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jerryking : archimedes   3

Tech startups: A Cambrian moment | The Economist
Jan 18th 2014

the world of startups today offers a preview of how large swathes of the economy will be organised tomorrow. The prevailing model will be platforms with small, innovative firms operating on top of them. This pattern is already emerging in such sectors as banking, telecommunications, electricity and even government. As Archimedes, the leading scientist of classical antiquity, once said: “Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.”....yet another dotcom bubble that is bound to pop. Indeed, the number of pure software startups may have peaked already.... warns Mr Andreessen, who as co-founder of Netscape saw the bubble from close by: “When things popped last time it took ten years to reset the psychology.” And even without another internet bust, more than 90% of startups will crash and burn.

But this time is also different, in an important way.

the basic building blocks for digital services and products—the “technologies of startup production”,...Some of these building blocks are snippets of code that can be copied free from the internet, along with easy-to-learn programming frameworks (such as Ruby on Rails). Others are services for finding developers (eLance, oDesk), sharing code (GitHub) and testing usability ( Yet others are “application programming interfaces” (APIs), digital plugs that are multiplying rapidly....Startups are best thought of as experiments on top of such platforms, testing what can be automated in business and other walks of life. Some will work out, many will not. Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, calls this “combinatorial innovation”. In a way, these startups are doing what humans have always done: apply known techniques to new problems. The late Claude Lévi-Strauss, a French anthropologist, described the process as bricolage (tinkering)..... software (which is at the heart of these startups) is eating away at the structures established in the analogue age....this special report will explain how start-ups operate, how they are nurtured in accelerators and other such organisations, how they are financed and how they collaborate with others. It is a story of technological change creating a set of new institutions which governments around the world are increasingly supporting.
anthropologists  Archimedes  bubbles  Cambrian_explosion  dotcom  entrepreneurship  Greek  Hal_Varian  innovation  innovation_policies  Marc_Andreessen  millennials  platforms  software_is_eating_the_world  start_ups  taxonomy  technological_change  urban 
february 2014 by jerryking
Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn Has Become the Go-To Guy of Tech -
November 5, 2011 | NYT | By EVELYN M. RUSLI.

Hearing Mr. Hoffman wax philosophical about technology, it’s easy to understand why so many here seem to view him as something of a yoda. When he talks about “scale” — Internet-speak for having enough people use a network to make the network actually useful — he often invokes Archimedes, the great mathematician and inventor in ancient Greece.

According to lore, Archimedes created a device with a revolving screw-shaped blade to pump water against gravity: the Archimedes screw. Mr. Hoffman urges his followers to find their own levers and devices to encourage people to adopt their technologies. Entrepreneurs, he says, often spend too much time creating products and too little figuring out how to get people to use them....“When you write a scholarly work, it tends to be understood by very few people, and has one publication point over time,” he said. “But when you build a service, you can touch millions, to hundreds of millions of people directly.”...Today, LinkedIn, the professional social network, is a rising giant, a monument to the emergence of the social Web. Founded in 2002, the company has ballooned to more than 1,700 employees. It has more than 135 million registered members across 200 countries. It has turned a profit in six of the last seven quarters. ...In the same way that social media redefined the Internet, he sees another tectonic shift on the horizon.

This one, he believes, will be driven by data. Mr. Hoffman has been investing in companies that are data-driven or starting to work with data in interesting ways. For instance, even though two Greylock investments, Shopkick and Groupon, focus on retailing, both aggregate a huge volume of information on user spending habits. LinkedIn, too, has been trying to leverage the data on its site by, for example, making it more searchable.
Reid_Hoffman  LinkedIn  profile  entrepreneur  Silicon_Valley  data_driven  analytics  data  massive_data_sets  Greylock  scaling  searchable  network_effects  habits  spending  customer_adoption  seismic_shifts  Archimedes  Greek 
november 2011 by jerryking
The Archimedes Palimpsest | Walters Art Museum | Reading Beneath the Lines | By William Triplett -

Palimpsests—recycled handwritten books from the Middle Ages—aren't a particularly big deal. "They're around," says Will Noel, curator of manuscripts and rare books at the Walters Art Museum here. "What's rare is finding one that's interesting."

The interesting part is always the original text that the recycler (or palimpsester) tried to erase in order to write a new, different book...."Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes" is a palimpsest that mostly contains recovered writings of the great Greek mathematician, but it also includes two other recovered texts that have caught the attention of a variety of scholars. A good chunk of these writings exist nowhere else, any other copies having been lost or destroyed long ago.

"It really is a small ancient library of unique texts," Mr. Noel says.
Middle_Ages  books  museums  exhibitions  libraries  Archimedes  Greek 
october 2011 by jerryking

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