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jerryking : analog   20

The opportunities left behind when innovation shakes up old industries
November 28, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | GUY NICHOLSON.

early meetings and phone calls were casual conversations with a couple of landscape photographers who specialize in golf.

The very nature of their business had changed fundamentally...After the Internet disrupted print magazines and media, they recast themselves as digital marketers, selling online rights to images created with high-tech arrays of digital cameras, drones and processing software. But even while embracing technology to take their work to new artistic heights, there were dramatically fewer places left for golfers to come across this art in print......Had their little corner of publishing been so thoroughly disrupted and abandoned that it now had more demand than supply? .....Technological innovation can be extremely disruptive and painful – and in the digital era, capable of changing entire industries seemingly overnight. But when creative destruction puts good things in peril, slivers of opportunity can emerge. After the masses and the smart money have flocked to newer technologies, formerly ultra-competitive spaces can be left wide open for innovation – abandoned fields for small businesses, start-ups and niche players to occupy.

It helps to offer a level of quality or service the bigger players consider uneconomical. Look at the travel industry, which has been thoroughly remade under waves of innovation: cellphones, digital cameras, GPS, Google Maps. Between internet comparison shopping and Airbnb, travel agents could have gone the way of the traveller’s cheque. But in the wake of all that disruption, tiny bespoke agencies specializing in advice, unique experiences, complicated itineraries and group travel have re-emerged to offer services too niche for the big digital players.....Similar things are happening in industries such as gaming, where video games have cleared the way for board-game cafes, and vinyl music, which survived the onslaught of MP3s and streaming music on the strength of nostalgia, millennial fascination and sound quality. As the rest of the industry moved into digital, neighbourhood record stores and small manufacturers picked up the pieces, catering to an enthusiastic subset of music buyers.

“We were growing very rapidly, not because vinyl was growing, but because a lot of pressing plants were going out of business,” Ton Vermeulen, a Dutch DJ and artist manager who bought a former Sony record plant in 1998, told Toronto journalist David Sax in his 2016 book The Revenge of Analog. Vinyl is back in the mainstream, but its disruption cleared the field for smaller players.

Abandoned fields aren’t for everyone. Building a business around an off-trend service or product can be a tough slog (jck: hard work)for fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs, and risky. In the case of the golf photographers, two dozen artists signed up to create a high-end subscription magazine. It’s beautiful, but with two years of work riding on a four-week Kickstarter campaign, there’s no guarantee this particular field will prove to have been worth reclaiming.

Of course, risk has always been part of small business. But a market waiting to be served – that’s a precious thing. As long as there is disruption, it will create opportunities for small businesses to reoccupy abandoned fields
abandoned_fields  analog  bespoke  books  counterintuitive  creating_opportunities  creative_destruction  David_Sax  digital_artifacts  digital_cameras  disruption  hard_work  high-risk  high-touch  innovation  Kickstarter  new_businesses  niches  off-trends  opportunities  photography  print_journalism  small_business  start_ups  structural_decline  travel_agents 
december 2018 by jerryking
Anti-Algorithm Fashion
Sept. 10, 2018 | The New York Times | By Vanessa Friedman.

Some fashion brands are displaying an increasingly confident adherence to their own ideas about what the world should look like now.

They make what they want, in the way they want. If that means getting rained on, so be it. If that means they lose audience members to shelter, well, O.K. It sounds like a small thing, but it’s getting harder and harder to find. The industry bends toward compromise. There’s a lot of pressure these days to design by algorithm. We know too much about buying habits and likes, and the result is an insidious bias toward giving people what they have already indicated they want. It may be safe, and easier to sell, but it’s antithetical to the whole point of fashion, which should be about giving people what they never knew they wanted — what they couldn’t imagine they wanted — until they saw it. There’s a clarity to such commitment that keeps people in their seats, a ruthlessness toward pandering to the prevailing winds (or rain) that is itself desirable.
====================================================
Excerpt from 'A whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule
the future' By Daniel H. Pink. "Indeed, one of design's most potent
economic effects is this very capacity to create new markets... The
forces of Abundance, Asia, and Automation turn goods and services into
commodities so quickly that the only way to survive is by constantly
developing new innovations, inventing new categories, and (in Paola
Antonelli's lovely phrase) giving the world something it didn't know it
was missing.
analog  fashion  messiness  inspiration  algorithms  apparel  brands  clothing_labels 
september 2018 by jerryking
Wall Street to CEOs: Disrupt Your Industry, or Else
May 26, 2017 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims

Investors and boards are hunting for corporate leaders who can move quickly to fend off upstarts and place big bets on disruptive tech.......For pretty much any industry you can name—not just autos but manufacturing, logistics, finance, media and of course retail—there are tech startups purporting to have better ideas, ones they say they don’t need decades to make into realities. It isn’t as if all these industries will see massive CEO turnover, but it does mean established companies need to consider drastic measures. They must be willing to tell their stakeholders they may have to lose money and cannibalize existing products and services, while scaling up new technologies and methods.

“Ten years ago, innovation was based on features and functions,”. “Now it’s about your business model and transforming your industry.”

Before, companies could innovate by acquiring tech startups. But the top disrupters now grow so quickly and capture so much market share, they become too valuable to buy or are unwilling to sell.....Act faster to satisfy shareholders.....Mickey Drexler, CEO of beleaguered J. Crew, admitted that if he could go back 10 years, he might have done things differently, to cope with the rapid transformation of retail by e-commerce. Who then would have predicted that in 2017, the No. 1 online retailer of clothing to millennials would be Amazon?....CEO turnover isn’t necessarily the only solution on the table....Companies also have to incubate potentially disruptive startups within their own corporate structures. This means protecting them as they develop, and being willing to absorb their losses for as long as their competitors do. Consider, for example, that Amazon made almost no profit for its first 20 years..... Wal-Mart’s e-commerce division increased sales 29% from a year earlier. Many analysts thought the company overpaid for Jet.com, which cost it $3.3 billion in August 2016. But the acquisition brought e-commerce veteran Marc Lore, who became chief executive of Wal-Mart’s online operations and quickly replaced existing executives with members of his own team.
analog  business_models  CEOs  Christopher_Mims  disruption  e-commerce  leaders  LVMH  operational_tempo  risk-taking  transformational  turnover  Jet  Wal-Mart  Wall_Street 
may 2017 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Stumbles in World Beyond Software
DEC. 6, 2016 | WSJ | BY JACK NICAS

In software, programmers can control their environment. The physical world is messy and unpredictable. Even the smartest computers can’t prepare for every possibility. Add to that the burden of public safety and regulation and it is easy to see why the tech industry hasn’t been able to replicate its success in the digital realm.

“The world is so unforgiving. You can’t just ask it to be more organized,” said Astro Teller, the ponytailed chief of X, Alphabet’s research lab that has investigated—and decided against—space elevators and jetpacks.

Moreover, digital progress is rapid, because computing power increases dramatically over time and software can be replicated endlessly. In the physical world, advances are constrained by physics.
physics  analog  Google  drones  challenges  cyberphysical  Silicon_Valley  software  meat_space  moonshots  Amazon  physical_world 
december 2016 by jerryking
Amazon Working on Several Grocery-Store Formats, Could Open More Than 2,000 Locations - WSJ
By LAURA STEVENS and KHADEEJA SAFDAR
Updated Dec. 5, 2016

Amazon.com Inc. unveiled Monday its first small-format grocery store, Amazon Go, one of at least three brick-and-mortar formats the online retail giant is exploring as it makes a play for an area of shopping that remains stubbornly in-store....The Amazon Go store, at roughly 1,800 square feet in downtown Seattle, resembles a convenience store-format in a video Amazon released Monday. It features artificial intelligence-powered technology that eliminates checkouts, cash registers and lines. Instead, customers scan their phone on a kiosk as they walk in, and Amazon automatically determines what items customers take from the shelves. After leaving the store, Amazon charges their account for the items and sends a receipt....While Amazon is moving into brick-and-mortar grocery shopping, other large retailers are expanding their online services. Wal-Mart’s curbside pickup service offers some convenience without the cost of home delivery.
Amazon  Amazon_Go  grocery  supermarkets  analog  home-delivery  e-commerce  small_spaces  store_footprints  bricks-and-mortar  artificial_intelligence  AmazonFresh  convenience_stores  cashierless  in-store 
december 2016 by jerryking
Violently Wrought, Kaitlyn Greenidge interviews Marlon James - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
Kaitlyn Greenidge interviews Marlon James
November 3, 2014

Guernica: When you are inside the big book, how do you map out structure?

Marlon James: I have note sheets. I use Moleskine notebooks. I’m analog like that. I have a plot chart. I have different columns for the character, rows with different times of day, because even though it’s a big book, each chapter takes place basically in a day. So I need to know where Nina Burgess is at nine o’clock, and where she’ll be at ten. It allows me to be spontaneous. It’s sort of like how knowing prosody really liberates a poet.

If you know you have a backbone, you can bend and contort. That’s what allowed a lot of the freedom in the book. Because half of that stuff in that chart I didn’t follow. Because characters become real and they don’t take crap from you. But also because I always knew where the return line was. You can always go so far out on a limb and know you have to come back to this point. Plot charts and diagramming also stopped me from playing favorites. Because everybody had to get equal time.
**********************************************************
Marlon James: Because I want dialogue. But to come back to it—Josey Wales, for example, is slightly older than Weeper [both two gang enforcers in a ghetto of Kingston]. Josey Wales doesn’t like reggae, he doesn’t like dance hall, whereas Weeper is a street kid. He’s a nerd. He has nothing but bitterness and meanness. But they do not talk the same. In a novel that’s told by characters, your nightmare is that they end up sounding alike. Working out how different generations talk was really the challenge. Remembering things like values. It’s their value system that governs how they talk.

Guernica: In the novel, power dynamics are constantly shifting. But there’s never a sense that one character has complete or absolute power.

Marlon James: If anyone has the upper hand, then your novel loses tension. I hope I wrote a very tense novel. Tension happens because dynamics are always changing. Even if you don’t have the upper hand, you have the upper hand in an argument. You have the moral right. Especially these characters, since a lot of them are pushed into corners and make desperate decisions. I don’t buy into the all-knowing, all-smart character. Even characters who you think are minor still end up being overshadowed or beaten.
Marlon_James  writers  Caribbean  culture  violence  fiction  books  Jamaica  '70s  profile  authors  teachers  Bob_Marley  writing  analog  spontaneity  Moleskine  plot_charts  diagramming  Man_Booker  prizes 
january 2016 by jerryking
Sree Sreenivasan
| Fast Company | Business + Innovation

What is something about your job that you think would surprise people?
Most people are surprised to know that the digital media team at the Met has 70 people in it. Our world-class team works on topics I love: web, digital, social, mobile, video, data, email, gallery interactives, media lab, and so much more. We like to run our team like a 70-person startup inside a 145-year-old company.

People always ask me how I justify the museum spending so many resources of digital media. I would always talk about the importance of connecting the physical and the digital, the in-person and the online (here's a TEDx talk I gave on this topic). But I recently got concrete proof that I've been sharing with anyone who will listen.

The photographer Carleton Watkins shot photos in 1861 of Yosemite that he showed to President Lincoln and inspired him to sign legislation that protected Yosemite forever and started the conservation movement. He did this without ever seeing Yosemite, just the facsimiles. We had an exhibition of these beautiful photos and they make the case better than I can for the value of something artificial (or digital) to inspire support, interest, and more, for something real.
innovation  digital_media  social_media  museums  cyberphysical  New_York_City  executive_management  partnerships  analog  meat_space  Sree_Sreenivasan  digital_strategies  physical_assets  physical_world  Abraham_Lincoln  photography  Yosemite  conservation 
may 2015 by jerryking
The Sensor-Rich, Data-Scooping Future - NYTimes.com
APRIL 26, 2015 | NYT | By QUENTIN HARDY.

Sensor-rich lights, to be found eventually in offices and homes, are for a company that will sell knowledge of behavior as much as physical objects....The Internet will be almost fused with the physical world. The way Google now looks at online clicks to figure out what ad to next put in front of you will become the way companies gain once-hidden insights into the patterns of nature and society.

G.E., Google and others expect that knowing and manipulating these patterns is the heart of a new era of global efficiency, centered on machines that learn and predict what is likely to happen next.

“The core thing Google is doing is machine learning,” Eric Schmidt....The great data science companies of our sensor-packed world will have experts in arcane reaches of statistics, computer science, networking, visualization and database systems, among other fields. Graduates in those areas are already in high demand.

Nor is data analysis just a question of computing skills; data access is also critically important. As a general rule, the larger and richer a data set a company has, the better its predictions become. ....an emerging area of computer analysis known as “deep learning” will blow away older fields.

While both Facebook and Google have snapped up deep-learning specialists, Mr. Howard said, “they have far too much invested in traditional computing paradigms. They are the equivalent of Kodak in photography.” Echoing Mr. Chui’s point about specialization, he said he thought the new methods demanded understanding of specific fields to work well.

It is of course possible that both things are true: Big companies like Google and Amazon will have lots of commodity data analysis, and specialists will find niches. That means for most of us, the answer to the future will be in knowing how to ask the right kinds of questions.
sensors  GE  GE_Capital  Quentin_Hardy  data  data_driven  data_scientists  massive_data_sets  machine_learning  automated_reasoning  predictions  predictive_analytics  predictive_modeling  layer_mastery  core_competencies  Enlitic  deep_learning  niches  patterns  analog  insights  latent  hidden  questions  Google  Amazon  aftermath  physical_world  specialization  consumer_behavior  cyberphysical  arcane_knowledge  artificial_intelligence  test_beds 
april 2015 by jerryking
When Uber and Airbnb Meet the Real World - NYTimes.com
OCT. 17, 2014 | NYT | Claire Cain Miller.

Why have these companies run into so many problems? Part of the reason is that they think of themselves as online companies — yet they mostly operate in the offline world.

They subscribe to three core business principles that have become a religion in Silicon Valley: Serve as a middleman, employ as few people as possible and automate everything. Those tenets have worked wonders on the web at companies like Google and Twitter. But as the new, on-demand companies are learning, they are not necessarily compatible with the real world....The belief that problems can be solved without involving people is probably why many of these companies did not meet with regulators and officials before starting services in new cities. And it has come back to haunt them. Luther Lowe, director of public policy at Yelp, had some basic advice for Uber that could apply to Airbnb, Lyft and others: Hire a lobbyist and meet with the mayor and the city council before setting up shop....DESPITE these three major differences between web companies and the ones that bridge the digital and physical worlds, they all share another guiding Silicon Valley principle: the belief that if enough people want to use a product, the company will succeed....Julie Samuels is the executive director of Engine, which advises start-ups on policy...another principle shared by both older and newer tech companies: Regulators are little more than roadblocks standing in the way of innovation.
meat_space  in_the_real_world  Uber  Airbnb  Claire_Cain_Miller  Silicon_Valley  on-demand  lobbyists  regulators  analog  physical_assets  physical_world  physical_economy  cyberphysical 
october 2014 by jerryking
Digital diaries are no match for our paper past - FT.com
August 31, 2014 3:54 pm
Digital diaries are no match for our paper past
By Lucy Kellaway
Lucy_Kellaway  Moleskine  calendars  writing  journaling  analog  artifacts  handwritten  paper-based 
september 2014 by jerryking
FarmLogs Gets $4 Million to Help Modernize Agriculture
January 15, 2014 | Masahable | By Todd Wasserman.

Seeing an opportunity in the largely analog world of agriculture, investors have sunk $4 million into FarmLogs, a startup that brings real-time data to farming.
agriculture  farming  Farmlogs  start_ups  data  real-time  analog 
january 2014 by jerryking
Max Levchin talks about data, sensors and the plan for his new startup(s) — Tech News and Analysis
Jan. 30, 2013 | GigaOm |By Om Malik.

“The world of real things is very inefficient: slack resources are abundant, so are the companies trying to rationalize their use. Über, AirBnB, Exec, GetAround, PostMates, ZipCar, Cherry, Housefed, Skyara, ToolSpinner, Snapgoods, Vayable, Swifto…it’s an explosion! What enabled this? Why now? It’s not like we suddenly have a larger surplus of black cars than ever before.

Examine the DNA of these businesses: resource availability and demand requests — highly analog, as this is about cars, drivers, and passengers — is captured at the edge, automatically where possible, then transmitted and stored, then processed centrally. Requests are queued at the smart center, and a marketplace/auction is used to allocate them, matches are made and feedback is given in real time.

A key revolutionary insight here is not that the market-based distribution of resources is a great idea — it is the digitalization of analog data, and its management in a centralized queue to create amazing new efficiencies.”
massive_data_sets  data  Max_Levchin  sensors  start_ups  incubators  San_Francisco  sharing_economy  slack_resources  analog  efficiencies  meat_space  data_coordination  match-making  platforms  Om_Malik  resource_management  underutilization  resource_allocation  auctions  SMAC_stack  algorithms  digitalization  radical_ideas 
february 2013 by jerryking
How crowd-sourcing will spark a data revolution
March 22, 2012 |Globe and Mail Blog | by frances woolley.

Yet all of these initiatives are geared towards government data sets and professional researchers. Important private records – diaries of early settlers, for example – can find a home in Canada’s National Archives. But the Archives do not have sufficient resources to process and document records of snowdrops or goldfinches. Moreover, the Archives keep records, not data sets – it is fascinating to look at census records from 120 years ago, but they aren’t much use for statistical analysis.

There is a solution: crowd-sourcing. Across the country there are students, amateur and professional historians, policy analysts, bloggers and data nerds. I’m one of them. I’ve taken data collected by a notable Ottawa record keeper, Mr. Harry Thomson, and posted it on Worthwhile Canadian Initiative. Mr. Thomson’s records go back to the 1960s, long before Environment Canada began collecting comparable hydrometric data. An analysis of the data shows a significant decline in peak water levels during the spring flood – with this year being no exception.

Yet Worthwhile Canadian Initiative is just one blog in the vast expanse of the World Wide Web, and might not even be there in five or ten year’s time. We need a permanent site for all of this data, through which the collective power of the internet can be unleashed – editing, compiling, analyzing, telling stories and, above all, building understanding.
analog  archives  Canadian  cannabis  census  crowdsourcing  data  data_driven  datasets  massive_data_sets  nerds  open_data  record-keeping  Statistics_Canada  unstructured_data 
march 2012 by jerryking
The Tech Profile: How a Small Retailer Handles I.T. - NYTimes.com
May 17, 2011 | NYT |By DAVID H. FREEDMAN
The business: JetPens, based in San Jose, Calif., is a 14-person online
retailer of mostly Japanese pens and pen-related paraphernalia. The
slick, slightly edgy Web site is packed with stuff that you won’t find
just anywhere, including pens designed specifically for drawing Japanese
Manga-style cartoon art and a five-function eraser. As a result,
JetPens has drawn a cult following and fills about 100,000 orders a
year.
running_a_business  marketing  retailers  e-commerce  David_Freedman  google  PayPal  Quickbooks  facebook  handwritten  analog  writing  artifacts  IT  owners  small_business  Japanese  premium  brands  Stanford  alumni 
may 2011 by jerryking
The Future of Shopping: Custom Everything - Dual Perspectives -
March 16, 2009| Portfolio.com | by Sara Clemence |

Portfolio.com reports: What happens when you can design your physical world as easily as you can reformat your blog?
customization  innovation  shoes  retailers  personalization  cyberphysical  shopping  design  bespoke  meat_space  analog  sneakers  physical_world 
march 2009 by jerryking

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