What we read this week (Dec 16)

This week we read about smart homes, customer service, remix culture as the new prohibition, patents, Facebook’s revenues and ROI in Social Media Marketing.

Quotes of the week

It’s an incredibly exciting time to be creating things on the web. This year’s advances in browsers, standards, and smart thinking have enabled us to finally begin to web design. We’re no longer forced to think of the web as a digital reproduction of physical pages, but rather to finally embrace it as its own thing.

Dan Cederholm

The hardest thing to do, and I think the most important, is for agency leaders to unlearn everything we’ve been taught over the years. It’s very hard for people my age to admit they don’t know anything. Fact is, when I was young, I asked older people for advice. Now I’m old, and I ask younger people for advice. Our role as leaders is no longer to be the experts.

Clark Kokich, Razorfish

Articles of the week

  • Can’t get no satisfaction: Why service companies can’t keep their promises
    Dave Gray of Dachis again with another look at the service economy and the foundations for a decent customer service.
  • Homesense Final Report
    Georgina Voss and Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino ran the Homesense project for two years, and helped a number of households enhance their homes through networked technology. (No internet fridges, though!) Here’s the final report with their key findings.
  • Waxy: No Copyright Intended
    “Remix culture is the new Prohibition, with massive media companies as the lone voices calling for temperance.” – A wonderfully insightful article by Andy Baio about a generation of people growing up without even understanding the fundamental concept of copyright.
  • TechCrunch: Apple Made A Deal With The Devil (No, Worse: A Patent Troll)
    Especially over the course of the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in the number of lawsuits targeting manufacturers of Android-based devices. Some of them came from Microsoft, some from Oracle, but mostly it was Apple who was trying to prevent others from competing with their products. In an unusual journalistic quality, Jason Kinacid from TechCrunch depicts how Apple transferred valuable patents to a company that can only be described as a patent troll to increase the opportunity for lawsuits. While the use of patents in general is debatable, it becomes obvious that Apple is using those tactics not to protect their assets, but to hinder innovation.
  • Business Insider: Facebook’s Revenue Numbers Just Leaked, And The Numbers Look Underwhelming
    An interesting glimpse into what seem to be Facebook’s revenues. Let’s just say: Facebook is definitely turning a solid profit, but failing the high expectations. Read the full article for some more concrete meat.
  • What I Learned When I Started a Design Studio
    Khoi Vinh with valuable insights that apply to many more businesses than just design studios.
  • There is No ROI in Social Media Marketing
    Sean Jackson, CFO of Copyblogger, says that asking for the RoI of social media is like asking for the RoI of your employees using email. Marketing is not an investment but an essential communication tool.

What we read this week (9 Dec)

This week our weekly reads feature thoughts in innovation and neoteny, the post-digital world, on magazines as brands, an institutional crisis as well as the internet of things.

Quotes of the week

The Internet isn’t really a technology, it’s a belief system – a philosophy.

Joi Ito

The problem isn’t you. The problem is the problem.

Steven Pressfield

Articles of the week

  • The Internet, innovation and learning
    Joi Ito regularly writes about innovation, particularly the cultural aspects inside organizations that foster innovation. The internet as a whole is facing issues similar to many institutions – concretely through regulation efforts. Here, he points out how neoteny – the retention of childlike attributions in adulthood – can help us both innovate and save the internet.
  • The Guardian: Welcome to the post-digital world, an exhilarating return to civility – via Facebook and Lady Gaga
    “Post-digital is not anti-digital. It extends digital into the beyond. The web becomes not a destination in itself but a route map to somewhere real.” Simon Jenkins on the post-digital.
  • Megan Garber: The personal(ized) brand: Yet another reason The Economist is trouncing competitors
    The Nieman Lab looks at the way the Economist adapts to a rapidly changing news marketplace, with a focus on the magazine as a brand, and on emerging consumption and sharing patterns. A must read if you work in media.
  • More than just digital quilting
    The Economist compares the maker movement with their Arduinos and 3D printers to the hobby computer movement of the 70s. Could it also change how science is taught and foster innovation? We think so.
  • Institutions, Confidence, and the News Crisis
    Clay Shirky, one of the most prolific researchers on all things media & business models, shares his view on the future of news. Particularly, he sees a risk in trying to back the established news institutions and rather calls for open-minded experimentation instead. We couldn’t agree more.
  • In Defense of Friction
    Andrés Monroy-Hernández, a Berkman Fellow, on why automation of social behaviors – the frictionless sharing that Facebook is building – can be harmful for social relations.
  • The New York Times: Reveal
    The New York Times R&D Labs came out with a quite interesting prototype. Combining an internet-enabled screen/mirror, a Microsoft Kinect and some speech recognition in one case, they created a bathroom mirror that can show you the weather, news, or your personal health data. This is something we’ve seen as design studies for years, but here it is, and it looks surprisingly smooth and, well, unobtrusive. This is one to watch, and there will soon be more like it. In fact, we expect a whole new market segment to emerge here over the next few years.
  • Homesense: Final Report
    Georgina Voss and Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino ran the Homesense project for two years, and helped a number of households enhance their homes through networked technology. (No internet fridges, though!) Here’s the final report with their key findings.