Recent quotes:

Inside the Development of Light, the Tiny Digital Camera That Outperforms DSLRs - IEEE Spectrum

The first and current version of the Light camera—called the L16—has 16 individual camera modules with lenses of three different focal lengths—five are 28-mm equivalent, five are 70-mm equivalent, and six are 150-mm equivalent. “Equivalent” means that the lens achieves the same field of view as a lens of the specified focal length in a conventional film camera.

» The Collapse of Complex Business Models Clay Shirky

When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.

Fortune 500 firms in 1955 v. 2015; Only 12% remain, thanks to the creative destruction that fuels economic prosperity - AEI | Carpe Diem Blog » AEIdeas

According to a 2012 report from Innosight (“Creative Destruction Whips Through Corporate America“) based on almost a century’s worth of market data, corporations in the S&P 500 Index in 1958 stayed in the index for an average of 61 years. By 1980, the average tenure in the S&P 500 had fallen to about 25 years, and in 2012 it was just 18 years. At the current churn rate, 75% of today’s S&P 500 companies will be replaced by 2027!

Companies Derive Credit Scores from Phone Metadata

Prompt bill payers are typically more reliable than those who hold off, and people who make frequent calls far outside a bank’s network are more likely to have trouble making deposits. However, even the esoteric information can factor in — researchers at Cignifi, a Cambridge-based firm studying the predictive capabilities of mobile data on loan repayment and savings, found that the time of day and neighborhoods from which calls are placed can be indicators, too.

Innovation gets smaller before it gets bigger

This hints at a larger concern: that the energy and creativity used to create new content management systems and layouts and ways to display news and information will be redirected to a narrower—or, at least, externally determined—purpose: getting an edge within the arbitrary confines of a platform. This kind of media innovation is everywhere. It’s screenshotting important paragraphs into a tweet, and creating an app to streamline this process. It’s figuring out how to make videos for Facebook that don’t need sound to get viewers’ attention. It’s a curiosity gap headline. It’s shooting videos vertically instead of horizontally so they look better on Snapchat.

People avoid risky innovation

As individuals, we have no portfolio strategy — so those 10% odds are no longer palatable. When we fail, most rational people respond by trying to avoid dumb ideas and pick smart bets with clear impact the next time. People who happen to have a hit in their first few tries are even more vulnerable to the belief that they have to succeed every time (and take it harder when subsequent failures inevitably occur.) And that’s it — the dead-end for innovation.

Bezos: fail with reckless abandon or your company is dead

Again, one of my jobs is to encourage people to be bold. It’s incredibly hard.  Experiments are, by their very nature, prone to failure. A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work. Bold bets — Amazon Web Services, Kindle, Amazon Prime, our third-party seller business — all of those things are examples of bold bets that did work, and they pay for a lot of experiments. I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com. Literally billions of dollars of failures. You might remember Pets.com or Kosmo.com. It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia. None of those things are fun. But they also don’t matter. What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the very end of their corporate existence. Whereas companies that are making bets all along, even big bets, but not bet-the-company bets, prevail. I don’t believe in bet-the-company bets. That’s when you’re desperate. That’s the last thing you can do.
There is a complete and total blind spot in the newspaper industry that, just maybe, part of the problem is also the journalism itself.Instead, they move the problem out of the editorial room, and into separate and isolated 'innovation teams'... who are then charged with coming up with ideas for how to reformat their existing journalistic product in a digital way.But let me ask you this. If The NYT is 'winning at journalism', why is its readership falling significantly? If their daily report is smart and engaging, why are they failing to get its journalism to its readers?If its product is 'the world's best journalism', why does it have a problem growing its audience?
Imagine selling two million books, having half a dozen of your novels hit the New York Times bestseller list, being inundated with thousands of fan emails every month, and then having someone call you an “aspiring writer.” That’s what happened in New Orleans this weekend, when the planners of the RT Booklovers Convention decided to place self-published authors in a dinky room off to the side while the traditionally published authors sat at tables in the grand ballroom. Authors like Liliana Hart, who is at the top of the game not just in the romance genre but in all of publishing, was labeled an “Aspiring Author.” RT is a major bookselling convention, a place that publishers expect to sell boatloads of titles. The bookselling, I believe, is handled by Barnes & Noble, a company with a history of segregating self-published authors on their online bestseller lists and who has no incentive to promote authors they don’t stock. So the fault here is not with the authors in the other room; it’s with the organizers and the undoubted pressure they feel from monied interests.
There seems to be agreement from editors, reporters, desk editors and more that the Times spends too much time thinking about Page One. This quote from a Washington reporter helps paint a picture: “Our internal fixation on it can be unhealthy, disproportionate and ultimately counterproductive. Just think about how many points in our day are still oriented around A1 — from the 10 a.m. meeting to the summaries that reporters file in the early afternoon to the editing time that goes into those summaries to the moment the verdict is rendered at 4:30. In Washington, there’s even an email that goes out to the entire bureau alerting everyone which six stories made it. That doesn’t sound to me like a newsroom that’s thinking enough about the web.” (p. 90)
On the Michael Sam story, which was brought to the Times and ESPN, the report says the Times “package was well-executed and memorable, but some of our more digitally focused competitors got more traffic from the story than we did. If we had more of a digital-first approach, we would have developed in advance an hour-by-hour plan to expand our package of related content in order to keep readers on our site longer, and attract new ones. We should have been thinking as hard about ‘second hour’ stories as we do about ‘second day’ stories.” (p. 84) The Times’ publishing schedule is out of sync with digital: “For example, the vast majority of our content is still published late in the evening, but our digital traffic is busiest early in the morning. We aim ambitious stories for Sunday because it is our largest print readership, but weekends are slowest online. Each desk labors over section fronts, but pays little attention to promoting its work on social media.”
“Another [desk head] suggested that the relentless work of assembling the world’s best news report can also be a ‘form of laziness, because it is work that is comfortable and familiar to us, that we know how to do. And it allows us to avoid the truly hard work and bigger questions about our present and our future: What shall we become. How must we change?’” (p. 72) “‘We’ve abdicated completely the role of strategy,’ said one masthead editor. ‘We just don’t do strategy. The newsroom is really being dragged behind the galloping horse of the business side.’” (p. 72)
The report calls for increased communication and cooperation between the sections of the company they call “Reader Experience” and the newsroom. In the report, Reader Experience refers to R&D, product, technology, analytics and design. (p. 63) Those departments are not tiny: roughly 30 people in analytics, 30 in digital design, 120 in product, and a whopping 445 in technology, with around two dozen teams of engineers. (p. 63)
“Only a third of our readers ever visit it. And those who do visit are spending less time: page views and minutes spent per reader dropped by double-digit percentages last year.”
“In industries that are being disrupted, 9 percent of companies make it,” he said. Of the 9 percent that made it, 100 percent had set up a separate disruptive business unit. Separate means: A separate physical location. Separate profit & loss. Separate direct sales. Separate content product and technology teams. Separate management structure.