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Submission + - The iPhone's Success is Causing the Watch to Fail

hype7 writes: While it's sold well, the Apple Watch has not captured the hearts and minds of folks in the same way that the iPhone has. It does too much — it's almost confused. Part of the reason? Apple's success with the iPhone. The Blessing of Failure makes the case that Apple's position right now is analogous to Microsoft's back in the late 90s, trying to make the transition to mobile. They could see the future coming — but their success in the desktop arena with Windows meant they couldn't untether themselves from the last paradigm to focus on the next one, and so they tried to ship a PC that looked like a phone. Apple now has the same problem trying to go from the mobile paradigm to the post-mobile paradigm — and it's why the Watch isn't working.

Submission + - How the Apple/FBI Fight Risks the Entire US Tech Industry (hbr.org)

hype7 writes: The Harvard Business Review is running an article which puts the Apple vs FBI fight in the context of a string of US Government actions — all designed to bolster national security, but all of which are having the effect of risking public trust in the US Tech Sector. From the article:

If the U.S. is serious about housing the world’s greatest technology sector — and it should be, because it’s undoubtedly the most important economic sector of the future — then it is going to need to get more serious about fostering it, and viewing it as more than just a place for whistle-stop tours for candidates to raise campaign funds.


Submission + - San Bernadino — And How the US Has Gone Mad (medium.com) 1

hype7 writes: “People got shot. So we need a backdoor into your phone” — so goes the US Government's logic in the case against Apple. A post over at Medium digs into this in depth, making a compelling case that this isn't really about keeping Americans safe — if it was, the Government could gain access to the contents of the phone right now, using zero day exploits — but rather, a fight about principles that the US Government wants others to adhere to but thinks it doesn't have to abide by.

Submission + - Is OpenAI Solving the Wrong Problem? (hbr.org)

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?

Submission + - How to Hire a Great Engineering Manager (venturebeat.com)

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.

Submission + - High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race to Irrelevance

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.

Submission + - Good engineering managers aren't just hard to find — they don't exist (venturebeat.com)

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.

Comment "We believed we knew better what customers needed (Score 4, Insightful) 278

"We believed we knew better what customers needed long term than they did."

Yeah, except Steve Jobs thought this too, and look where Apple is.

This piece is interesting as a historical account but, like all these journalistic articles on why something happened, it's all hindsight 20/20 bullshit. If you want to understand why you can't trust the press to really explain the cause and effect of events, I encourage you to check out this book: The Halo Effect. Tears it all apart.

Submission + - Your Smartphone Is Working for the Surveillance State (hbr.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The Harvard Business Review is is running an article on the recent revelations around PRISM, drawing the parallel between the East German surveillance state and what the US Government has managed to achieve. From the article: "In terms of the capability to listen to, watch and keep tabs on what its citizens are doing, the East German government could not possibly have dreamed of achieving what the United States government has managed to put in place today. The execution of these systems is, as you'd expect, very different. The Germans relied upon people, which, even if not entirely effective, must have been absolutely terrifying: if for no other reason than you weren't sure who you could and could not trust. There was always that chance someone was reporting back on you. 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."

Submission + - Your iPhone Works for the Secret Police (hbr.org)

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."
Businesses

Submission + - The 787's Problems Run Deeper Than Outsourcing (hbr.org)

TAGmclaren writes: The Harvard Business Review is running a fascinating article exploring the issues facing Boeing's Dreamliner. Rather than simply blaming outsourcing, as much of the commentary has been focused on, the article delves into the benefits of integration and how being integrated when developing a new product gives engineers more degrees of freedom. From the article: "Historically, Boeing understood that, and had worked with its subcontractors on that basis. If it was going to rely on them, it would provide them with detailed blueprints of the parts that were required — after Boeing had already created them. That, in turn, meant that Boeing had to design all the relevant pieces of the puzzle itself, first. But with the 787, it appears that Boeing tried a very different approach: rather than having the puzzle solved and asking the suppliers to provide a defined puzzle piece, they asked suppliers to create their own blueprints for parts. The puzzle hadn't been properly solved when Boeing asked suppliers for the pieces. It should come as little surprise then, that as the components came back from far-flung suppliers, for the first plane ever made of composite materials... those parts didn't all fit together. Time and cost blew out accordingly.

It's easy to blame the outsourcing. But, in this instance, it wasn't so much the outsourcing, as it was the decision to modularize a complicated problem too soon."

Businesses

Submission + - Aaron Swartz, and the corruption of America's justice system (hbr.org) 4

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."
Businesses

Submission + - How corruption is strangling US Innovation (hbr.org) 1

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.

"

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