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Windows love, Charlotte Perriand and the Passion Economy
Ephemeral Reviews, Essays and Opinions s°01.ep13 - 2019.10.14
“What we hear a lot from governments is that the tech sector should do more,” said Adam Hadley, director of Tech Against Terrorism, a U.N.-backed group. “What we’re lacking is what tech companies should do and how that aligns with the law.” Facebook is under pressure and its 350-person counterterrorism team is often disabled facing up to the worst threats, especially those coming from white supremacists. Link (S)
Could you imagine a better case of the biter bit? AngelFace, an Android app, claims that it can identify venture capitalists using facial recognition. You may find it laughable but this is a new step forward in peer to peer surveillance for sure. Link (S)
Uber’s new mantra: “we want to be the operating system for your everyday life”. For the moment, that means gradually morphing into a platform bringing a maximum of transportation-related services, including those it doesn’t own (public transportation and bikes and scooters from other startups) inside of a unified Uber app. Link (T)
For sure software is eating the world, but that doesn’t mean all startups are created equal in that regard: only the “purest” software plays, with their hefty margins, have succeeded on the stock markets lately. Link (T)
I recently bought one of the great digital artifacts of yesteryear, that is a good old-fashioned laptop. And I must utter the unspeakable: I had missed Windows so much!
For all the quirks that still live in its latest iteration, Windows 10: improbable shortcuts with “Fn”, “Ctrl”, “Alt” and “Alt Gr” keys (at times you wonder if you’ll have enough fingers or dexterity to succeed), its irreplaceable Solitaire, its insecure and unpolished finish that makes you feel like you’re a hacker when you download a .exe file… and its alarming messages and sounds when you try to install such a program.
Yes, I’m being nostalgic but I guess I’m not the only one: dozens of millions of girls and boys, those born in the 80’s and 90’s (the Gen Y) discovered computers and the Internet on Windows machines. Let’s divide the tech market into 3 segments, from more to less forward-looking: the avant-garde, the mainstream and the nostalgic. Apple controls the avant-garde, Android the mainstream / B2C side and Microsoft the mainstream / B2B side… that leaves the nostalgic segment up for grabs. Since by now, most of the Gen Y’ers have reached working age and enjoy a purchasing power on the rise, fond memories of Windows-powered experiences make a swelling market opportunity that Microsoft should tap.
What could the giant from Redmond do? Here are a few suggestions: including a button to switch to the look and feel of any of the previous Windows editions; preinstalling as many old games as possible (from Age of Empires to Minesweeper); prompting users to log into their forgotten Hotmail accounts so as to check what their old MSN Messenger contacts have become.
Aside from their innovative Surface line, they could even go the opposite way and create a retro hardware line. After all, Nokia relaunched its iconic 3310 phone in 2017, and Nintendo has successfully introduced "classic" editions of its NES and Super NES consoles…
While waiting for nostalgia-soothing products, I'll just go back to trying to install 3D Pinball - Space Cadet on my Windows 10 laptop.
There was a time when economies of scale and MVP were not that obvious… and this time had its geniuses. You should run to visit Charlotte Perriand’s exhibition in Paris until the 2nd of February 2020.
Just as flowers follow the sun, far-right activists (again) follow the most popular platforms: after Twitter and Facebook, they now target Instagram users with political memes. 2 important differences with this network: users are younger, and it’s a visual medium - great for polarizing images without much substance. Link (T)
We’ve been arguing for years if not decades to know if Google or Microsoft were enjoying a monopoly on their respective market or not but "quantum supremacy" is the new frontier that could make the biggest monopolies look paltry. Link (S)
Entrepreneurship is so popular that it can now be turned into an online game. Meet Pioneer, “convoluted, semi-anonymous online competition that uses software and game mechanics like points, quests, and leaderboards to quantify participants’ real-world productivity and incentivize behaviors”, to help them advance their startup projects - but sometimes burning them out in the process. Link (T)
After the Gig Economy, and much more than a lifestyle business, here comes the Passion Economy. Link (S)
The history of mapping service MapQuest, from fame and riches in 2000 to near-oblivion today: a tale of 2 tech narratives, the well-known disruption (the great experience that Google Maps brought) and potential anti-competitive behaviors from the winners. Link (T)
Incentives can go really wrong and just like for black swans, we shouldn’t always expect linear effects. This has a name: the cobra effect. Link (S)
Let me join Dave Holmes from Esquire to praise the Forgotten Years of music. This moment that whizzed right past us with no cassettes, discs, streaming platforms or Shazam queries through which to remember it. These are the Deleted Years, and we need to start honoring this period, right now, before we forget it forever. Link (S)
Adobe’s successful desktop publishing application, InDesign, was born 20 years ago. Link (T)
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Edited by Stéphane Distinguin & Tom Morisse
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