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Showing posts from May, 2010

Prosumer-Centric Capitalism

Irving Wladawsky-Berger has posted an illuminating piece titled Customer-centric Capitalism in which he convincingly argues the now dominant profit-driven businesses M.O. is in fact detrimental to society: For the last thirty years, maximizing shareholder value has replaced customer value as the key objective of many companies.  But, a number of experts are now raising questions about this widespread business practice and the extreme preoccupation with short term profits that inevitably results from putting shareholders over customers.  It is clear that our system of profit-driven capitalism must be modernized with a greater emphasis placed on the customer.  This is already happening.  A handful of companies, like Google, have adopted positive-sum or triple-bottom-line business models.  Many more are using data more effectively to improve customer service wherever it impacts profit.  Customer-centric capitalism is making a slow but steady comeback. Now consider t

The Rise of Social Data Mining (as a Business Model)

Companies are discovering how to monetize social network data.  This is driving Big Open Science.  Is that a good thing? A social network for sharing illness data, , has demonstrated that it can tap the information in its user network to predict the outcome of clinical drug trials.  The service, which is populated by a large number of ALS sufferers, determined that lithium use had no effect on the late-stage decline in ALS patients.  Why is this significant? Because it took 18 months before a formal study was able to confirm exactly the same thing. While clearly not yet a replacement for the clinical trial process, the findings do reinforce the concept of Big Open Science - the use of large data sets to conduct a rougher, more rapid form of science. The financial model is clever and solid: We take the information patients share about their experience with the disease, and sell it in a de-identified, aggregated and individual format to our partners (i.e.,

Which Big Company Will Launch the Private Facebook Alternative?

Loren Feldman at 1938media makes the case for a large-scale Facebook alternative that caters to users looking for PRIVACY.   He suggests that Aol is best positioned to go that route. Sounds pretty developmentally inevitable to me.  There will be open social networks and closed social networks.  The open play makes sense for Facebook at this time, but I expect that at least one large-scale CLOSED social network and many more gated niche players will soon emerge.  Google, Microsoft, Apple, Aol, IBM, Yahoo or even MySpace are companies that could make big gains by branding themselves as stewards of your privacy.

The Gradual Transhuman

According to transhumanist thinkers, a posthuman is a hypothetical future being "whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer unambiguously human by our current standards." Futurist Jamais Cascio tells io9 he thinks this word is "a term with more weight than meaning". Posthumanity ... will always be just over the horizon. Always in The Future. When the systems and augmentations we now consider to be posthuman hit the real world, they will have become simply human in scale. That's because augmentation - the development of systems and technologies to allow us to do and to be more than what our natural biology would allow - is intrinsic to what it means to be human. Jamais points out in the article and in this NYC Future Salon video that the human species has already greatly augmented itself with technology (this includes words and complex abstractions, like science and math), so it's hard to pin d


The similarities between Mark Zuckerberg and Genghis Khan are uncanny: Genghis Khan was born in the Mongolian plains in 1162 - not far from the current capital Ulaanbaatar .  Mark Zuckerberg was born in White Plains in 1984 - not far from world media capital New York City.   Genghis Khan became leader of his tribe at the age of 12 and began plotting world domination. Mark Zuckerberg became leader of his middle school Coders Club at the age of 12 and began planning world domination.  Genghis Khan committed a questionable act by killing his half-brother, Bekhter , during a fight which resulted from a dispute over hunting spoils. This incident cemented his position as head of the household.  Mark Zuckerberg committed a questionable act of killing Facebook predecessor ConnectU by mimicking its features and took all the spoils.  This incident cemented Facebook as the leading social network at Harvard. Genghis Khan used his cunning to unite the warring Naimans , Merkits , Uygh

Twitter is a Full-Fledged Media Outlet, Not Purely a Social Network

The first "quantitative study on the entire Twittersphere and information diffusion on it" conducted by the Department of Computer Science at KAIST University in Korea confirms that Twitter functions more as a broadcast news arena and less as a discrete social network. What is Twitter, a Social Network or a News Media? One particularly interesting nugget is the estimation that "any retweeted tweet is to reach an average of 1,000 users no matter what the number of followers is of the original tweet. Once retweeted, a tweet gets retweeted almost instantly on next hops, signifying fast diffusion of information after the 1st retweet. "  This seems to reinforce that Twitter network behavior is more about the content and less about the people.

IBM Previews CityOne - Think Google Earth + Sim City = Educational Software that Supports IBM's Smart Planet Push

IBM is taking the notion of serious games to the next level with CityOne (think Google Earth + Sim City), a rich game designed to bring about awareness of the foresighted company's Smart Planet and Smart Infrastructure initiatives. CityOne is already in use at over 1,000 universities for free as part of IBM's academic initiatives and makes sense as a branding and awareness play to support the company's Smart Planet and Smart Town initiatives.