hype7 writes: The Harvard Business Review is running an article looking at the recently announced OpenAI initiative, and its decision to structure the venture as a non-profit. It goes on to ask some pretty provocative questions: why are the 21st century's greatest tech luminaries opting out of the system that made them so successful in order to tackle one of humanity's thorniest problems? And, if the underlying system that we all operate in is broken, is creating a vehicle without the profit motive inside of it going to be enough?
hype7 writes: The great engineering manager — one of the hardest candidates to find. It's easier to tell the great engineers — you can just look at their code. But how do you tell if someone is as skilled in solving the softer, human problems? This post over at VentureBeat grapples with exactly this question, suggesting a very cool test to tell if someone has the chops to lead a team of engineers. The spoiler? It involves asking an engineering manager candidate to role play out a presentation of what they'd succeeded and failed at the conclusion of their first year.
hype7 writes: The Harvard Business Review is running a fascinating article on how finance is increasingly abstracting itself — and the gains it makes — away from the creation of value in the real world, and how High Frequency Trading is the most extreme version of this phenomenon yet. From the article: High frequency trading is a different phenomenon from the increasing focus on short term returns by human investors. But they’re borne from a similar mindset: one in which financial returns are the priority, independent of whether they’re associated with something innovative or useful in the real world. What Lewis’s book demonstrated to me isn’t just how “bad” HFTs are per se, but rather, what happens when finance keeps walking down the path it seems to be set on — a path that involves abstracting itself from the creation of real-world value. The final destination? It will enter a world entirely of its own — a world in which it is fighting to capture value that is completely independent of whether any is created in the first place.
hype7 writes: Here's a provocative article; the VP of engineering of a Sequoia-backed startup in Silicon Valley makes the case that good engineering managers aren't just hard to find — that they basically don't exist. The crux of his argument? The best engineers get all the benefits of being leaders, but without needing to take on the rather painful duties of management. So they choose not to move up. Compare this to the engineers who aren't as strong, and use the opportunity to move up as a way to get their voice heard.
hype7 writes: The Harvard Business Review (of all places) is running an article putting the revelations of PRISM and Verizon in the context of the surveillance state that US Government has managed to build — and compares the effort with that of the Stasi under East Germany. From the article: "But as any internet entrepreneur will tell you, relying entirely on people makes scaling difficult. Technology, on the other hand, makes it much easier. And that means that in many respects, what has emerged today is almost more pernicious; because that same technology has effectively turned not just some, but every single person you communicate with using technology — your acquaintances, your colleagues, your family and your friends — into those equivalent informants."
hype7 writes: "Harvard Business Review is running an article on the criminal justice system, and how what happened to Aaron Swartz isn't just an example of a "rogue prosecutor", but rather, a function of something that Aaron was fighting against — the influence of money in politics. From TFA: I simply don't know how else to explain the huge disparity in how justice was sought in these very different cases — other than regulatory capture. It seems you can get away with laundering money for the drug cartels, so long as you've been generous with the those responsible for appointing district attorneys; or better yet, if your industry has paid to undo all the regulation that prevents you from getting too big to fail. Similarly, when your lobby has been helping Congress draft the laws that govern food, drugs, and cosmetics, you can make sure that the federal sentencing guidelines are only six months should you breach the responsible corporate officer doctrine. This in turn means you can inject unsafe cement into people's spines with relative impunity. But woe betide you if, in the name of openness and sharing human knowledge, you decide to download academic journals. Because that sounds a lot like piracy — and we all know how much has been spent to stamp that scourge out."
hype7 writes: "The Harvard Business Review is running a very interesting piece on how money in politics is having a deleterious effect on US innovation. From the article:
if you were in any doubt how deep inside the political system the system of contributions have allowed incumbents to insert their hands, take a look at what happened when the Republican Study Committee released a paper pointing out some of the problems with current copyright regime. The debate was stifled within 24 hours. And just for good measure, Rep Marsha Blackburn, whose district abuts Nashville and who received more money from the music industry than any other Republican congressional candidate, apparently had the author of the study, Derek Khanna, fired. Sure, debate around policy is important, but it's clearly not as important as raising campaign funds.
hype7 writes: "The Harvard Business Review is running an article that's questioning the very premise of the Apple v Samsung case. From the article: "It isn't the first time Apple has been involved in a high-stakes "copying" court case. If you go back to the mid-1990s, there was their famous "look and feel" lawsuit against Microsoft. Apple's case there was eerily similar to the one they're running today: "we innovated in creating the graphical user interface; Microsoft copied us; if our competitors simply copy us, it's impossible for us to keep innovating." Apple ended up losing the case. But it's what happened next that's really fascinating. Apple didn't stop innovating at all.""
hype7 writes: "The Harvard Business Review has come out with an article extremely critical of SOPA. As opposed to a battle of "content" vs "technology", they are characterizing it as a battle of "giants" vs "innovators". From the article: "If you take a look at many of the largest backers of SOPA and PIPA — the Business of Software Alliance, Comcast, Electronic Arts, Ford, L'Oreal, Scholastic, Sony, Disney — you'll see that they represent a wide range of businesses. Some are technology companies, some are content companies, some are historic innovators, and some are not. But one characteristic is the same across all of SOPA's supporters — they all have an interest in preserving the status quo. If there is meaningful innovation by startups in content creation and delivery, the supporters of SOPA and PIPA are poised to lose.""
hype7 writes: With yesterday's release of the Steve Jobs biography, a raft of interesting information has come to light — including Jobs' favorite books. There's one book there listed as "profoundly moving" Jobs — the Innovator's Dilemma by innovation Professor Clayton Christensen. The Dilemma explains how in the pursuit of profit, good managers leave their companies open to disruption. There's a fascinating article over at the Harvard Business Review that explains how disruption works, and how Jobs managed to solve the dilemma by focusing Apple on products rather than profit.
hype7 writes: "It's clear that Steve Jobs didn't pull any punches from the interviews for his forthcoming biography. In the latest release from the book, hosted over at AP: "Isaacson wrote that Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the popular features of the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google's actions amounted to "grand theft." In a subsequent meeting with Schmidt at a Palo Alto, Calif., cafe, Jobs told Schmidt that he wasn't interested in settling the lawsuit, the book says. "I don't want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's all I want." The meeting, Isaacson wrote, resolved nothing.""
hype7 writes: "The Harvard Business Review is running an article on Siri, the speech recognition technology inside the new iPhone. They make the case that Siri's use of artificial intelligence and speech recognition is going to change the way we interact with machines. From the article: "the desktop metaphor — that the Mac introduced all those years ago — has long been stretched past breaking point. Novice users often don't know where to begin. The touch paradigm introduced in the iPhone began to change that: it removed the intermediary of the mouse and the cursor. But even still, unnecessary complexity remains...
Siri is going to be the first step in fixing it.""
hype7 writes: "The Harvard Business Review, of all places, is running a story suggesting that Spotify may have to rely on a bait & switch strategy — or might have one forced upon it by the record labels. From the article: "Spotify gets all its content from the same place everyone else does –" the same industry that has forced price increases on other online services once they have become successful. That appears to be at least partly what happened with Netflix last week. At least in the case of the existing a la carte music services, if you don't like the new price, you don't have to buy the new track. In Spotify's world, if you don't like the new price, there goes your music library. Or, if Spotify tries to stand up for its users, the labels can just pull the songs and those songs simply disappear.""
hype7 writes: "Harvard Business Review is running an article close to many slashdotter's hearts: the problems with "Big Content". They make the argument that all the measures that the movie and music industry are putting in place to protect their business models actually threatens to undermine the innovation engine that the US has built up in the tech space. Very interesting reading."
hype7 writes: "The Harvard Business Review are running a very interesting article on how this year's CES marked the end of the Wintel platform's dominance. Their argument is that tablets are going to disrupt the PC, and these tablets are predominantly going to be running on Google's Android powered by ARM processors — "Armdroid"."