What we read this week (22 November)

Our favorite articles of this week. Have a great weekend.

Articles of the week

  • What Screens Want
    Brilliant web essay by Frank Chimero, and not only because he features James Burke and The West Wing. I bet that this one will come up in a lot of conversations in the next months.
  • Prada Revolutionaries
    “Bright Green has become the left's version of right-wing transhumanism: an excuse to not solve today's problems, because tomorrow's technology will fix them for us.”
  • Tom Armitage » Driftwood
    “Driftwood is a talk I gave at Playark 2013. It was meant to be a talk about leftovers (the theme of the conference being ‘reclaim’), and about Hello Lamp Post. In the writing, it turned into a broader overview of my own work – on six years of projects around cities and play.”
  • Meet The ‘Assassination Market’ Creator Who’s Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins – Forbes
    “Assassination Market, a crowdfunding service that lets anyone anonymously contribute bitcoins towards a bounty on the head of any government official–a kind of Kickstarter for political assassinations.”
  • Ross Andersen – Humanity’s deep future
    "When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?"
  • Bitcoin As Protocol | Union Square Ventures
    “There is no other widely used protocol in the world today that accomplishes this: with bitcoin anyone can make a statement (a transaction) and have this be recorded in a globally visible and fixed ledger.”
  • Content economics, part 4: scale | Felix Salmon
    "It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of the CMS when it comes to the question of who’s going to win the online-publishing wars."
  • InMoov » Project
    "Here is “InMoov”, the first life size humanoid robot you can 3D print and animate. You have a 3D printer, some building skills, This project is for you!!"
  • Apple and Google Maps, and Defaults | Matt Mullenweg
    “If Microsoft did this a decade ago we’d call for the DoJ to reopen their investigation. Apple has the best phone, best tablet, and in many ways the best operating system — we should not give them a pass for this blatantly self-interested and user-hostile stance.”
  • Instagram and Youtube — Benedict Evans
    "WhatsApp and Instagram are not in different categories – they're direct competitors for time and attention." – This spot on.

Week 153 – A failed proposal

A lesson learned from a failed proposal and a discussion about robot ethics

A Lesson Learned

I have to be honest. When we got a request for proposal briefing for a social media strategy a couple of weeks ago, we felt pretty flattered that the whole thing was based on our social media strategy framework.

So with a lot of confidence we prepared our proposal, send it off … and didn’t get the job. Once more we got beaten by the bigger agency, which offered the strategy for a steal, probably counting on making their revenue with the execution1. The client might not even mind that the agency will sell them as strategy whatever their execution is good at.

Nevertheless, we still think that it’s important to think about the strategy independently to avoid the hammer-nail-problem2. But there’s only so much that you can communicate in a proposal document. So where we ultimately failed on this one is by not building a relationship before actually sending the proposal. We have observed again and again that people “get us” when we sit down with them and have a conversation about what we do and how we could help them.

What we take away from this is that we always need to reach out personally and rather take the extra trip to talk person to person, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes, than to just send a document. It’s the nature of our business that it looks kinda hard to comprehend on paper. Alas, more coffee, less Keynote.

A Conversation on Robot Ethics

I was invited to join an edition of the Digital Salon, a format by the HIIG here in Berlin, to talk about robot ethics and the future of work. Not really an expert on robots, it was a great opportunity to dive into Yet Another Interesting Topic™. The video of the discussion is here (in German) and a summary of my research on the topic is here (in German, too).


  1. It also played a big role for them that the cheaper agency was also a local agency. But that’s not really something we can do anything about. 

  2. If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.