A Blog by Jonathan Low


Aug 17, 2018

Startups Disrupt Office Market By Demanding - and Receiving - Shorter Leases

Speed, flexibility, adaptability. All our exemplars of contemporary business logic - and the sworn enemies of fixed assets. JL

Peter Grant reports in the Wall Street Journal:

“The largest asset class in the world is being disrupted. “You talk to any company today and they would like to make as many of their expenses as variable as possible.”

The Reasons the US Needs a Cyber Force More Than a Space Force

This seems obvious, but evidently needs to be said. JL

James Stavridis reports in Bloomberg:

We might be attacked from space someday. But we are being attacked from cyberspace right now, and that demands an immediate response. The digital world is highly militarized. The individual armed forces do not have adequate ( resources). They are training, equipping and organizing to do traditional warfighting. China and Russia have huge offensive cyber-capabilities. Russia used these attacking Georgia in 2008. North Korea hacked Sony Pictures. Iran was behind the attack  forcing the world’s largest oil company to shut its computer network.

How Emotional Marketing Can Be Twice As Persuasive As Functional Mktg

There are many elements of value. With big data and machine learning it is increasingly possible to identify which ones drive customer decision making. JL 

Knowledge@Wharton reports:

Although the science of pricing has progressed, our grasp of value hasn’t caught up. Firms are aware that customers have feelings and opinions about their products, but there’s no established way to translate those attitudes into what customers will be willing to pay, and into business success. 30 universal elements meet fundamental human needs. Emotional elements are twice as powerful as functional elements in predicting NPS.

Google Employees Protest Company's Work On Censored Search Engine For China

When your success is dependent on the brilliance - and commitment - of your human capital, you had better listen. 

Increasingly, employees at big tech companies - Amazon and Facebook, to name but two -are questioning not just the business but ethical judgement of their enterprises and leadership.

While Facebook appears fully committed to growth, profitability and power above any sort of moral or social consideration and Amazon is in the very firm grip of its founder, there is cause to consider the risk management implications for customers, advertisers and investors if disaffected employees ever do decide to disrupt the gravy train. Google appears to be the only one which might actually turn its back on China. Its staffers appear to be saying that 'dont be evil' means just that. Whether it will do so remains to be seen.  JL

Kate Conger and Daisuke Wakabayashi report in the New York Times:

Google is facing intense pressure to introduce more of its products in China.  (But)“you can never satisfy a censor, particularly in China.” The company would lend legitimacy to government censorship if it debuted a censored search product in China.“Then the Chinese government can say, ‘Google is O.K. with it, too.’”Hundreds of Google employees, upset at the company’s decision to secretly build a censored version of its search engine for China, have signed a letter demanding more transparency to understand the ethical consequences of their work.

Why Everything We Know About How Enterprises Learn Is About To Change

Artificial intelligence is helping enterprises determine not just what to learn but who in the organization has the requisite skill or knowledge, who is most susceptible to learning and what methods may be most effective for transferring that information to those individuals or units.

Smart companies will recognize the advantage of testing and refining that they learn from this process in order to optimize impact and outcomes. JL

Lisa Solomon reports in Singularity Hub:

Corporate leaders and employees want more impactful learning. But real learning—acquiring skills, understanding new paradigms, and changing behaviors—takes time and costs attention. We’re seeing a re-think of learning organizations, informed by the importance of informal learning networks. Algorithms search behavior patterns  on how knowledge flows through organizations. Through data, we can see which meetings are productive, where expertise exists, who are the teachers, who are the curious.

Aug 16, 2018

How AI Is De-Commoditizing the Chip Industry

Daniel Kobran reports in Venture Beat:

The one thing deep learning algorithms have in common is they take an enormous amount of computing power. To make real progress towards generalizing this kind of intelligence, we need to overhaul the computational systems that fuel this technology.

New Smartphone Season Is Here: Why People Don't Seem Too Excited

The thrill is gone, as legendary bluesman BB King used to sing.

Market saturation is almost complete in developed economies. New features have been incremental and not sufficient to excite consumers to go through the hassle of switching to a new device. To say nothing of incurring additional and ever-increasing expense.

There is hope that the introduction of 5G in a couple of years will reignite sales. But its new features will have to be pretty spectacular to change customer behavior. This is what commodification looks like. JL

Hayley Tsukayama reports in The Washington Post:

A survey asked which smartphone launch they most anticipated this year. Apple came in first with 42%. Samsung’s Galaxy Note9,  24%. And "None” came in third. Americans are likely to hold on to their phones for 32 months, up from 25 months last year.