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ANDRÉ CRAMER

… Digital Transformation & Social Responsibility

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Background & Opinions

Why do big and established companies struggle so much with agile work and culture?

I don’t know how you feel about this, but “agility” surely has become one of the management buzzwords of the recent years. That is not so surprising indeed. In particular, technologically driven change puts a lot of pressure on companies to become faster if they want to hold their ground in a rapidly changing environment.

Therefore, the trend has arrived also in the big companies and corporate organizations some years ago. And, not really surprising, many of them are rather unsuccessful in trying to implement those agile structures. When you take a deeper look into how transformation projects usually work in such companies,  Continue reading “Why do big and established companies struggle so much with agile work and culture?”

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What is the key learning from Google Duplex? Digital Responsibility needed more than ever before…

I guess by now we have all heard of the very controversial Google Duplex demonstration at Google I/O 2018, where a human-voice synthesized bot called several local businesses and was able to interact with humans who had no idea they were talking to a machine. Many of us are fascinated by the technological progress that could be witnessed. A part of me was fascinated just like that. But to me the real fascinating discussion is about ethics, specifically AI ethics that come along with approaches like Duplex. Continue reading “What is the key learning from Google Duplex? Digital Responsibility needed more than ever before…”

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A strong read recommendation on digital media messing up societal discourse: How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us (Roger McNamee)

This is one of the best pieces of journalism I have seen in quite a while, looking a level or a couple of levels deeper than usual into what social media and social networks really mean for public discourse, the formation of opinion and eventually public polarization. Facebook’s role to be precise.

An early investor explains why the social media platform’s business model is such a threat—and what to do about it.

A remarkable quote:

“[…] the internet platforms were able to pursue business strategies that would not have been allowed in prior decades. No one stopped them from using free products to centralize the internet and then replace its core functions. No one stopped them from siphoning off the profits of content creators. No one stopped them from gathering data on every aspect of every user’s internet life. No one stopped them from amassing market share not seen since the days of Standard Oil. No one stopped them from running massive social and psychological experiments on their users. No one demanded that they police their platforms. It has been a sweet deal. Facebook and Google are now so large that traditional tools of regulation may no longer be effective.”

A must-read on a topic that we need to tackle if we don’t want to end up with technology whose consequences we have not thought through well enough during its early maturity stages messaging up our society.

Read the full article here: Washington Monthly | How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us

A must-read to sharpen your senses on the “Social Score”: In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society (Mara Hvistendahl)

As an interested and alerted reader on topics where technology meets sociology in the broader sense, many of us are likely noticing an increase in coverage of so called social score projects and experiments. Perhaps you feel like me and you notice a shiver when elaborating on this topic.

Since the most decisive activities in this space take place in China, you find a lot of coverage on their local activities. And it is worth taking a closer look. Right now it all follows the principle “technology / big data / data analytics meets authoritarian state/government”. A scary but in fact a “no brainer” situation. Since there are always tendencies in certain interest groups or parties even in western-style democracies to intrude our private lifes and dilluting privacy laws, we should in fact be carefully watching what is going on and what is possible.

This here is a brilliant piece of journalism by WIRED‘s Mara Hvistendahl. Take the time for this long read. It matters to all of us.

My most alarming quote: “But when he entered his name and national ID number, the app informed him that the transaction wouldn’t go through because he was on the Supreme People’s Court blacklist. This list—literally, the List of Dishonest People—is the same one that is integrated into Zhima Credit.”

You will learn more on Zhima Credit, their activities and the relation with Chinese government activities in the article.

Read the full article here: In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society | WIRED

Teriffic read that helps you understand the turmoil happening to digital media in 2017: How to Survive the Media Apocalypse (Derek Thompson)

If you have wondered what the hell is going on in media, or better put, digital media recently, this is a must-read. After years of growth and surging, fueled by advertising-centric business models and loads of VC money, the digital media landscape sees its most drastic challenge since inception.

Advertising is a dead end. Digital subscription models look really promising, given you have high quality content and an established, ideally pre-digital publishing times brand. Pivoting and pivoting to new types of content formats seems like hopeless actionism. With pivoting to video usually being the end of the death spiral.

My key statement from the article:

“In its inexhaustible capacity for experimentation, digital media has pivoted to programmatic advertising, pivoted to native advertising, pivoted to venture capital, pivoted to Facebook, pivoted to distributed, and pivoted to video. Here is a better experiment: Pivot to readers.”

Enjoy!

Read the entire article here: Why 2017 Feels Like a Media Apocalypse – The Atlantic

Enjoyed this here… and there is an intriguing thought on the future UX for mobile services: The iPhone X is the Beginning of the End for Phones (Owen Williams)

This is a nice read on where we might be heading in the smartphones space, or better put: mobile computing and mobile access to internet services. Most intriguing thought in this for me is if removing a brick/smartphone type of device in this equation might help us liberate our attention from the grip of attention manipulating social networks (btw… great TED talk on this from Tristan Harris).

From the Owen Willams’ post:

Using a Watch to stay connected but not having a phone would do wonders for my concentration, too.

Rather than responding to every single thing as it comes in, having it on my wrist would allow me to know what’s going on but save responding until I’ve got a larger keyboard in front of me to type on. Continue reading “Enjoyed this here… and there is an intriguing thought on the future UX for mobile services: The iPhone X is the Beginning of the End for Phones (Owen Williams)”

Awesome Outlook of what the upcoming iPhone 8 might do to mobile computing & smartphone use cases: iPhone AR Selfie Revolution (Mike Rundle)

This is a must-read speculation article giving an outlook of what some of the rumored cutting-edge new tech ingredients like

  • dedicated infrared light sensors
  • improved front-facing camera with higher fidelity & frame-rate
  • faster and more secure unlocking and payment authorization tech like facial recognition & tracking
  • new image processing functionality able to track and deciper eye movements and alterness

could mean for the future of mobile computing and smartphone based everyday use cases.

“These aren’t just the ingredients for a new way to unlock your phone, these are the foundational elements for some truly futuristic technology that no one else is building.”

My personal highlight:

“A revolution in mobile advertising where apps and advertisers will know if you actually looked at a banner or not. This data would be more valuable than any metric advertisers currently receive, but could have pretty evil consequences…”

Read more at iPhone AR Selfie Revolution – Mike Rundle – Medium

Very good read on what the Digital Disruption of our Social Life is doing to us: Is Social Media The New Tobacco? (John Battelle)

The digital disruption of our everyday life, in particular, our social relationships and interaction among each other is not really a spotlight topic. We talk about the future of jobs, autonomous driving, the Internet of Things and since the 2016 elections we at least talk about the impact of digitalizing and democratizing our media. This article takes a closer look at social media and what it can do and does to our life, especially to that of our kids and teenagers. We need to be more conscious of this, and make sure the social media industry gets regulated where there is a need for regulation. Read for yourself:

“I’ll admit I was a slow-follower when the iPhone launched ten years ago. I was suspicious of Apple’s intent — I was not fan of its closed, vertically integrated model — and the market’s infatuation with apps felt like a fad that would ultimately fade. When I finally did get an iPhone, I felt complicit in the what amounted to internet climate change: slowly but surely, our new addictions were bound to swamp all that we had worked so hard to build on the open web. As Tristan Harris and many others have pointed out, the economic incentives driving our mobile landscape (in short: advertising) are based fundamentally on the science of addiction, and addicted we certainly are…”

Source: Is Social Media The New Tobacco? – NewCo Shift

Tesla Shows How Traditional Business Metrics Are Outdated (Eddie Yoon)

A great article using Tesla as an example of how in the digitalization age traditional business metrics get outdated. How do we compare new concepts, businesses, ecosystems to related traditional counterparts? Here’s some very useful food for thought:

“Elon Musk is having a moment. Tesla just delivered its first Model 3, the affordable model that he envisioned in his “secret” strategy some 11 years ago. He wanted to build a sports car, then build a more affordable car with zero emissions. He’s basically already there. The Model 3 has mostly rave reviews and a multiyear waiting list, which is quite a feat, even for an industry leader like Musk.

And yet confusion still abounds regarding Tesla. There are roughly the same number of buy, hold, and sell ratings on the company, which means Wall Street has no idea what’s going on. Tesla’s recent announcement to raise $1.5 billion in debt was largely met with a yawn by stockholders, as shares moved down a slight 0.5%. Tesla’s ability to surprise has analysts wondering if it is wise to ever bet against Elon Musk…”

Read the article on HBR: Tesla Shows How Traditional Business Metrics Are Outdated

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