The Battle of Paris, "Not longer Life" and Arctic storage
Ephemeral Reviews, Essays and Opinions s°01.ep16 - 2019.11.26
INCLUDED IN THIS EDITION: MYSELF, HALF-NAKED, ON A SCOOTER (S)
What is the biggest tech company in Europe? Nope, it’s not Spotify - Booking.com is officially claiming the title. Link (T)
“The great trick of online retail has been to get us to shop more and think less about how our purchases reach our home”. A fascinating long read in The Guardian to describe how our home delivery new habits reshaped the world and especially our cities. Link (S)
To me, Axel Springer in Europe and Condé Nast in the US (and globally) as media companies have been the first to be disrupted in the 1990s and may be the first to have successfully completed their digital transformation. As an example, Condé Nast’s parent company owns Reddit, No. 5 most visited website in the U.S. and No. 13 in the world. Condé Nast’s future is now being charted by Anna Wintour (The Devil Wears Prada’s inspiration) and his new boss, Roger Lynch, the former CEO of Pandora, the music-streaming service. Link (S)
The mobile transition could have been a danger to Google’s dominance with the rise of vertical, siloed apps, but the firm still managed to double its revenue in the last 5 years. Here is why and how it succeeded. (T)
If I were told I would be on a scooter, in shorts, in Fall, in Paris, at my old age… (S)
The Battle of Paris
Just the once will not hurt, Paris is at the very heart of a major tech wave and ecosystem: micro-mobility. And from the front seat, having worked on a Velib’s competitor back in 2005, led a consortium for Autolib (electric cars on demand) for two years (2008 – 2010), and having designed and developed RATP (Paris region public transports operator, the most accessible to public transports region in the world) mobile apps for more than 10 years now, I can only witness “champion of mobility” is, with good restaurants and romanticism, the most deserved City of Lights’ crown.
And the city is ready for bold innovation. Velib and Autolib led the way for sure and became instant world references. I have also heard that the Waze Paris community was among the most active in the world.
But something even more mind-boggling happened in Paris in July 2018. Lime was the first to offer free-floating scooters in Paris. In less than a year, 12 (twelve) different operators were competing in the capital city of France, in order of appearance: Lime, Bird, Bolt (Txfy), Wind, Tier, Flash, Hive, Voi, Circ, Jump (Uber), Ufo, and Bolt again (but like in Usain Bolt this time). Today, about 15,000 scooters are available in Paris and the city hall announced a few weeks ago it might be 40,000 in the coming months. They have changed Parisians’ move but also how tourists – maybe the most active users – discover the city.
I hated scooters before becoming a big fan: to me, they are the most appropriate and magic means of transport, just like a modern flying carpet. I have been passionate about this war of scooters, counting their dead bodies or looking at their nice artistic compositions or the ballet of juicers – the freelancers in charge of the maintenance of the scooters, another gig economy hit job – in Paris streets.
This was a bumpy ride. On some days most of them could disappear or suddenly, overnight, their maximum speed would be reduced and parking zones would be restricted drastically. There were some hidden parts of the story: some operators would come and go, I am sure some secret negotiations happened at the City Hall. Some ugly ones too, a couple of casualties and the environmental impact of these marvels, intensively used and often vandalized and recharged with dirty fossil fuel power generators.
All the ingredients are there for a novel that could explain in a lively and enlightening way our new post-Internet cities, the ups and downs of startups and public decision-makers, their relationships and the inevitable conflict between public services and private initiatives.
I would love to write this novel.
In modern complexity, I am always fascinated by paradoxical orders. Is the current flight shaming movement really good to preserve our planet earth? Hmm, it is not sure as tourism very often directly contributes to saving nature. Link (S)
DO Black is a credit card that intends to stop you from overspending… based on the CO2 emissions your consumption entails. Link (T)
Arctic storage is not just for seeds: GitHub just launched its leave 24 To of open source code in a vault in Norway. Good news, we’ll still get Linux if civilization collapses! Link (T)
After years of resisting, Nike launched a pilot in 2017 to sell a limited product assortment to Amazon. They finally decided to stop selling on the platform. After Nike ID and my favorite, Sneakrs mobile app, e-commerce is on top of Nike’s agenda and its hiring of eBay’s former CEO as next leader makes their plans for autonomy even more realistic. Link (S)
135 years ago, European leaders set the rules for Africa’s colonization and divided the continent. Link (S)
A quick history of Design Thinking, now a corporate classic. Link (S)
Another memory of what the Internet could have been: in 2008, a bunch of programmers created the “Universal Edit Button”, which would appear in browsers to indicate to users that a site was openly editable. It apparently still exists, though needless to say, it failed to catch on. Link (T)
“The [photo] series Not longer Life reinterpret and reproduce paintings from classic masters such as Monet or Caravaggio” through the introduction of plastic products. One more alert on over-consumption. Link (T)
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