A Blog by Jonathan Low


Aug 22, 2017

Robots Can Now Heal Themselves

By so doing, they become cheaper, safer and more productive, to say nothing of more amazing. JL

Eleanor Peake reports in Wired:

"A robot is very complex and difficult to repair. And the soft robots are particularly susceptible to sharp objects and high pressure." The inability to heal is one of the shortcomings of mechanical systems versus their biological counterparts. The polymer material used consists of cross links that allow the reaction to take place. This reaction allows new bonds to be made by the molecules. "By applying heat, those cross-links will break, which gives the polymer material more mobility. This mobility allows the molecules to close the gap made by the damage."

How a Brokerage App Got Millennials To Invest

Know your customer. Millennial investors arent thinking about retirement; they want to identify with brands they like. And research showed their pain point was not student loan obligations, but brokerage fees. JL

Ainsley Harris reports in Fast Company:

While older generations may invest for the sake of retirement, (younger investors), 78% of whom are under age 35, want to both build their savings and develop relationships with brands—just as they have on Instagram and Twitter. (And) By eliminating commissions, the company gave users license to experiment without being penalized for their mistakes; (it) has executed $75 billion in transactions and amassed more than 2 million users, just short of Charles Schwab’s 10.4 million brokerage accounts and E-Trade’s 3.5 million.

The Reason No Company Should Start a Big Data Project Right Now

Because too many data projects - like so many tech transformations - are not aligned with corporate strategy, organizational design and well-defined outcomes. JL

Bernard Marr comments in Forbes:

It’s not because I predict a major downturn in the economy or an incredible innovation that will change the way a data project should be run: unless you know what business questions you need to answer and what business problem you want to be solved, you shouldn’t start a data project. Too many big data projects that haven’t got clearly defined business goals and measurable results, which is why it isn’t surprising that so many big data projects fail.

Here's How Much Richer You'd Be If You Bought Google At the IPO Price

August 19, 2004. Woulda, shoulda, coulda...JL

Lucinda Shen reports in Fortune:

An investor who bought Google stock 13 years ago at its IPO price of $85 would now own a piece of the company worth about 22 times their original investment. That also takes into account the company's stock split in 2015, when it restructured under a larger company called Alphabet.Put it another way: A dollar in 2004 would have turned into 22, one hundred into $2,200, one thousand to $22,000. An investor who had decided to invest in the S&P 500 would've received a 2.3 times return on their initial investment.

Why Good Learners Are Good Leaders

Because they constantly question their own performance and employ learning as a means of always seeking to improve. JL

Lauren Keating and colleagues report in Harvard Business Review:

Organizations spend more than $24 billion annually on leadership development. Leaders who are in learning mode conduct fearless after-action reviews, determined to glean useful insights from the results of their experimentation. Candidly reflecting on what went well, what did not go so well, and what might work better in future (is) essential. Organizational leaders can help rising leaders focus more on being progressively better than they were in the past, rather than on constantly benchmarking themselves against others.

Amazon's Purchase of Whole Foods Shows Why Every Industry Needs An Ecosystem

Not just because it can disrupt and disintermediate grocery shopping, but because it just might learn something about quality, service and customer loyalty from another enterprise while creating a strategic partnership. JL 

Greg Satell reports in Digital Tonto:

Every enterprise is a square peg business waiting for a round hole world. While we must run our operations to serve the needs of the present, we also need to prepare for a future that is inherently unknowable. That’s why innovation needs exploration.It is easy to look at the predicament of traditional retailers, cowering amidst the Amazon onslaught, but we need to recognize we all are next.

Aug 21, 2017

Your Face Will Soon Be the Key To All Your Devices

If speed and convenience drive technology adoption, facial recognition has advantages that may cause it to dominate. JL

Christopher Mims reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Teaching phones what our faces look like will be just like teaching them our fingerprints. An image of your face is captured, relevant features are extracted and the phone stores them for comparison with your face when you unlock the phone. As with fingerprint recognition, the facial images are securely stored only on the device itself, not in the cloud. “Face recognition is has the ability to be much more ubiquitous than fingerprint scanning because camera sensors are that much easier to deploy.”