in The Big Picture:

There is a basic foundation upon which all economics is built: everything has a cost. Colloquially, we know this as the phrase “no free lunch.” Economics is neither obvious, nor straightforward, and the nuance is that while everything has a cost, at times, it can be hidden from view.  Free has hidden charges, expenses. Free requires you to read the fine print, where on page 37 you learn that free can be very expensive. “Free” is a loss leader, a form of marketing. It eventually leads to a “bait and switch.

European Union's High Court Rules Taste Cannot Be Copyrighted

The dispute involved cheese spreads rather than actual cheeses, but the overarching principle - that taste cannot be copyrighted - appears to hold for a broader set of foods and drinks - to say nothing of other intangibles. JL

Amie Tsang reports in the New York Times:

A Dutch cheese company tried to claim that it had a monopoly on the taste of a cheese spread. The Court of Justice of the European Union weighed arguments from two competing food producers, and decided that a taste cannot be copyrighted. Taste is “an idea,” rather than an “expression of an original intellectual creation,” the court ruled. And something that cannot be defined precisely cannot be copyrighted.

Why We Need Better Ways To Measure Economic Performance In Digital Era

Failure to accurately assess inputs' impact on outcomes in the digital economy leads to mis-allocation of resources. JL

Mariana Mazzucato reports in Knowledge@Wharton:

We’ve confused what is value creation vs. value extraction — we’re confusing rents with profits. What we include in gross domestic product is things that are priced. Public funds have fueled growth in some of the most innovative industries. Everything that makes our smartphones smart was publicly financed (but) we don’t measure government value.

Walmart Offers More Stable Shifts, App-Based Schedules, In Battle To Attract Workers

Competition for workers in a full employment economy means more flexibility, app-based scheduling not requiring managers' permission - and better pay, especially as the holiday shopping season arrives. JL

Sarah Nassauer reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Walmart will introduce to all of its U.S. stores software that better predicts staffing needs and allows those stores to give workers schedules that remain the same for 13 weeks. Employees have complained that it was difficult to plan their lives around changing schedules that didn’t give them sufficient advance notice.Walmart’s efforts come as U.S. unemployment is at its lowest level in decades and wages are rising, leaving retailers to battle for workers while managing rising costs. Walmart also is letting workers use a company mobile app to check schedules or swap shifts without a manager’s approval.

Nov 14, 2018

Ears From Apples? How Plants Can Engineer Human Tissue

The thigh bone's connected to the...? JL

Shelly Fan reports in Singularity Hub:

An apple’s fibrous interior is strikingly similar to the microenvironments usually used in labs to bio-engineer human tissue. “There’s no gene modification…or biochemistry. This is a purely mechanical influence. There’s a link between these things.”The team is broadening its work to three areas of tissue engineering: soft tissue cartilage, bone, and spinal cord and nerve repair. The key is to match the specific microstructure of a plant to that of the tissue